The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way we work. A recent survey has shown that almost 70% of workers are interested in working from home after the pandemic. Many employers are concerned that they may lose their employees if they no longer offer the opportunity to work from home. A continuing trend is flexibility — whether businesses offer totally remote work or a hybrid work model.
The Pros and Cons of Remote Work
Some advantages of remote work are obvious: the prevention of spreading illness, location independence, a better work-life balance and a customizable workspace. When employers realized their employees could focus and be productive when working from home, remote work became a successful alternative. Some pros of remote work are:
- Healthy Employees. When employees are not stressed out due to a long and tiring commute or worried about becoming ill, they're more productive and positive. According to the United States Census Bureau, the average one-way commute time is 26.1 minutes. Depending on what metropolitan area you're in, a one-way commute can take much longer. Spending all that time stuck in traffic is correlated with increased stress levels, anxiety, high cholesterol, heightened blood sugar levels and risk of depression.
- Improved Inclusivity. When companies hire outside of their limited geographical location, they're opening themselves up to a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Hiring people from varied cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds provides opportunities to those who may not have moved from another location.
- Savings. Professionals who work from home can save around $4,000 a year by eliminating the costs associated with gas, insurance, car maintenance, public transportation, professional work clothes and more. Businesses also save on aspects like real estate costs, overhead and operations costs. It's estimated that businesses can save up to $11,000 a year for every person who works from home — even part-time workers.
- Sustainability. One of the most efficient ways for a business to reduce its carbon footprint is to have employees work from home. Businesses that allow for remote work can receive benefits from various sustainability initiatives.
Some cons that come with remote work are:
- Lack of Social Engagement. Not being able to interact with coworkers is something that affects everyone that works remotely. Those working from home will have to put in extra effort to communicate and engage with bosses, managers and co-workers. Communicating via email, being active in video meetings and participating in essential online events will help keep everyone actively engaged.
- Management Challenges. Managers can no longer pop into a workstation and check in with an employee. Some businesses rely on virtual employee management to see what someone is working on or to check up on progress. Employees are responsible for keeping on top of their work and staying motivated.
- Communication Disparity. Remote workers will need to rely on email and video chats for communication with co-workers and managers. Working with a team might be more difficult without being able to approach colleagues in an office setting.
The Future of Remote Work
It's been proven that many teams can work from home and still be productive. What can companies do to make it more sustainable for employees to make the switch? By investing in remote work software, embracing virtual conferencing, reducing their carbon footprint and creating standard key performance indicators, employees can smoothly transition to remote work. Employers can also save money by paying for employee internet costs and eliminating expensive office spaces.
Allowing flexible hours and letting their employees work from any location will create a rewarding situation for both parties. The benefits of remote work affect more than just individual employees; the impacts will be felt on a global scale.
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