The unprecedented outbreak of the pandemic has forced many employees to subscribe to what is known as remote-working jobs. Instead of the more traditional working-in-an-office atmosphere, employees are now working remotely by performing their duties and responsibilities at home. More than ever, companies are currently studying how to adapt to this work arrangement efficiently. 

Companies are arranging remote work efficiently by determining the pros and cons of employees working remotely. However, remote work may not always be suitable for everyone. It would be best to consider first the advantages and disadvantages of working remotely before choosing the right set-up for your company and employees.

Here is a list of the pros and cons of remote work that you must consider in planning for your company’s future:

Pros

1. Productive employees

Office workplace distraction is one reason why employees tend to become unproductive. Most of the time, they cannot avoid having trivial conversations and discussions with their colleagues that are unnecessary for their job. Companies that work remotely certainly agree that the telecommuting setup helps their employees focus on performing their tasks without interruptions since they cannot socialize with other employees. Plus, they can work outside the regular office hours whenever they feel more productive. 

2. Flexible schedule

According to a study, many corporate employees are unhappy with their jobs because they cannot spend quality time with their families due to their work. One of the benefits of working from home is having your employees spend more time with their families. As an employer, you always want the best for your employees so allowing them to have flexible schedules helps them have a better work-life balance. 

Not requiring your employees to commute to work every day enables them to do their personal responsibilities. It will also lessen the stress on themselves, which gives more happiness and satisfaction to their jobs. 

3. Lesser expenses

Reduced expenses is one benefit of working remotely that is particularly helpful to employers. Since your employees do not need to commute to work every day, they no longer have to cut their salaries to a transportation allowance. Instead of paying a parking fee, gas, vehicle maintenance, and subway fares, they can use their money to pay their bills, buy groceries, and send gifts to their loved ones—thousands of money they can save from working remotely. 

4. Healthy employees

Another salient work from home advantage is the emergence of more healthy employees. Many office workers are having a hard time maintaining better health and lifestyle. The regular office working hours plus the time they spend preparing for their meals, business wardrobes, and commuting eat up the time they could have spent on physical exercise. On a positive note, working from home gives them enough time to prepare a healthy meal, engage in physical activities, take care of their health and wellbeing, and take short breaks from work. Keep in mind that healthy employees deliver the best results. 

Cons

1. Lack of collaboration and social connection 

For others, working is more than just getting paid or receiving a payroll every month. They also value the friendship and relationships they have with their colleagues. When working on-site, employees can meet and socialize with other employees personally, which strengthens their bond and connection. It can form a great collaboration that would effectively help them achieve their targets and goals. 

On the flip side, working remotely lessens social connections. It makes it difficult for the team to collaborate since they will only see each other during video conferences and meetings. The reduced engagement and collaboration among employees is indeed one of the significant disadvantages of telecommuting.

2. Communication barriers

There is no doubt that it is much easier and effective to communicate with your colleagues in the office than in virtual meetings. Aside from technical difficulties such as weak internet speed, power interruptions, and more, relying on instant messaging and calls cannot provide complete solutions to communicate with your team effectively. It would be best to consider if your company requires more face to face interactions or not. The tendency to encounter communication barriers or gaps are most likely to happen in remote working environments. This can also lead to miscommunication. 

3. More challenging tasks

Although working remotely gives employees the freedom to manage and accomplish their workload at their own pace, it still requires more challenging tasks. More than being organized, they also need to keep themselves motivated and disciplined. Most of the time, they need to work independently, which requires them to have self-discipline. On top of that, since they are working from their homes, it will be difficult for them to separate workplaces and homeplaces. 

Conclusion

The pandemic situation has undoubtedly shocked the workplace dynamics and forced most if not all companies to shift into the working-from-home situation. Today, remote companies continue to increase. Yes, the pros and cons of remote working during the COVID-19 situation will make a long list but mentioned above are some of the most significant. The benefits emphasize the increase in productivity among employees, which may, in large part, due to the more flexible schedule they are given. However, these advantages also come with apparent disadvantages including the inadequacy of communication and engagement among a company’s members of the workforce. Nevertheless, the premise stands that whatever the working style in a company is, employees should be well cared of by the administration, especially today in such an uncertain time. 

Is your company planning to hire remote workers? Rivermate can take care of everything you need, from payroll to hiring to compliance with taxes. Learn more about us here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does work remotely mean?

Working remotely means working in a situation far and distant from the traditional workplace. This is a working style whose dynamics are quite different from the traditional working environment. The work remotely setup, otherwise known as telecommuting, has its origins from the concept that work does not necessitate being done in a specific location just so it could be successful. Remote work, therefore, proposes that work can be performed anywhere, and not just in an office. 

What are the benefits of telecommuting?

  • Increased flexibility. Telecommuting offers a more relaxed and flexible schedule to employees. Not only are you capable of multitasking by performing your duties and responsibilities for work while also being able to watch your toddlers from time to time, but you can also choose a time you can work most productively. This is a matter of preference as some people tend to perform optimally in the early morning while some burn the midnight oils. With the remote work setup, you have the flexible choice of working early in the morning or late at night, depending on which time you think makes you think best. 
  • Lesser expenses. One of the other significant working from home advantages is the reduced expenses. Traveling to work every day is not anymore on the list of expenses, so the allowance intended on transportation can be used for other more important aspects like health and wellness. 
  • Improved productivity. The traditional office workplace can sometimes breed many distractions that tend to reduce the performance of employees. Just imagine yourself being focused and locked into the task you are assigned to work on until your colleague walks into your office and talks to you about the most trivial conversations like the Kardashians or LeBron James. These encounters are never avoided in the office workplace,  but in telecommuting, the employee can invest their utter focus into the assigned task without any interruptions. 

What is the most challenging part of working from home? 

The pandemic situation has taken a toll on most, if not all employees. This setup has certainly challenged how employees used to perform their roles and responsibilities in a company. A study by Vault regarding the challenges and arguments against remote working enumerated the six most significant challenges in work from home setup. These are: 

  • Staying organized. Since you are working in the same place you live in, your space will likely have a ton of clutter. Wires are all over your desk, papers are scattered all over your bedroom, and even your computer is insanely messy. These are struggles many people share due to the work setup we have. 
  • Time management. It is easy to lose track of time when you are trapped inside your home for a long time already. Every day feels like a Saturday in this pandemic situation.
  • Remembering to take breaks. If you have been working for six hours straight and fail to notice it is already dark outside and you have been staring at your computer for the longest time possible, you are not alone! Many people have had this experience of forgetting to take breaks because they are so focused on their tasks, and they fail to notice the time go by fast. 
  • Switching off. It has also become more difficult to draw a boundary between your life and your work. Often, you send and receive emails at midnight, which is certainly the opposite of switching off. It is important to learn how to distinguish work hours and rest hours. 
  • Poor collaboration and interaction. The pandemic situation has forced many managers to assign individual tasks instead of collaborative ones. The obvious reason is that it is harder to communicate with the members in a group when you are working away from them. Like collaborating, socially interacting has also become significantly challenging because of the remote working setup.

Is working from home good?

Not necessarily. There is a good deal of remote working advantages and disadvantages that employees and employers should consider deliberately. One of its significant advantages is the reduced expenses as it is not anymore necessary to travel to work. On the flip side, one disadvantage of working from home is the reduced morale due to the lack of engagement and interaction among employees. If a company can mitigate the disadvantages and exploit the advantages of remote working, that could be a solid basis to say that working from is good. 

What are the pros and cons of remote working for employers?

Remote working has its pros and cons for employers just as much as it has its advantages and disadvantages for employees. On the one hand, some of the significant pros are: 

  • Employers now have a wider pool of talent to choose from. Remote workers are found everywhere. This means that employers have, at their hands, a wider range of talents they can mentor and eventually set as assets of their company. 
  • A more productive workforce. The work from home situation has made it easier for remote workers to adapt to more flexible schedules. This gives them the freedom to choose time slots they think make them the most productive, leading them from improving their performance. 
  • Costs are cut. Remote work cuts significant employer expenses such as transportation allowances and other miscellaneous expenses.

On the other hand, its disadvantages include:

  • Lack of proper communication. Remote work forced communication among colleagues to be made only online. Engagement is therefore reduced and morale is decreased as well. 
  • Risks of frauds and scammers. Online job applications make companies more vulnerable to frauds and scammers. Cautious hiring is thus necessary to avoid these cases. 

What are remote working pros and cons in the UK?

Some sources in Escalla UK say 50 percent of the UK workforce will be working from home instead of the office within the next few years. The same article enumerated the following work-from-home pros and cons: 

Pros

  • Less commuting time. 
  • More autonomy. 
  • Greater flexibility. 
  • Better work-life balance. 
  • Higher productivity. 
  • Increased motivation. 
  • Reduced staff turnover. 
  • Reduced need for office space. 

Cons

  • Can lead to longer working hours. 
  • Overlaps between work and personal life. 
  • Work intensification.
  • Isolation. 
  • Strain on teams.