Remote work, hybrid work, distributed work, flexitime… Work flexibility takes many forms. But employee centricity is essential to sustain a successful business. Consequently, an important shift such as changing the entire way your workforce works requires considering both points of view: the employer and the employee. Is your staff ready to do all their meetings online? How are you going to maintain a corporate culture? The working model must reflect the business’s needs and fulfill your team members' expectations. Getting their feedback and discussing the best strategy to put in place is fundamental. Is switching to a remote work schedule the right move? What are the advantages and disadvantages of remote working? This article details the pros and cons of remote work for employees and employers. Hopefully, this will give you a better idea about if prioritizing a “work from anywhere” policy is the right approach for your flexible company.
Remote working advantages and disadvantages from an employee’s point of view
The advantages of remote working for employees
Geographical barriers are lifted
In terms of efficiency and productivity, organizations have realized it doesn’t matter if their staff is operating from the office, their couch, or a coffee shop. This is what remote work is about. It implies that employees can work from anywhere and therefore, it lifts all geographical barriers. Not only does it embrace the digital nomad trend, but it also encourages people to apply for companies worldwide without worrying about leaving their homes, families, and friends.
Time optimization improves
How much time does your team need to come to the office? One of the major advantages of remote working for employees is time optimization. Working from home can save minutes, if not hours, of their day. How many times have you said, “Time flies, I haven’t had time to do half of the things I wanted to do”? With a remote working model, the day doesn’t get longer, but you are able to save time by avoiding a long commute.
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Stress levels decrease
Having more time for personal activities decreases stress. It enables you to practice hobbies like sports, which decrease stress levels. In addition, by choosing their working location, employees can prioritize places that make them feel good and productive (a quiet room, an outside spot with a beautiful view, and the sound of nature…). Obviously, less time spent commuting is undoubtedly a factor that also reduces work anxiety.
Productivity and efficiency increase
As mentioned in an article about work from home and productivity statistics by Apollo Technical, studies show that remote workers are more productive. There are many reasons that can explain this. For example, choosing the best working location to focus, avoid distractions and get things done definitely improves efficiency. But being happy and satisfied with a job also contributes to being more engaged and productive in tasks.
Work-life balance goes up
We can’t talk about work flexibility without referring to work-life balance. This is the core idea behind this new way of working and is a result of the combination of different advantages remote work has for employees. Working from anywhere helps balance personal and professional lives, improves mental health, and fosters employee happiness.
The disadvantages of working remotely from a worker’s perspective
The risk of losing work-life balance
Although we just said that remote work improves work-life balance, it can also have the opposite effect. For some employees, going to the office helps maintain a daily structure between their personal and professional lives. When home office, quickly checking work emails even when off the clock is tempting. You know what we often say, “I just want to get it done and then I can relax.” There is a risk that employees will approach work in this way when working from home and managers need to be aware of this when switching to a remote work model.
A great communication strategy needs to be in place
Poor communication can quickly impact your employees’ work and your business. When all employees operate from different places, the communication strategy has to evolve to answer new needs like having an efficient video call tool for example. Communication should be as smooth and straightforward as in the office. Otherwise, workers get frustrated, anxious, and annoyed. This, in turn, is going to negatively affect job satisfaction and productivity.
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Can easily feel disconnected from the workplace
Workplace connection means feeling connected to the people, the job, and the company you work for. It proves a sense of purpose and plays a part in employee satisfaction. It is harder for remote workers to maintain this relationship with the organization and their colleagues if they do not go on-site and meet their teammates. Without an option to come to the office and work together in person, employees might start to question their job, feel unhappy, and look for change.
The risk of isolation is higher
Remote work practices can also lead to isolation. The workplace is more than just a professional environment, it is also a place to meet people, make connections and socialize. Taking this away can result in loneliness and isolation. It is fundamental that companies consider this risk when switching to a fully remote work model.
Energy bills at home increase
If your remote workers mainly operate from home and not from a third workplace, their energy bills are obviously going to increase. For some of them, this is the price they pay for more freedom at work and they see it as “part of the deal”. For others, it can be an issue that you shouldn’t underestimate.
Pros and cons of remote work from a company point of view
The pros of remote work from a business perspective
Remote teams are more productive
An improvement in productivity due to remote work is also a major benefit for employers. Employee happiness and productivity are correlated. Therefore, remote work should not just be presented as a means to increase productivity. The personal benefits that this model has on workers are what make them more productive. Thus, this is only true if a flexible model makes your workforce happier (which is usually the case) and doesn’t make them feel frustrated, disconnected, or isolated.
Office costs are reduced
With all your employees working from different locations, do you really need an office? Even if you do, you can still reduce your costs. First, your energy bills drop. Second, your real estate costs can decrease if you no longer need as much space. If you go fully remote and have a distributed team, you might actually not require an office anymore. If you choose to switch to a partially remote, hybrid work model, your workspace can also be optimized accordingly.
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Diversity and inclusion in the workplace improve
In terms of recruitment, a flexible model provides greater opportunity for diversity and inclusion. With remote work, Human Resources departments can hire international staff and people with disabilities, for whom going to an office may be difficult. This is a major advantage of remote work for employers who can now build a diverse and inclusive workforce full of highly skilled individuals.
A greater chance of having a highly skilled workforce
In addition to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, having a remote work model helps organizations collaborate with the most skilled individuals in their industry. Let’s say you are a company based in London and you are looking for a new team member. Your recruitment process is no longer limited to the London area. Talent can apply from all over the world. You then have a larger pool of applicants to find the best person for the job and create a successful team.
Remote working opportunities are a talent magnet
Since people have gotten a taste of the benefits of remote work during the pandemic, it has become a top priority for all generations of workers, but especially Millennials and Gen Z. When searching for a new job, this is one of the first aspects they look at. Therefore, adopting a remote work model fulfills employees’ expectations, as well as retains and attracts talent. Knowing that Millennials will represent 75% of the global workforce by 2025 (according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey Report) and Gen Z has just entered the workplace, this is a key advantage for an employer.
As soon as you begin answering your workers’ needs (like allowing remote work), there is a positive snowball effect on their well-being. This leads to better mental health among your workforce. Consequently, there is a smaller chance of employee burnout. Also, even if they are ill, there is no risk of infecting the rest of the team when working from home. If they have the energy and feel good enough to work ( just having a cough for example), they might not ask for sick days.
👋 How can you detect if your workforce is suffering from work-related stress? Learn more about employee burnout, the symptoms, and the prevention practices to focus on.
The company’s carbon footprint diminishes
Last but not least, the importance of sustainability in the workplace is fundamental for the planet and of increasing importance for the youngest generations of workers. For Millennials and Gen-Z, minimizing environmental impact at work is as significant as doing it in their personal lives. Remote work encourages less commuting and therefore less pollution from transport. Decreasing the consumption of energy in the office, reduces your company’s expenses but, most importantly, it lowers your carbon footprint.
The cons of having a remote team for employers
Fostering the company’s culture is harder
The culture of the workplace is a fundamental aspect of an organization. It makes people feel that they belong to a community, it creates common values and purpose, and it is the backbone of a business. When collaborating only online with your employees, maintaining a positive corporate culture is harder. It requires more effort to keep the company’s spirit up. Team leaders and HR managers need to come up with new solutions to promote a positive workplace culture.
The risks of having disconnected employees increases
As mentioned, it can be hard for your team to feel connected to the workplace when working from anywhere but the office. This is one of the few disadvantages of remote work and can lead to a decrease in engagement, a drop in productivity, and an increase in employee turnover. People might look for a new job that allows them to work remotely or on-site.
Managing a remote team needs specific skills
For managers of remote teams, adjusting their leadership style to this new way of working is essential. Remote workers don’t have the same needs as office employers. Also, communicating and collaborating are different when every team member is operating from various locations. To be able to manage a remote workforce successfully, leaders have to be aware of these aspects. For example, providing flexible work management training can be really useful.
What if we told you there is a solution that can help balance these remote working advantages and disadvantages. It requires combining the traditional work model with remote work and then topping it all off with a sprinkle of employee empowerment. You can create a perfect hybrid work model where your workers both work from home and the office. To get the most out of flexible work and make it as simple as possible for your workforce, you need to be equipped with the right tools.
Request a free demo of the deskbird app to discover how you can easily manage a hybrid workspace and give more power to your team members!