Also called telecommuting the concept of working from home has been around since the early 70s. Nevertheless, it’s an area of HR which is still encumbered with a myriad of potential flaws.
For me there are 3 main problems with having employees working from home on a regular basis:
1. Managing the work health and safety issues of an area outside of the normal workplace is problematic. Many cases have hit the courts over the years where injured workers have been able to successfully claim workers’ compensation for accidents occurring in the home . It’s very hard (and expensive) for employers to control a space they don’t own.
2. Most job roles are not designed to be performed away from the office. The exception to this are roles with no direct reports, demand little collaboration with others and do not require much face to face customer interaction.
3. Most employees are not suited to telecommuting, despite what they may think! Working from home requires an incredible amount of self-discipline, determination and the ability to spend long hours alone.
I recommend you think very seriously about requests from your employees to work from home. In my view it should definitely be the exception and not the rule. Carefully consider the role your employee performs, their personality and whether you can afford to spend the money on setting up their home office.