The benefits and challenges of working from home

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If you’re a PA in London, you may have considered moving into a more flexible virtual role. Indeed, as flexible working increases in popularity, the number of people working from home is on the rise. According to research from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), over the last 10 years, the number of employees who regularly work from home has gone up by a fifth, while ONS statistics show flexi-time has increased by 12.35% since 2012.1

When looking at the benefits, it’s not hard to see why. Offering additional flexibility, removing the need to commute and higher levels of productivity, it is often a preferred option for many full-time workers. However, just like any endeavour, working virtually presents its own challenges, not least isolation and overworking. In celebration of National Work from Home Day, celebrated on May 18, we look at the pros and cons of remote working.

Benefits of working from home

The most commonly noted benefit of virtual working is flexibility. It allows you to adapt your working hours based on your schedule and accommodate tasks that require being at home. It also allows you to adapt your working environment to your needs, changing the lighting, temperature, setting and background noise as needed.

Importantly, working from home also reduces the need for a commute, saving time and money and increasing morale – after all, who wants to spend hours travelling to and from work? These time savings can also result in a better work/life balance, as you have more time for maintaining your physical or mental health.

From a productivity perspective, virtual workers are said to get more work done, as meetings become more effective and there are less distractions in the form of co-workers. You may also find you take fewer sick days as a remote worker, as you’re less likely to take a day off for a mild illness. Taking less time off makes it easier to stay on top of your workload and deliver outcomes effectively and efficiently.

Virtual PA

Challenges of working from home

Working remotely also has its challenges. For starters, working from home is often very isolating and can often see you not talking to anyone for hours on end. In line with this, maintaining an employee community and connection to your company’s culture can prove difficult. With no way to chat over a cup of tea, or check in to see how your colleagues are faring, there are fewer opportunities to connect, engage and build a sense of camaraderie. It also reduces your exposure to the overall company mission and values, as you are removed from the office environment.

Virtual working can also make switching off difficult, as the boundaries of working hours can be blurred – is it appropriate to be answering emails at 7pm? According to research from Zapier, remote workers are more likely to overwork, as the lack of the office routine makes it harder to disregard tasks outside of business hours.2

This is supported by findings from a recent report from the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO), which found that 42% of regular home workers dealt with insomnia, while 41% suffered from stress.3 This was attributed to the blurring of boundaries between professional and personal lives and the ease of which workers can complete supplemental tasks outside of traditional working hours.

For some, working from home also introduces the risk of slacking off or getting distracted, as that quick home task takes longer than expected or you’re distracted by a visitor or children. It also restricts performance monitoring and in some instances, can increase the danger of being overlooked for promotions or career progression.

We asked a Tiger Virtual candidate to explain their experience of working from home as a virtual PA. Their advice could make searching for a VA role all the easier.

If you’re looking for a remote working role or to transition to a virtual job, Tiger can help! Get in touch today.

Author Rebecca Siciliano Tiger Recruitment Team

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