Thinking About Going Remote?

Thinking about going remote? Here are all the pros and cons of working from home.

The virus has passed through many technological and cultural barriers whereby businesses all over the world had to send their employees to work remotely as far as practicable, which has become a huge shift from the traditional way of working. Is this just a passing trend or something that is here to stay?   

Yes, it was a hard adjustment for employees to begin with, but soon after they settled in, it became apparent to many office-based teams that employees were more productive and attentive when working from home. Some of the points listed below you might already be aware of; however, some may enlighten you to the positive and negative impact remote working has had on employers, employees, and the economy.  

Whether you are looking for remote working or commuting to work, look at our blog on  5 quick and easily applicable tips to improve your job searchalong with  some  Covid’s impact on employment. If you are looking for remote working check out our website for openings.   

The Pros:

• Flexible Work Schedules 

Many remote working jobs come with the perks like flexible schedules, greater independence, and improved work-life balance. Some offer the flexibility of employees deciding when they start and finish as long as the work is fully completed. This flexibility over your work schedule can be invaluable when it comes to attending to the needs of your personal life. Whether it is running some errands, going to the gym, dropping the kids off at school, and so on. This greater independence positively impacts employees’ relationships and opportunities to practise their hobbies in their spare time.   

If you need to work specific hours, break time can be your own personal time to use however you like! Even if it is just for ten minutes, you can do something that would not be possible in a traditional office: doing a couple of squats, playing a few tunes on the piano, or read a couple of pages from your favourite book. You are guaranteed to feel more refreshed than you would after spending ten minutes at your desk flicking through Instagram.  

Do you dream about ditching the 9-5 routine, travelling the world, surfing during the day, and meeting like-minded people from different cultures? This particular remote working style has been popular among young people who wish to travel around the world. Having a rucksack and a laptop with internet connection is all they need. Digital nomads, as they are known, have the freedom to travel anywhere at their own pace. They apply for online gigs as a freelancer or work part-time or full-time to finance their hobbies and travelling.   

Being a digital nomad means you get all the perks of a regular job but more flexibility and the ability to choose your location and hours you want to work. There are more benefits than just travelling as you get to create your own plans and have a greater level of independence, making global connections, meeting like-minded people along the way, and taking inspiration from it.   

• Improved Productivity & Performance

According to Finder, 65% of employees said they would be more productive in a home office than a normal office environment. Working from home makes employees more productive as there are usually fewer interruptions, a quieter noise level and fewer office politics. Because idle chatting and clicks hanging around the break room aren’t possible, remote workers tend to avoid the gossiping and ostentation that can happen in traditional work settings…which is a huge bonus for everyone right? Likewise, with quieter surroundings and serenity the environment lends itself to employees being more creative thinkers with higher concentration level. In addition, a reported 72% of employers state that remote working has a high impact on employee retention and this will help employers keep trained staff in the job for longer.  

• Eliminating Travel Time & Location Independence 

We all get used to hearing about the dreaded commute, so one of the colossal benefits of working from home is the time you save by not commuting to work. The average time it takes for a person to travel to work is 59 minutes . So, you can save nearly an hour per day doing something productive. You can avoid the anxious rush hour traffic, trains being cancelled or the bus not showing up, which can all cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Research proves that commuting to work each day results in health problems such as high cholesterol, elevated blood sugar levels, and an increased risk of depression. Working from home helps to support your physical and mental health as it allows you to focus on priorities outside of work.  

Other health benefits include:  

  • Less susceptibility to ill health  
  • Having the option to create a comfortable environment   
  • The ease of caring for a health issue or disability   

Working remotely also reduces your travelling costs, which means you can spend more of your money on things you love, which results in a happier, healthier, and more motivated workforce. These health benefits can also reduce the amount of absencefrom and turnover at work which can save businesses money.   

Another benefit of working from home is having more access to job opportunities that are not limited to where you live. This can be especially helpful for employees living in small towns and rural communities where there are few available local job opportunities. However, if you want to get the best of both worlds, you could be offered the chance to be telecommuting part-time, by your employer, meaning that aside from working on-site, you can spend time working at home.  This will give you more flexibility and freedom. 

• Accommodating People With Special Needs

People with physical disabilities who work from home will find it easier and less challenging not having to commute to work. It gives them a sense of independence and freedom, and gives them the chance to work from home if they wish. This will drastically improve their lives as working from home can be a less stressful environment.   

However, it is also important to acknowledge the disadvantages too. Many people may not have the workspace to support their physical needs which leads to them having extra strain on their body. Technology can also be an issue as they are required to use work computers and not their own devices that they would normally use. This creates a huge barrier especially if the devices are not compatible for those who are visually impaired or have dyslexia. In which case, working in an office means more help and support given and also more communication to meet their needs than just online.  

• Helping The Environment

One of the fastest and cheapest ways for both employees and employers to reduce greenhouse emissions and their carbon footprint and help slow climate change is by working remotely. This past year, we have seen a significant reduction in pollution, congestion and traffic which have all had a positive effect on the environment. Looking at some recent statistics we have learnt that since COVID-19, 88% of the organisations worldwide made it mandatory or encouraged their employees to work remotely in which 99% of remote workers would like to continue telecommuting in the future. 

• Saving Money

Especially if you have a long commute, travelling to work and back is expensive. By working remotely, you will be saving money on petrol, parking costs, buying food and drinks from stores on lunch break, even to the extent of buying clothes for work. All these things add up. Research suggests that office-based employees in the UK save around £500  a month by working from home. Figures from The Office for National Statistics (ONS) demonstrates that the UK saved £157 billion over the three months of full lockdown. This major economic benefit of working from home could be continued as more companies are making it a long-term solution

• Comfortable & Personalised Environment

Working remotely means you can have your own personalised office space that reflects your personality. It is all about entirely customising your work area, whether it is putting up your favourite plants or putting pictures of your family and friends on your wall. Spending many hours in an environment you love to spend time in can increase your output. Remote employees can make their workspace as bright or plain as they see fit. You do not have to worry about colleagues complaining about you if you are untidy. Or if you are obsessively tidy you can focus on your area. Many employees are much more productive in their own home environment. You can set up your desk wherever, close the door if you wish, and listen to music if it helps you express your creativity. Not having the restrictions that you would normally have in a traditional workplace will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable working, unlike when you first start a job and the stress of having to find your way around. 

• Getting Work Done After Hours

One of the biggest benefits of remote working is the flexibility that work can be done outside office hours. Having this option, for instance, can benefit parents with small children, or people who devote a lot of their time outside work to other activities. Fewer restrictions mean you can be more productive, creative, and more relaxed. This is useful for some larger industries in IT and marketing for instance, as there will always be someone around to answer any queries or problems that a customer may have.  

• Technology Can Facilitate Working From Home

Another benefit of working from home is the use of technology. It has advanced rapidly over the years whereby employees can reap the benefits from working at home as they have access to all apps and business suites such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, Zoom calls, messaging apps and so on. Tools like these have made the communication between employers and employees much easier at times and can lead to more effective meetings. Technology provides the ability for teams to collaborate in real-time via cloud systems which makes for more productive working. The future of remote work will be dictated by the younger generation as remote working is largely technology driven. It can be predicted that hybrid working will happen as businesses will adopt to both office and working at home. This will mean getting the benefits of both.

The Cons:

Now that we have looked at all the pros of working remotely it is important to look at why remote work can also have its disadvantages. Here are a few reasons why not to work from home. 

• No Face-to-Face Interaction

This can be seen as a missed opportunity to work side-by-side with your colleagues. Working at home can be also distracting leading to reduced productivity by not having a schedule that you would be working to in a traditional workplace. But working in a busy office can be a good way to meet new people and establish new friendships since we all need human contacts. We are social beings after all. Working in a team helps employees achieve their work goals more effectively and can also be quite enjoyable. With regular interaction with staff, we can develop good interpersonal skills and improve self-confidence and assertiveness at work. It can be easier to talk to someone in a traditional office setting asking questions or concerns they might have. However, depending on your job, this might not be an issue for you as you might prefer to socialise less and communicate only online. Either way, communication is essential to be the most productive and getting things done in time. Daily calls and video chats will help to communicate effectively.

• Limited Advancement

Working remotely makes it hard for employees to feel seen and heard on a daily basis, which can make it harder for them to advance through the business and receive promotion or pay-rise. However, if you are consistently providing quality results you will be recognised by your employer.  

• Lack of Structure

Even though working remotely provides more flexibility it can lead to potential loss of structure. Always set a plan of action of what you want to achieve every day, as you are more likely to achieve your goals, which will set the tone for the day. Just how you would plan your day preparing to go to the office, you can do the same for working at home, prioritising the most important tasks first.   

Everyone works differently. However, preparing and planning your day at home by using sticky notes, having regular catch-ups with the rest of the team, or having meetings with your employer to make sure your whole team are heading in the right direction. Utilising business calendars or writing a plan for the rest of the week or month will keep you updated on meetings and help you get more organised. This will help you have a structure and get the most out of your day. Being present through your telecommunications and working in a team will also ensure that everyone is on the same page.  

Summary

Now we have looked at the pros and cons of remote work, it is time for you decide what you think is most relevant and applicable for you. What are your thoughts on remote working? Is it something you currently do or something you think you could take on? You may not consider working at home right now, although you might consider it in the future. As working remotely becomes more conventional, businesses are increasing their positions with flexible hours.   

In my view, remote working has more advantages than disadvantages as it offers more flexibility and you can work from the comfort of your own home, which is, incidentally, a lot less stressful. It is a trend a lot more businesses are likely to adopt and will point to a positive direction. On the negative aspect, it can be tough working from home as you can feel isolated, missing real time interaction with colleagues. With this newly-acquired freedom and greater choices, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons as described above before making the right decision.

2 Replies to “Thinking About Going Remote?”

  1. Yeah couldn’t agree more with this, with my job I can’t work from home and have been on site since July of last year and honestly it’s a life saving thing being on site, as you say for the interaction and structure of the day alone. I couldn’t work from home even if I was able to do work at home… yes there are positives of the freedom and the ability to do it wherever you may be but it’s still so restricted and I wouldn’t want work to invade my home life… I spend too much time as it is at work so don’t want it following me home lol

    Great article though! Loved every minute and looking forward to the next one

    Thanks for the read 🙂

  2. Hi Tom, yes I do believe it can depend on your current circumstances and your adaptability. Sometimes the job you have may exclude you from the option of working remotely i.e a manual labour job. Whichever one you do, as long as you’re being productive, getting the work done and achieving your goals, that’s what really counts.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! If you have any more infomation you would like to add, please feel free to leave a comment 😊

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