Remote work has had a profound impact on many businesses. Many employers and employees saw an increase in performance and overall well-being when working from home during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic confined us to our homes, many people who worked from home enjoyed the freedom and flexibility it gave them.
While most people work in offices, the office isn’t always the most productive place. It can be difficult to get anything done between people constantly walking by and starting conversations. In addition, constant interruptions are common in offices, making the completion of tasks longer and increasing employee stress. This article will discuss whether working from home is here to stay or if it’s just a passing trend.
Working From Home is Long-Term
Many companies believe that remote work is the future. While some companies were operating remotely before the pandemic, many more have all-remote workforces and have completely ditched their offices since the restrictions began. Even though people can safely return to work, many employers are either closing their offices for good or allowing employees to work from home. Here’s why working from home is here to stay.
Remote Work Increases Productivity
Commuting to the office takes time, especially if your employees live in another city. However, there’s also a lot of sitting around and waiting in an office when employees could be doing other things. Not to mention, there’s a lot of time wasted between employees having conversations and being interrupted with random requests throughout the day.
Working from home cuts commute times out of the equation so employees can focus on doing the work they enjoy doing without spending over an hour in traffic each day. Additionally, remote work prevents unnecessary conversations that can decrease overall productivity.
Working from home can improve employee morale. Even though your employees miss out on the opportunity to spend time together in an office, they can still use communication tools to ensure they are collaborating.
Working from home offers your employees more flexibility in terms of work-life balance. For example, on a lunch break, employees can clean their homes or do chores they’d otherwise have to wait after work to do. Not only that, but since they don’t have to worry about commuting to work, they can start spending more time with their families and doing what they enjoy instead of worrying about work.
Happier employees are typically more productive. As a result, businesses that focus on employee happiness have a higher retention rate, which means less money spent on recruiting and hiring processes and more employees engaged in important tasks.
If you still have an office, you could offer the opportunity to work from home as an employee benefit and let your employees choose for themselves.
Having a remote workforce saves you money because you’ll no longer need to pay rent on an office or have expensive utility bills. Instead, all of your employees will work from their homes to help your business save money.
Better Talent Pool
If your company is looking for new employees, having a remote opportunity can help you find top talent instead of settling for the best one in the area. Instead of being limited to a single city or metro area, you can hire employees from around the globe to ensure you’re hiring top performers. Hiring remote employees is just as easy and doesn’t require any additional work from your HR department as long as they have the right video conferencing software.
Fewer Sick Days
As your employees learned during the onboarding process, there are a limited number of sick days they can use. When you allow your employees to work from home, they’ll use fewer of their sick days, which means more time working. While you can’t always avoid sick days, even when employees are working from home, they’ll be more likely to work when they have a cold since they can perform regular tasks from their couch or bed without worrying about what they look like.
Many employees take sick days simply because they don’t want to wake up, get ready, and drive to the office. Even if they’re not sick, employees might sometimes call in sick because it takes a lot of effort to get to work. Instead of forcing your employees to commute, you can ask that everyone be online by a certain time to begin work, making even your laziest employees have no excuse to call in sick when they aren’t.
Disadvantages of Working from Home
Working from home might not be a long-term solution depending on the organization. Many businesses shifted to a remote workplace out of necessity, not because they were considering it beforehand. While many organizations have seen the benefits of working from home, others feel it has stifled their organizations and employees. Here’s why some employers believe working from home is not here to stay.
Lack of Collaboration
Many organizations require constant collaboration between employees and departments. Many collaborations have to happen quickly, which means organizing people in a matter of minutes to ensure projects are being completed. During the pandemic, many fast-paced organizations were forced to slow down due to the inability to effectively collaborate. Employees had poor internet connections, distractions, and technology issues that stopped them from promptly finishing projects.
Lack of Policies
Many employers simply don’t have a remote work policy that helps them communicate expectations to employees. Without a policy, employees did whatever they wanted during the pandemic, leaving managers unable to control workflows and manage projects.
Working from home can lead to burnout if the company culture isn’t set up to help employees manage their workloads while ensuring proper collaboration. With burnout comes stifled creativity that doesn’t allow employees to work with one another to provide feedback and get through the creative process that might require fast approvals and edits.
Working from home also comes with risks, which could be a problem for workers in finance who require tight security to protect sensitive information. While an IT department can secure office equipment and the internet, it’s difficult to secure an employee’s internet at home. They can use endpoint security to secure devices, but your employees still need clear guidelines for how they store passwords and ensure they never lose their laptops, tablets, or cell phones.
No Home Offices
Before the pandemic, few people saw a need to have a home office if they didn’t work from home. When companies asked their employees to start working from home, nobody was ready, which meant employees worked at their kitchen tables and on their couches. As a result, employees were forced to sit in uncomfortable positions for eight hours a day without the proper office furniture or desk converters, decreasing productivity and overall happiness.
Many of the disadvantages companies saw from having employees work remotely were because of a lack of planning. Of course, nobody could have seen the pandemic coming, but now that companies know what it takes to have a remote workforce, they can begin changing the way they run their business to improve overall productivity and employee happiness. Working from home is a viable option for many businesses, but it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons to decide whether or not it can help your employees become more successful.
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music.