What are the Pros and Cons of Working Remotely?
Over the past year, many people have become intimately familiar with working remotely. When COVID-19 closed the doors of many offices, lots of employees simply went home, set up a small office space, and logged into a company server.
It seems fairly straightforward, but the reality is that it’s quite complicated. There are many pros and cons of working remotely both for employees and employers, and if you’re working to create a policy for your team moving forward or you’re just trying to decide whether you just want to stick with remote work in the future, understanding every aspect is absolutely essential.
A Closer Look at How The Company Benefits
One of the biggest initial benefits for companies is cost savings. Having an office filled with employees can be incredibly costly.
Not only do you have to find real estate in a great location, but you’ll also need an extensive amount of office furniture, technical equipment, and other options like breakroom space, vending machines, coffee pots, and much more.
Add that to the fact that you’ll have ongoing expenses like rent, electricity and water bills, cleaning bills, and other bits of overhead you hadn’t previously considered, and you may be spending quite a bit on your employees that you hadn’t initially intended to spend.
What if you could dump all of those bills though? What if you no longer had to worry about whether the break room was enough space for employees to truly unwind?
How much money could you save every single month? Going remote offers that option. Even if you’ll still occasionally need desk space or meeting space, you can choose to select a nearby coworking facility that offers you only that without the overhead. It could mean enough savings to really affect your balance sheet.
There are additional benefits to having your team work remotely, though. Another one is better access to talent.
Right now, your company may be limited to hiring those employees who live nearby. What if you could open that option up to employees around the globe, though?
Suddenly, you could have access to a world class developer living in Vancouver, a sales manager located in Maine, and a software engineer in Mumbai, and they could all be part of your team every single day.
You would never have to worry about paying for relocation expenses or being geographically limited when it’s time to add to your workforce.
In addition to more talent, you also have the ability to hire individuals faster than you might in your local area if you need to scale up fast.
You probably know how quickly the economy moves, and without a remote team, it may be incredibly difficult to onboard the individuals you need when it’s time to grow.
If you’re already accustomed to remote work, though, you can quickly add team members or freelancers to help out with the increased workload during that period of growth.
You may also have the ability to respond to disasters faster. Imagine if you had an entire team that commuted to the office each day, then disaster struck and you needed all hands on deck. How long would it take everyone to get there?
Now imagine your entire team is remote. On Saturday afternoon, disaster strikes, and you need absolutely everyone to mitigate the issue.
If they’re remote, there’s a fairly good chance they can be online and available within minutes. If they have to commute to a specific location, it could be a few hours before you see everyone together.
Understanding How Those Benefits Filter Down to Employees
You probably have a few things that are far more important to you than spending time doing your job, right?
That’s one of the biggest benefits of working remotely. You have the ability to work when you want to because you have other commitments that matter.
Maybe you have a small child that needs care. Maybe you have a surfing habit that hits about noon every day.
No matter what it is, working remotely means you have the flexibility you need to take care of yourself and do your job effectively.
Working remotely may also mean money savings for you. What could you do with the cash you pay for public transit to get to work or the money it costs you to put those miles on your car every day? That could translate to real savings that help put money back in your pocket.
The other real benefit is that you may have the ability to become more productive. The office is full of distractions, and the ability to hang out in the home office that you’ve designed could mean you can focus on what matters most to your employer – the task at hand.
There are no office politics to worry about, no water cooler conversations to get you off track, and no last minute runs to grab lunch since you’ll only need to go as far as your kitchen.
Are There Downsides?
There are certainly downsides to a remote team, too. Not every employee has the organization and focuses to work productively from a home office.
Sometimes just putting the right policies into place, though, can help stop any potential problems there. More than that, though, it’s tougher to build a company culture. The right culture means sharing values and goals, and building that remotely is tougher.
It’s possible, but it may mean more work on the part of your leadership to make that happen. Communication can be tougher too, particularly if you don’t all work on the same schedule.
Whether you have a team member with urgent needs or a customer who needs to speak with someone immediately, it may not be enough to leave a voicemail or a note on Slack and move forward.
Employees may also find that they tend to feel more isolated from the team, and that can be a bit frustrating and lead to higher levels of burnout.
Technical issues may be a problem, too, particularly if not everyone on your team has great access to fast internet speeds.
Fortunately, many of the disadvantages of working remotely can be countered with great planning and the right policies to help support everyone on the team.
Are the benefits of remote work amazing enough for your entire company? Maybe it’s time to explore a policy that allows everyone to work remotely.
As an employee, do you love the pros of remote work enough to stay remote? Thousands of other employees across the globe would have to agree with you, and it’s not as challenging as you might think to find a company that agrees too.
Remote work has the ability to really pay off, and exploring that would do both companies and employees quite a bit of good in a post-COVID world.