U.K employees should be able to work from home!

The Chairman in this debate will be Thomas Wallisch.

The people in favor of this motion are Iegor Trieshchov and Nick van Marwijk.

Against this motion are Philippe Stark and Emiel Aerts


The number of people working from home has risen to its highest level since records began, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Over the last decade and a massive 4.2 million UK workers are working from home – that’s 13.9% of the workforce! Many of us would love to sit in the comfort of our own home and watch the pay checks roll in, but in truth, working from home also has some aspects that need to be considered before applied. Therefore the following motion will be analyse from two sides.

Argument 1 (Pro):

Citrix, the leader in mobile workspace solutions, today revealed the results from its study with Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) into the potential economic impacts of a more widespread ‘work from anywhere’ culture in the UK. The study found that 96% of the UK knowledge worker population that have the option of flexible working utilise this opportunity. This could potentially add an extra £11.5bn per year to the UK economy through the more productive use of available working hours. In addition, 94% of UK knowledge workers would opt to work from home on average two days per working week. If organisational culture throughout the United Kingdom changed to allow for this, there would be savings in commuter costs of £3.8bn, with a further reduction of 533 million hours spent travelling to and from work annually (increasing these savings to £7.1bn the commuter value of time is taken into account).Such changes would result in an improved work-life balance as well as considerable financial gain for individuals.

Argument 2 (Pro):

In addition to improving the work/life balance of those currently in full-time employment, today’s report also indicates that the desire for more flexible working opportunities could deliver significant benefits to the wider UK economy by engaging people previously excluded. The research revealed that:

  • 68% of those currently unemployed, retired, carers, disabled, long-term sick or a full-time house-husband/wife would be inclined to start working if given the opportunity to work flexibly
  • Should this economically inactive part of the UK population re-enter the workforce due to a change in working culture, this could boost the UK’s GVA by up to £78.5bn (adding 4.7% to the total UK GDP)
  • 60% of part-time working respondents indicated that they would be inclined to work more hours if given the opportunity to work remotely. With 745,000 part-time workers in the UK who would like to work remotely, this could potentially create an additional £1.6bn in GVA output.

Sources for Argument 1 + 2 (Pro): http://www.cebr.com/reports/impacts-of-a-flexible-working-culture/

Argument 3 (Pro):

Embracing remote workers can reduce costs and improve productivity. For example, some businesses can save 8,000 pounds a year for each employee who telecommutes. Office costs drop with fewer people on-site, while salaries may be lower for employees in the hinterlands. Moreover, many employees focus better and produce more without the distractions of an office.

Source for Argument 3 (Pro): http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2012/01/forget_the_office_let_employees_work_from_home.html

Argument 4 (Pro):

Savings in Travel Time –  By ditching the commute you gain back any time you’d normally spend travelling. The average daily commute time across the UK is 47 minutes. What would you do with the extra time? Another hour of work? An early morning workout?

Argument 5 (Pro):

Flexibility – Stepping away from the office environment allows you to set your own working schedule so that you can prioritise more effectively. On top of flexible working hours you also have complete flexibility over your working environment – whether that’s your home office, a restaurant, a coffee shop or even your local library.Flexibility also enlarges the applicant pool. Being open to physically handicapped or geographically isolated workers can improve the prospects for finding a highly qualified candidate

Sources 4 + 5 (Pro):  http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2012/01/forget_the_office_let_employees_work_from_home.html

Argument 1 (Con):

Isolation/Lack of social interaction – Working in an office, you become accustomed to the day to day chat with co-workers, work related discussions and team brainstorming sessions. This is very different compared to working by yourself at home which can be quite isolated once you are removed from such a social environment

Argument 2 (Con):

Lack of Competitive Spirit – Let’s face it. Nothing feels better than doing a better job than your peers. Having the highest levels of productivity, creating impressive quality work. In fact, some of us rely heavily on the element of competition to motivate ourselves at work. A well fostered team environment can be a fantastic asset in driving people to generate results.

Argument 3 (Con):

Need for High Self Discipline / Motivation – Working from home is a real test of strong will and determination. With no managers keeping an eye on you and no team members looking up to you, you can essentially do what you want with your time. It is far too easy to turn on the radio, television or even a games console just to break silence which can greatly reduce the quantity and quality of your work.

Argument 4 (Con):

Limited Delegation Capabilities – If you work in a managerial role, you will appreciate how easy it can sometimes be to quickly complete big projects & large volumes of work by delegating responsibility around the team. When you step out of the team environment your team may need to set their own agenda of work each day. –  it is more effective with face to face.

Argument 5 (Con):

Lack of Face to Face Communication – Some conversations need to take place face-to-face, if one of your team/co-workers is having personal/performance issues it can sometimes be very impractical and impersonal to try and resolve this over the phone. Your knowledge of each individuals workflow may become clouded and delegating from a distance can lead to inconvenient interruptions rather than the quality results you could once achieve. In this respect, some jobs just aren’t suited to remote working.

Argument 6 (Con):

Difficulty in Separating Home from Work – When you’re working in the same place you are living it can be very difficult to separate home life from work life. In this respect, it is important to set up a dedicated area of your house that becomes your ‘working zone’ and use the rest of the house for relaxing, eating, family etc. Without these guidelines in place you can often find that work never stops which can be detrimental to your family life.

Sources 1 -6 (Con):   http://budgetbreakaway.co.uk/benefits-and-disadvantages-working-from-home/


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