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Since the pandemic, many employers have been offering a work-from-home option. Technology has made it possible for many professionals to do from home what they once did onsite. According to a Gallup survey, 8 in 10 people are working hybrid or remote, and 79% of managers agree that their teams are more productive when they work remotely. The benefits to employees are fairly obvious, such as concentration and avoiding a commute, but what about the isolation from co-workers? As an employer, there are compelling arguments to be made for and against offering a work-from-home option.
Here, we take a balanced look at remote work so that you can decide if you want to continue (or begin) offering a remote or hybrid work option or require everyone to work from the office.
The time and energy drains of commutes and in-office distractions aren’t a problem for the remote worker. Each of your telecommuters has complete control over their working environment and can design their home offices to maximize their productivity. More productive workers are also likely to be more efficient, which means they can do more in less time.
Consider these recent statistics from Flexjobs:
Think on-site workers earn more than their remote working peers across industries? They really don’t, according to recent Flexjobs data:
Even when employees would earn less for remote work, according to the State of Hyrbid Work 2023 report by Owl Labs, nearly a fifth of those surveyed (17%) would take a 20% or more pay cut to have a flexible working location or work fully remote.
If your staff puts in 40-60 hours per week, and you require them to be accessible via digital devices when away from the work site, something must give. Employees have to balance work with parenting, maintaining family relationships and friendships, and exercising and eating right for long-term health. Remote workers have more free time and more freedom to strike a healthy work-life balance.
At home, there’s laundry to do, TV shows to watch, and plenty of other distractions to occupy your worker’s time. Focus requires discipline. Workplaces are ideal for people who need a little structure and discipline imposed on them. Many employees don’t realize that need until they try working from home.
While technology allows instant communication across various platforms, some employees need to feel the physical presence of co-workers in order to be happy and productive. They need to participate in meetings and face-to-face collaborations; digital communications just won’t do. Consider the specific needs of your employees with regard to this potential drawback.
A benefit of having a workplace is that your workers get to leave it. Telecommuters live where they work, so it can be hard for them to disengage from work at times to be with their families, just as the reverse scenario can be problematic.
If you are considering whether to continue offering a work-from-home arrangement to some of your employees, give these pros and cons serious consideration. Productivity, efficiency, and job satisfaction are considerable benefits to you and your telecommuting employees. Yet freedom doesn’t always mean contentment; what works in your employees’ personal lives doesn’t always hold true in their professional lives.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 4, 2020, and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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