Why travel and tourism agencies should hire homeworkers
When I first started working for Progressive Travel Recruitment as a homeworker, it felt quite exotic. It seemed that us travel homeworkers were ahead of the curve. However, it hasn’t taken long for hiring homeworkers to become increasingly common. Travel and tourism agencies in particular are setting themselves up with homeworking teams, as are other travel businesses.
The number of people working from home across all businesses has been steadily increasing and is predicted to keep rising. The Office of National Statistics reported that an increase of nearly a quarter of a million UK workers moved into remote-working over a decade (up to 2017), and this number is expected to continue to rise. Some predict that half the UK workforce could be working remotely in some form by 2020.
More than a third of homeworkers are employees, while the rest are self-employed. Recent studies support the idea that working from home can, for the right people, increase productivity and decrease stress.
Research also suggests companies that encourage and support a work-from-home protocol actually save money in the long run. It’s a win-win for both employer and employee. Ever more sophisticated technology has allowed homeworking to become a reality for many companies and staff.
Both business and leisure travel agency workers are employed as homeworkers. At the moment there are more travel and tourism agencies on the leisure side offer homeworking roles. However, as systems continue to develop, we predict that homeworking among business travel companies will increase, too.
Our North America director, Natasha Sharma places a lot of homeworkers for roles in travel and tourism agencies in the US and Canada. It’s already a common phenomenon on the other side of the Atlantic. In 2018 it was reported that 3.9 million Americans work from home at least half the time.
How to be a good homeworker employer
Be flexible: Many companies now offer the flexibility of homeworking, and it’s this flexibility that’s key for employees. However, make sure both sides are clear about what is expected in terms of times of work, and hours per day and per week. Keeping things clear is important when employing homeworkers for both sides.
Set up a homeworking policy: Setting up a homeworking policy is a good start for any employer considering hiring homeworkers. The policy should cover how homeworkers will be managed, and the logistics of setting up and running the process.
Support systems: The employer should put a support system in place to ensure that the homeworker is supported when needed by a named employee. Homeworking can feel isolating, otherwise.
Technology systems: The employer will need to provide any homeworker with the right technology and tech support to be successful in working from home.
Face time: A good travel employer will have regular face-to-face chats with their homeworkers, whether over Skype or another video-calling system. The team should also meet up at least once or twice a year for team-bonding and meetings. At Progressive Travel Recruitment, we all meet up somewhere exciting around the globe for our annual team meeting and company jolly. Last year it was Spain, the year before Dubai.
Advantages for travel and tourism agencies of employing homeworkers
Reduced overheads: Business rates, rent and utility bills all decrease if you have staff working from home
Increased productivity: You should see increased productivity among your travel workers due to potentially fewer distractions than in an office environment. (This means picking the right people – which is where we can help.) There is also less concern that your staff will be late for work or delayed by travel disruption.
Greater commitment: There is also the possibility of greater commitment from employees who value being able to work from home, especially if this is due to family obligations.
Staff retention: Reports show that staff are more likely to stick around for longer if they’re able to work remotely.
Benefit to customers: The ability to work out of hours – with flexible timings agreed between worker and employer – which can mean a huge benefit to your customers.
Choice of talent: There is a larger pool of talent at your disposal since location is less of a factor with potential homeworking employees.
Environment: You’re helping the environment as your staff are not commuting.
Generally, employing homeworkers is a brilliant way of increasing staff productivity – it’s a huge time saver, helping to avoid long, often tiring commutes and it can also enable working parents to juggle school pick-ups and drop-offs. As a homeworker myself I find that working from where I like is the perfect scenario for me. However, homeworking will not suit everybody.