Working remotely was once only a possibility for a select few jobs. But because modern technology has greatly expanded the possibilities for flexible work, more and more people are able to work remotely, enjoying more flexibility and fewer distractions.
Prior to COVID-19, a Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that, on average, 38 percent of business, finance, and management professionals completed some or all of their work remotely. Today, that number is much higher as many companies were forced to invest in the technology and infrastructure to support remote work during the shutdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many businesses have discovered that employees can be productive and effective while working remotely.
During the COVID pandemic, many employees adjusted to working remotely despite their concerns about enjoying remote work. People appreciate more flexibility when it comes to their hours, and employers are actually starting to accommodate even as the COVID pandemic tapers down. Nearly 7 in 10 hiring managers use workplace flexibility programs to recruit and retain talent, while nearly a third of companies invested in expanding or introducing such flex programs last year.
The freedom and flexibility of working remotely – what’s not to love? There are definitely some benefits to working remotely, but it also has its fair share of drawbacks. If not careful, employees and companies could face potential negative impacts to connection, collaboration, culture, and morale.
What are the advantages of working remotely?
There are both pros and cons to working remotely. Among the advantages are:
Easier to maintain work-life balance
The rigors of work, which can often include long commutes and being away from family during important moments, can compromise your contentment with your personal life. Working remotely at least a portion of the time can make it easier to maintain that work-life balance since you can get more time to be around your family or to manage life admin tasks.
More flexibility in schedule
The schedule of a remote worker can vary, and some jobs still require rigid hours for remote employees. However, many remote workers find that they have more flexibility in their hours, allowing them to work when they’re most productive.
This can be great if you prefer odd hours, or if you want to do chunks of work at different times of day (or night) to make room for other items of importance (e.g. picking the kids up from school, going to the gym in the afternoon, etc.).
How much do you spend on gas or taking public transit to work? How much do you spend grabbing lunch at that café near your workplace? These are a few of the expenses remote employees can save on by working remotely.
What are the disadvantages of working remotely?
Lack of face-to-face meetings
While a lot of people may initially love the idea of avoiding face-to-face meetings, the truth is that in-person meetings are often more effective for having in-depth discussions, especially among multiple people. You can pick up more nuance, develop more meaningful connections, and have clearer conversations in person.
Harder to engage in off-the-cuff collaboration
In an office setting, especially in an open office, it’s typically quite easy to just walk over to a co-worker’s desk or cubicle to chat about a project, or have a quick sync on-site. When you work remotely, time for collaborative conversations has to be scheduled in advance and can result in decreased innovation and spontaneity.
Challenges to productivity
Working remotely does require you to have a certain amount of self-discipline, to ensure that you are using your time well and accomplishing your goals. If you aren’t good at making yourself focus on your work in a home environment, working remotely could be tough for you.
Potential career challenges
Some employees worry that working from home carries a stigma that can have a detrimental impact on their careers. A recent Ernst & Young study found nearly 1 in ten U.S. workers feel they have “suffered a negative consequence as a result of having a flexible work schedule.” For millennials, the stigma may be even harsher. One in six reported being publicly or privately reprimanded, losing out on promotions or other internal opportunities, and losing their jobs entirely.
Overworking could lead to burnout
In the same EY survey, a majority of people are extended beyond the traditional 40-hour workweek. Sixty-seven percent logged anywhere from 2 – 5 additional hours per week, as the line between work and home life gets blurred.
Even as awareness of holistic work practices grows and companies try to optimize for employee happiness, work-life balance has arguably never been harder to achieve than it is now. Having a separate place to work can help to promote a healthy work-life balance.
How to overcome the disadvantages of working remotely?
One of the best methods to overcome nearly all of the disadvantages of working remotely is the use of small office spaces, commonly known as executive office suites. Office suites are ideal for remote workers as it creates a formal separation of home/work space and fosters a work mindset. Most office suites have a range of services available to support a remote worker as much as he or she wants. Some examples of the support available include:
- Phone calls answered by a live person
- Mail and packages can be received while the remote worker is away
- Administrative services such as document creation, copies and faxes are available
- 24/7 access to the office suite
- Business address use (instead of your home address)
- Sense of community with other remote workers and small business owners (as much or as little as desired)
Sunset Office Suites offers a number of different executive office suite layouts and sizes. To learn more about the suites currently available or to schedule a no obligation tour, please call 314-238-1200 or 877-838-1200, or contact us online. We look forward to finding the solution for your needs.