It is often said that the 9-to-5 working model is a thing of the past. We’re in the midst of a digital revolution that is re-shaping our lives, and with a number of different online opportunities to choose from, it can be difficult to navigate the fast-changing and ever-morphing workplace landscape and make the most of it.
Flexitime and telecommuting have become employment staples for all companies that strive to attract new employees, and alongside a fat check and health insurance, these two options are listed among the most important perks an employee is looking for.
However, if you’re considering putting together and managing a remote team, know that the accounts which paint an idyllic picture aren’t completely honest, because they’re not showing the downsides of this concept. Here are some of the pros and cons of remote work to help you make the right decision.
Why limit your options to the area where your business is situated when you can cherry-pick the best people for the job from all over the world? This fact will not only bring quality and fresh ideas to your company, but also some much-needed diversity and different experiences.
If you can hire employees from any city, country, or continent, there’s a chance of finding great talent with the skills and requirements that perfectly fit your job description. Digital nomads with a lot of expertise in their fields are unwilling to be tied to location, let alone an office desk, and if you decide to opt for a remote team, you can take advantage of everything they can offer.
Remote workers don’t have time to wait around for answers from others. To get their work done, they need answers, and they need them now.
As a result, remote workers constantly find themselves learning new skills as and when they need them, on a task-by-task basis.
Just as entrepreneurs must proactively create their own solutions, remote workers must do the same, acting entrepreneurially by taking their work seriously, carefully planning their work activities, and always striving for the highest quality in their work.
As well as the above, a major positive element of allowing remote workers to be a part of your business is that the potential talent pool expands immensely.
It’s common that the best candidates won’t live within commuting distance and can’t or aren’t willing to relocate. Assembling a team of top employees through remote work from all over the country or even the world is more than doable nowadays, thanks to a variety of interactive technologies.
All this means that expensive business trips are virtually eliminated, the need for physical office space is reduced, and increased productivity of employees is due to the flexibility that remote working allows.
While remote working hours may be less than traditional, the ability to check emails at any time can often lead to more work being done.
Yes, there are countless instant messaging and video chat tools, but Skype, Viber, or WhatsApp can’t replace the kind of spontaneous communication that people can have when they’re sitting in the same room together. It’s no secret that working remotely can be a lonely and isolating experience which can affect work-life balance, motivation, and the well-being of your employees in the long run.
Good personal relationships between the members of a team are of vital importance to its success, and we all know that a round of drinks at the end of a long week can bring people together and improve team cohesion. Face-to-face communication with all its prosodic features and body language can be more easily deciphered than any form of remote communication. For this reason, it’s instrumental to be careful when wording your messages and making sure that your points are clearly formulated.
Motivation is a big issue when it comes to remote working. Some people simply aren’t suited to remote work. These types don’t have the discipline or temperament to thrive in a solitary environment. Even if you can stay motivated to get your tasks done, there is the tricky business of keeping yourself focused to contend with.
Sure, you don’t have people coming past to ask your thoughts on the weekend’s game/the latest soap opera scandal, but your home is full of things that can sap your concentration away from your work.
Parents might find themselves overwhelmed looking after children, while non-parents can easily find themselves lost in their record collection picking some tracks out to put on to “help them stay in the zone”.
While remote workers can often be more productive than their in-office counterparts, one of the biggest problems remote employees face is burnout – it is a very serious risk to their health. Sure, working from home has been shown to bring an increase in productivity, but it also means that you can find it difficult to disconnect from your work.
Remote workers often find themselves just doing a “little bit extra” before they go to bed, just because they can. As a result, quality downtime away from your workstation becomes rarer and rarer, and mental health certainly suffers as a result. Office employees might stay late, but once they go home, they’re home, and switch off.
A general conclusion would be that though telecommuting is a great option both for employees and companies, you should never forget that working remotely is not the same as not working in an office. You need to come up with a different management system, a reward system and a means of communication that will work for everyone. Putting such a team together requires more time and effort, but if you do it right, it will pay off in the long run.