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1. Check lie of the land

The case for homeworking is finely balanced. You can look at the tangible cost/benefit analysis but this will guide you only so far. In order to really see where you will derive most benefit, you will need to do an intangible cost/benefit analysis. If you rely solely on the tangible case, you will be biased towards office working; look only at the intangibles and you face the possibility of bias towards homeworking.

2. Start with tangibles...

Get the data on current costs of office space per employee. Do you expect this to increase or decrease? Review your recruitment costs and consider what other costs may be reduced if you introduce homeworking, such as cleaning and phone bills. Then consider the costs of setting up homeworking arrangements. For example, the cost of additional IT equipment. You should also allow either for local IT support costs or the need for your IT team to visit geographically dispersed teams.

3. ...then the intangibles

Benefits in your business case can include retention of key staff for whom homeworking is essential, increased morale and improved workload, and the attraction of new key employees. There are other benefits that are harder to quantify but also worth considering, including reduced travelling time and improved stress levels. The negatives could include less communication across the team resulting in work being duplicated.

4. Provide simple answers

Pitch the case by covering the most important areas for senior management: whether the jobs in your firm are suitable for people to do at home; if the culture of the firm will embrace homeworking; whether those applying for homeworking meet performance standards; if managers will be able to manage outputs rather than inputs; and, lastly, if homeworking fits with long-term employee value propositions, vision and values.

Expert tip

Make sure that you assess the capability of both the employee and the manager to handle the challenges of homeworking. Be prepared to reject requests from those who don’t have that capability.