Remote Working is set to remain as commonplace in 2022 as it was last year, but the question of whether remote work is good or bad for an organization is still as hotly debated as ever. The real answer is that there is no one answer for all organizations; some businesses may be able to function just as well, if not even better, with a fully remote organization – one such example is TechQuarters, a London IT support company that has been fully remote since the early onset of COVID-19. However, even TechQuarters would admit that for some businesses, remote working may not be right – although, with the right tools, solutions, and practices, they might be able to make it better for themselves.
There are a number of advantages to Pros and Cons of working remotely, just as there are a number of disadvantages; a business must consider both carefully before going remote. In particular, without properly considering the disadvantages, and developing a strategy to minimize them, then remote working will fail them.
Firstly, remote working can offer time savings to both the employer and the employee.
Traditionally, commuting to work in the morning and back home in the evening was a significant part of the day – around 2 hours a day, even. What is more, some businesses might require people to commute to meetings throughout the week; and some may even travel to different cities for meetings or conferences. Eliminating the need for travel – thanks to video comms and calls replacing in-person meetings – can add up to several hours a week saved. For employers, this means less downtime for workers traveling and not being able to work; for employees, this means less time catching up on work, and probably more time to spend with their families.
There have been plenty of organizations that have been surprised to discover that people in the business had much better productivity when they worked remotely. Some employees pointed to the added time they had in the mornings without their commute – time they could use to prepare for their workday in other, more meaningful ways.
Other employees have cited the elimination of distractions they would often have while working in the office – such as ambient noise, restlessness, hunger, or even excessive coffee break chats; some surveys have shown that remote workers, on average, take fewer breaks throughout the day.
Owing to the fact that travel plans are no longer an issue when planning meetings, employees are finding it easier to keep up meeting attendance. Employees get much more consistent quiet time when working from home, meaning they can attend meetings, and once they are over they can return immediately to their solo work. Spontaneous meetings are also much easier to arrange when everyone is working from home.
There is definitely a benefit to in-person work and communication; some employers have cited concerns about not being able to see what their employees are doing all day. Other authorities claim that building trust by socializing with your colleagues is an important step to productivity – one that is harder to take when everyone is working from their home. The solution to this disadvantage is for an organization to schedule regular communications between both frequent collaborators and the whole organization. When everyone is working remotely, it is especially important to build a sense of community, as it is less likely to happen organically.
Once again, the lack of in-person communication can prove to be a hurdle in the (virtual) workplace. Colleagues gathering in a conference room, using whiteboards to visualize their ideas, casual chats that illuminate ideas no one had considered before – these are all very important tools for collaboration that need to be replicated outside of a physical setting. Many of the managed service providers London-based companies use for their IT strategy have been advising the use of digital tools that can replace in-person collaboration because, without them, a business can suffer.
Health and safety
Without a proper remote working strategy implemented within an organization, employees may suffer both physical and mental health issues.
TO begin with, most employees don’t have office-grade chairs and desks in their home – they often work on laptops, sitting in dining chairs for 8 hours a day, and some findings suggest that people working remotely take fewer breaks and spend more time at their desk. All of this can lead to physical injuries such as repetitive strain injuries (RSI) and eye strain.
Perhaps an even more serious issue is the psychological effects of remote working without sufficient socialization. It can feel very isolating for an employee who spends most of their day alone and perhaps doesn’t have many meetings to attend. There is a strong argument for having daily meetings, even if they are just to give people some face time and conversation time.