Could using home computers for work improve wellbeing in employment?
On June 30, a new law was given the green light by the UK government. It stipulates that anyone who has been with the same employer for at least six months can make a reasonable request to work flexible hours. Before the change, this right only applied to parents of young children and those caring for relatives.
This law will be something of a relief to many who find the typical nine-to-five weekday shift too rigid to allow for other commitments. As a result of this law, talk of an early rush of requests being made has circulated, but what should employees expect to change if their request is approved?
Something that many people would want, when working flexible hours, is the ability to do some of their work from home. For those with young children, or a long way to travel to and from the office, this is incredibly convenient and would probably involve employers implementing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) scheme. BYOD means using personal computers for work, which is inevitable for many remote workers.
With BYOD, employees may feel more comfortable using their own computers, tablets and even smartphones for work, but the possibility of working longer hours than expected may become a problem. A survey among UK office workers found that if a BYOD policy was introduced by their employer, 46.3% would work more overtime, while 59.3% would work using their own device at home.
Working longer hours than expected is seen as the norm in some fast-paced industries. However, the impact overtime could have on such things as social life and family time may be profound. The survey revealed that 23.6% of respondents felt that if BYOD was introduced by their employer, their social life would suffer while 36.5% of those who work with laptops and phones would feel obliged to work more hours.
Despite the concerns, it seems that flexible working, irrespective of the impact of BYOD, could be beneficial in the long run when it comes to health and wellbeing. Being at home more often while being close to loved ones can have a reassuring effect, while it also reduces the need for long commutes, saving money and time.
Two of the main perks of the new law are flexible hours and the ability to work from home. These perks can be enabled using BYOD, but a policy needs to be in place to ensure that flexible workers are able to remain in contact with the office. Also, attention needs to be paid to remote workers to ensure that they don’t succumb to stress from working too many additional hours each week.
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