The Pros and Cons of Remote Work

Remote work is on the rise. When it comes to productivity, company culture, and employee satisfaction, what are the pros and cons of working remotely?

Published on 10 January, 2018

In the past 20 years, technological advancements have paved the way for an increase in remote employees. Many companies have embraced the benefits of allowing employees to work from home, leading to more flexibility and employee satisfaction. However, some companies are pushing back in a widespread debate claiming remote working leads to decreased productivity and a lack of company culture and collaboration.

The Pros Of Remote Working:

Take advantage of technology

In a world where technology is growing exponentially, companies are able to utilize these advancements to their benefit. Fast speed wifi, email, and video chats enable us to be in contact with our co-workers or clients at any time, making the distance away from the office almost nonexistent.

Flexibility with working moms and dads

For moms or dads that both work full-time jobs, it can be hard to raise a child while coming in to work from 9 to 5 every weekday. When exploring attitudes towards working mothers, only 12% of adults said it’s best for mothers of young children to work full time. Having the benefit of working at home will save employees money on babysitters or daycare while allowing them to care for their child throughout the day.

Improves employee satisfaction

Working remotely provides great perks for employees. Remote workers get the benefit of avoiding long and difficult work commutes which  saves them their time. Working remotely also allows employees to avoid the noisy distractions and lack of privacy often associated with open office spaces. Avoiding these factors could aid in increased productivity from home.

Saves employers money

Having employees work from home can save companies money too. By having fewer people in the office every day, there is less demand for bigger office spaces, desks, and supplies. In 2009, IBM reported that 40% of its 386,000 employees were working remotely across 173 countires. This allowed IBM to sell off its office buildings at a gain of almost $2 billion.

working in the office increases company culture

The Cons of Remote Working:

Decrease in company culture

A huge part of any office is their company culture. It’s a large part of what makes potential hires want to work with a company and a large part of ongoing employee satisfaction. Take a group of employees out of the office and the culture could be lacking.

Less productivity

Although studies have found that working remotely could be even more productive than working in the office, this may only be true for certain types of workers. Some people may abuse working from home as an excuse to take it easy on their job. In addition, working from home requires a certain type of focus and motivation to stay on task in a home environment. While it allows employees to avoid work distractions, there are many distractions at home to consider as well.

Less collaboration

Jobs that don’t involve teamwork, such as a call center employee, seem to be the ideal candidate for working remotely. Most creative office jobs, however, require teamwork and collaboration, such as marketing employees. Team members work more efficiently in the same space, where they can feed off ideas and creativity from each other. Collaborative efforts also depend on well-developed personal relationships among team members, which is best supported through physical encounters.

Perhaps this is why high profile, tech savvy companies like IBM have been pulling back more of their employees into the office. After several years of praising remote working, IBM has reversed their policies and is calling workers back to their offices. This move, they say, “will improve collaboration and accelerate the pace of work”. Many criticize this move, claiming the company will endure more losses than benefits. The debate remains, however, as people consider the many pros and cons of remote working.

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