Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin

Looking at the dramatic shift from office to home working.

Written by: Alex Cooper
4 minute read
Image: This dog is definitely sitting comfortably

Writing about having the right work environment can seem quite simplistic in some ways. My chair is comfortable, my back is well supported and screen at the correct height and I have a view of the park or my garden. However, various factors will need to be considered during onboarding to ensure your newly appointed employees are in the right environment to feel both valued as well as comfortable.

My career for ten years before launching Ernest Hunter Green was always office based in central London. Despite having an offer to work for Procter & Gamble in Geneva, I chose to stay in London and work for a well-known recruitment firm. Whilst the role showed great potential, looking back the environment was the key thing which was not right. As one of a team of ten people sat in a massive open plan office with two hundred others, it was quite overwhelming. I was told to wear a tie every day and often encouraged to stand up to make business development calls for hours at a time, the temperature was either too cold or too hot – despite this having the potential to motivate some, I found this the most stifling of environments.

Office and home working environments come with various pros and cons and everyone you hire will have their own personal needs. Making someone feel welcomed comes with a sense of feeling a valued part of the team but also requires the working environment to be set up for your new employee to be able to do their role and feel motivated.

Working from an office full time will obviously be different to working from home and from an onboarding perspective you will need to consider the full range of physical environmental factors as well as health & safety aspects. It will probably be the case you will need to consider both ends of the spectrum as many employers move increasingly towards flexible working patterns. Some employers grant an allowance to accommodate working from home. Beyond the essentials, what can you do which is seen as stand out?

Having an onboarding process which fully considers the working environment for someone in your business will allow you to ensure future employees are welcomed with ease and something which in the main can be catered for and should not be an issue. Having seen it done wrong and heard of various disaster stories (not having a desk set up, chairs falling to pieces, faulty a/c etc), take some time to appreciate what good looks like and what you can do differently to cater for current and future employees, especially anything which may seem like going the extra mile.