Bath Business Blog: Rebecca Dennis, head of employment, Goughs Solicitors. Is agile working the latest high wire act at the circus?

March 7, 2022

Home working was imposed by necessity and has been a success. It is now the norm. Now nearly half of all employers are offering regular homeworking to more than half the workforce.

The simple fact is that it’s all great news for business in terms of reducing the costs of leasing office premises and daily commuting time. 

Surveys over the past 12 months have consistently shown that working from home has increased productivity by nearly 15%. The increase in productivity is attributable to a quieter working environment, fewer breaks and less time lost with the usual workplace distractions.

Some 86% of employees prefer to work by themselves when they are engaged in concentrated work with a time deadline and 30% state that they can achieve more work in less time when working remotely.

This data contradicts the historic fear held by employers that home working posed a risk to productivity and was a perk.

So, this is all good news, isn’t it? Not only a more motivated workforce unburdened by travel but also lower overheads for business. However, just before we consign the office to history, let us consider its merits. Is it actually time to reassess the benefits of team working in a colleague facing environment?

Those who work from home are in fact operating in an artificial environment. People do need people! Social interaction and close relationships are good for physical and mental health. 70% of us consider that our social relationships at work are as important as the work and getting it done.

Companies are already observing that employees are struggling with the lack of social interaction and an increased demand for employee assistance programs.

Genuine teamwork really means successful collaborative working. It’s by definition reactive, dynamic and proactive. This is lost with timetabled virtual meetings and the absence of spontaneity.

Meaningful supervision, active line management and career development are also difficult to achieve remotely. We are much more likely to share important personal and professional information in an intimate meeting than by staring into the cold eye of an unfeeling lens.

Effort, performance and success are measurable commodities, but there is always a subjective element that leads a manager to know when a member of staff is ready and willing for greater challenges. How we behave at work and how we interact with our colleagues and customers reveals our levels of engagement, aptitude and attitude.

Teamwork is simultaneously collegiate and competitive. Seeing how our colleagues behave and observing their success is a hugely motivational tool. It is also the means by which a company can create its internal brand and esprit de corps.

Finally, there is the simple but overlooked fact that home working demands isolation and permanent screen time.  

Here’s some suggestions of how to keep your team functioning and motivated? 

  • Re-create water cooler moments. Encourage shared breaktimes.
  • Achieve spontaneity. Ask different colleagues to work together on assigned tasks.
  • Preserve appraisals as personal time in person.  
  • Encourage normal working hours and discourage permanent log on.
  • Maintain actual office meetings. These are still the best time for exchanging information and stimulating debate. 
  • Book social events virtually and in person.

For more information or to discuss your business and how you’ve been affected call me on 01249 475880 or email me on




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