By Christina Rodriguez
Many people have viewed working from home for many years as something only lazy people do or that working from home is counterproductive. So far, that is, until the Pandemic hit, but we have learned that it can be very beneficial for both employees and employers.
What is Remote Work?
‘Remote work’ refers to a flexible arrangement that allows employees to work from areas other than the workplace. Some employees work remotely full-time, and others work remotely part-time or a few days per month. Remote workers generally work from home, though they may also work from coffee shops, libraries, or co-working spaces.
This type of work can prove helpful in certain situations.
With reports of improved performance and greater job happiness, remote work can benefit both employers and employees.
Pros of Working from home
Pro #1. World Wide Job opportunities
So instead of looking for a job in your home town or your home city that you’re in right now or ever your home country, imagine being able to find a job that you love around the entire world and being able to do it online.
It opens the prospects for you as an employee, and also as an employer, you can retain top talent if you open up your pool of just this one city to around the world to get hired for the specific job you want. By doing so, it broadens your ability to find the right match for you, for the job you’re looking for, or for the company with which you’d like to work.
Pro #2. Reduced Cost
Reduced cost for an employee, you have the reduced cost of not commuting to work, saving hundreds of dollars if you have to ride the train if you live in a suburban place, or putting gas to drive an hour away. There’s the cost of buying clothes specifically for the office environment you work in or buying food every day or coffee. From an employer’s perspective, you also can reduce the cost of the overhead of running an office and all the utilities and everything that comes with having an office full of team members and everything related to having the business open.
Pro #3. Live anywhere
Being able to live anywhere in the world, you can live abroad and still work for a U.S. company, or if you want to travel each month, this allows flexibility. The opportunities to live anywhere are super flexible, and the sky is the limit, so it depends on your relationship with your employer the time zones. When working a specific job to reach your customers, the time zones are a big deal. From an employee perspective, you do have the pro of working from anywhere that you want, and from an employer perspective, as long as your employees getting the job done, it doesn’t matter where they live as long as the work product happens and this is a shift we see more and more. As long as people are working, it doesn’t matter where they are working from; it only matters if they are getting everything done, and you can count on them; you can trust them.
Cons of Working from home
Con #1. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
Employees often feel like if they are not at work, they are not valued as much as their delivered work product at the end of a workday. Today, this happens in the office when it is facetime every day. We say like once when you need to see someone in person is essential in your work culture, so we see many employees feel less valued because they are not in the office or a manager does not know if they are at their desk. If this is the case in your company culture, maybe you can positively change the company culture. As an employer, the top talent nowadays doesn’t matter where they live or work; they’re very productive if they’re trusted and valued. Hence, if you have an employee who wants to work remotely and give an excellent work product, then maybe it’s also something to look at in your work culture that it’s okay for them to work remotely and create that situation, so they stay. Don’t be the “out of sight out of mind” culture that can’t value its employees; this will only make your employees want to find a culture that values them even though they work remotely.
CON #2. Not Working
Suspicions that you are not working. From an employee perspective working at an old-school company, if they didn’t see you at your desk every day, working 8 hours a day, they felt like you weren’t working at all even though studies show that most employees at work are only productive four hours out of the eight hours. The rest of the time, they’re talking to other people, doing things that are not productive, or they’re just not working, so this is fundamental for an employee to know that they can prove that work product even if they are not at work. Still, I also think it’s a big culture of offices to ensure that they know that just because the person is not there doesn’t mean they’re not working hard. If you have the privilege to work remotely, you want to prove that you are working because you want to hold on to that; employees working from home value this and work to prove themselves to keep this position. So that employers know if you give your employees the privilege of working remotely and they value that and you can tell if you can trust someone or not you can provide them with the opportunity. Still, if they’re giving good work product and you know that you can trust them, you need to know that they probably are very much working even though they’re not there. Good communication is vital. Set up your systems and have them in a place where you can check-in as an employee-employer relationship; you can have team stand-ups for you checking in, or you use asana to keep track of your task; there are even some apps that will allow screenshots to randomly at any time the person has clocked in you can check to see if they’re productive and working.
What the future holds
Fast Company predicts virtual reality conferencing and mobile work tools like virtual work tools will become the preferred form of communication – even over face-to-face meetings. Artificial intelligence is also likely to play more of a role in managing remote workers.
Advances such as these may make companies more comfortable. It may seem daunting to manage a remote workforce, but if you have the right tools and motivated employees, it can be easy.
Ultimately, fighting the change can actually do more damage than good. Many companies now offer remote work opportunities. The Buffer survey found that 99% of remote workers would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers—a nine-point increase over the previous year’s survey.
Additionally, according to Global Workplace Analytics, 37% of remote employees would take a 10% pay cut to remain at home. As a result of this fast-growing trend, some refuse to accept a position onsite because they know they can find a more convenient and flexible gig elsewhere.
Rather than fighting the shift, organizations need to improve their remote work policies and capabilities. For example, suppose your company is concerned about productivity and performance issues due to a companywide ability to work from home. In that case, Lambert suggests that you create standard key performance indicators (KPIs) for employees and managers. In this way, remote team members know what to expect when working from home and monitor their performance.