Thinking of Going Remote? Here Are the Pros And Cons You Need to Consider
Remote work is the biggest buzzword of 2020. The sudden spread of the pandemic followed by lockdowns lead many employees and their managers to work away from the office and separate from their team for the first time.
Despite not enough time to establish any remote work policies or guidelines, most companies have seen a spike in productivity. As a result, many organizations around the world are planning to go fully remote to provide their employees with a better work-life balance and save up on infrastructure costs.
But before you take the big plunge, it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of going remote.
Advantages of remote work
1. Better work-life balance
Remote employees don’t need to spend hours in bumper to bumper traffic every day, which helps them spend more time with their family or take up a hobby. With enough rest and free time every day, employees focus better on their work which directly leads to higher productivity and efficiency.
2. More freedom
A traditional employee is expected to work from office 8-9 hours a day, every week. Employees can’t just run out for a personal errand or take an hour-long nap break because they aren’t able to focus on work. They can only do all that after work hours or by taking an official leave from work.
On the contrary, remote employees, especially those enjoying flexible work, get more freedom to create their own schedule. They can work during early mornings to get the rest of the day free or work through the nights if that’s when they feel the most productive.
When working remotely, the focus is on getting the work done instead of spending a fixed number of hours in front of the laptop screen every day.
3. Improved employee experience
With no daily commute, no excessive coffee breaks, and no long hours away from friends, family, and kids, remote work greatly improves employee experience and well-being. Offering optimum employee experience creates a culture of high performance and efficiency where employees actually want to improve and succeed at their work.
4. Decreased business and infrastructure costs
When fewer employees come to the office every day, you need fewer desks and equipment to support them. Moreover, you would also need a smaller space to accommodate all the employees coming to the office, leading to lowered rent costs. In fact, according to a study, organizations can save up to $2,000 for every employee that goes remote by simply saving on their office space and overall infrastructure.
5. Increase in productivity
Unlike traditional office employees who might feel frustrated after spending an hour or two in the morning commute, remote employees feel more positive and fresh in the morning when they start their work.
Also, with no excessive coffee breaks or interruptions, employees can completely focus on their work, leading to an increase in productivity. In fact, over 75 percent of employees agree that they have fewer disruptions when they work away from the office, and 77 percent of them claim to be more productive while working from home.
6. Ability to hire and retain top talent
Over 83 percent of employees claim that the ability to work remotely, at least in some capacity, is one of the major deciding factors when considering a job offer. 74 percent of employees would quit their jobs to work at an organization that allows them to go remote more often, even if their salary remained the same.
For organizations, that means, offering remote working perks is not an option anymore. It’s a necessity if they want to hire and retain top talent. Companies offering flexible working arrangements, whether it is in the form of full or partial remote work can make a big difference for the candidates looking for their next career move.
Disadvantages of going remote
1. No face-to-face connection
With no face to face interactions or team meetings, it can be difficult for newly remote teams to work together. Managers worry that their team members might not work as efficiently as they did in the office (even though research indicates otherwise). Similarly, employees can struggle due to reduced guidance and support from managers. In many cases, employees even feel left out when remote managers are out of touch with their needs and challenges.
How to avoid this: Managers can carefully plan weekly 1:1 meetings with each team member.
2. Lack of access to information
Without the right onboarding process or help, it can be challenging for remote employees to find and locate all the information they need to manage their work. On average, employees spend 30 percent of their workday searching for information. While working remotely, this number gets further increased as employees are on their own and they can message their colleagues for help only so many times which invariably decreases productivity and employee engagement.
How to avoid this: Integrate a unified digital workplace platform to make it easier for the employees to access all the work-related data and applications.
3. Decreased collaboration
When teams work remotely, there are fewer chances of employees talking to each other about random day to day things over lunch or coffee break. While these conversations may seem unnecessary from a distance, they actually help improve team coordination and communication.
When remote teams strictly restrict their conversations to work with no informal chats, it makes team members feel uncomfortable in reaching out to their coworkers about any challenges or problems that might be affecting their work.
How to avoid this: Organize informal discussions with the whole team where everyone can connect and catch up on a personal level.
4. Loneliness and isolation
Going to the office every morning adds a structure and routine to people’s lives. In an office, you spend time with people around you and even talk to employees working in other departments as you take the elevator, grab a cup of coffee, or sit down for lunch.
But working remotely all by yourself with just a laptop in front of you can be incredibly isolating and lonely. While some people choose to work through a coworking space or cafe to avoid loneliness, it isn’t really possible right now with social distancing norms in place. Continuous isolation with no engagement with the team can eventually lead to frustration, burnouts, and lowered efficiency.
How to avoid this: Routinely organize virtual team building events for all the employees in the company.
Remote work is the way to the future
While there are some clear advantages and disadvantages to remote work, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Moreover, you can easily avoid all the disadvantages by establishing the right remote working strategies and equipping your employees with remote work tools that can help them stay productive and efficient even while working from home.