The pandemic made a compelling case for businesses to make the switch to remote work. For one, it was necessary to keep businesses functional during the pandemic. However, through that experience, businesses came to recognize several benefits from it. Three other major revelations came to light:
- First was that many employees were well equipped to work from home. In fact, many preferred working from home over commuting to the office well after the pandemic restrictions were removed.
- Employees were and are still productive and engaged in their jobs. Perhaps even more than they were while in an office setting.
- Companies had enjoyed several benefits like reduced costs in several daily expenditures while also boosting their efficiencies as a company.
While there are overwhelming positives to working remotely, all of this came at a cost. During the pandemic, many people were dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation. It was mentally taxing. Combined with working from home, this caused mental strains on many individuals.
Fully understanding the factors these decisions make years after the restrictions are removed is crucial. Generally, we know people are warming up to the idea of working from home. But is it worth it to go full remote or bring everyone back to the office?
The Pros To Remote Work
Whether it was forced due to outside circumstances or an option the company decided to make, those who were working remotely found there were many benefits from both an employer and employee perspective.
For the modern worker, many prefer to work from home. A study from Zapier reinforced that by finding:
- 74% of people are open to quitting their job to work remotely
- 31% would love to work remotely but employers would not allow it
- 26% have left their job for one that would allow them to work remotely
Another study also conducted a survey targeting remote workers and found:
- 98% of them would like to continue working remotely for the rest of their career
- 97% would recommend working remotely
- 70% were happy with how much they worked
- 19% wanted to work remotely more often
From that same study, the big benefits were:
- A flexible schedule
- Flexibility in where to work
- No commuting
Working remotely brings other benefits including:
- More employee engagement: Workers are happier and by default will be more engaged with their work.
- Higher organizational efficiency: Workflows tend to be more transactional and efficient which in turn boosts company efficiency.
- More organizational flexibility: Any time a company offers flexibility to their employees will in turn become more flexible. This is key because it can mean a company can hire from a wider talent pool and stay resilient in issues where problems occur with their on-site team. Things like natural disasters or illnesses are not as impactful when companies have their team scattered rather than in one location.
- Less commutes: Less commutes means lower stress on workers and savings on gas. These put a little more money in workers’ pockets which makes employees happier. This also reduces company costs if they have a policy where they compensate for travel expenses.
- Higher productivity: It takes more energy to drive to work than to take a few steps to a home office. As such, that energy is used to be more productive when working at home.
As much as there are good things, it is important to keep in mind the downside too.
The Cons Of Working Remotely
There are some notable drawbacks to working remotely including:
- Fewer social interactions: As the pandemic made it clear, people were stuck in their office and home. Even before the pandemic, any remote worker was in this situation. As a result, it is not surprising for remote workers to feel lonely or that they are detached from the company they work for. It’s imperative to keep them engaged whenever a company can.
- Tougher challenges when creating company culture: Because remote workers are detached from everything, they are not exposed to company culture as much. A company culture is important as this represents the beliefs, values, and assumptions of the business. Because of the distance, it becomes tougher for a team to work together or to be involved in the common company culture from the start.
- Less oversight: It is possible to manage remote workers, however doing so is difficult in several instances. There are time zones to consider which makes it difficult for meetings or performance reviews.
- Higher risks for distractions: Working at home has its perks but there are more distractions than a talkative co-worker. At home, a remote worker might have to deal with pets, roommates, or family members distracting them.
Overall, there is no doubt that companies and employees can thrive in a remote work environment. With the right approach, companies can mitigate the drawbacks and reap the massive benefits of having a remote team. Or maybe employers can make the best of both worlds and offer a hybrid work setting that meets the needs of both the business and its employees.