Remote work: the pros and cons of working from home

In 2020 we saw a massive shift to remote work. Millions of people all over the world and the companies they work for had to move out of the office. Jobs boards saw their working from home roles double in that year – remote jobs board Remoters saw an increase of nearly 50%. But are the actual benefits of remote working, for both companies and staff, worth it?

What do people think about working from home jobs?

People met the new work at home culture with mixed feelings. Some loved the flexibility, others struggled to balance separating their work and home life. But when you break it down, what are the biggest pros and cons?

Work at home pros

  • Not having to travel to work every day is a big plus. The average commute time in Europe is an hour and a half. Freeing up this time to do other things has made the workday feel a lot shorter for many people.
  • Saving money has been a big thing. Lunches out, office clothes and transportation costs can all add up. Remote working has enabled a lot of a people to save on these everyday items.
  • Location independences means more opportunity. If you aren’t limited by where you live, you can apply for a much wider range of jobs and potentially do something you’re more passionate about.
  • Better work life balance often comes hand-in-hand with not having to commute. Freeing up time and having your breaks at home allows you to spend time with your family during the day. Or you can do household chores on your lunch break and spend more time relaxing during the evening.

Work at home cons

  • Loneliness can be a big con, especially for people who live by themselves. They may rely on the office environment to socialise during the week and miss that human contact.
  • Worse work life balance has been a problem for many people. In theory, working from home jobs sound great. But when your office is in your living room it can be hard to switch off. Many people have struggled to separate work from home, replying to ‘just one more email’ late at night.
  • Family distractions have been difficult for people who are forced to home-school their children. It’s hard to concentrate on your job when you also need to supervise schoolwork and make lunches.
  • Not having a space to work has meant that some people are working in their bedrooms in shared houses. This can be unhealthy because your brain needs to separate your work space from your sleep environment. Some people have reported not sleeping well since they started working remotely.  

How have companies adapted to remote work?

It’s not just employees who needed to adapt to a new work at home landscape. Companies had to move out of the office very quickly when the pandemic hit. A lot of them have coped surprisingly well by rolling out new online communication methods, security protocols and learning tools to help their employees get to grips with it all. When the world returns to normal it seems like few companies are planning to keep their remote work model. But Covid-19 has definitely shifted the balance more towards a hybrid model, with 74% of companies planning to keep at least 5% of their workforce fully remote after the pandemic.

Do business owners like remote work?

As the people who needed to organise their companies’ new remote work strategies, business owners may take a slightly different perspective on working from home jobs – many of them lean more towards preferring a hybrid model with most jobs going back into the office. One thing they’ll need to consider carefully is the advantages and disadvantages or remote work.

Advantages of remote work

  • You can attract better and more talent by widening your net outside of your organisation’s office area. Many business owners have even recruited staff from overseas.
  • Lower business costs are involved in a remote work model. You don’t have to run an office with all the rent, bills and maintenance costs. Some companies even solely hire freelancers, who provide their own work equipment.
  • Productivity is up with people who work at home. This is because staff are more likely to work overtime when they don’t have a long commute and there are less office distractions.
  • A positive impact on sustainability is to be had by cutting down on transport and business costs. If your organisation is committed to becoming carbon neutral, remote work would be a big help.

Disadvantages of remote work

  • Managers have less contact with their teams, which can lead to them feeling disconnected. It’s much harder to promote a strong team ethic or convey instructions clearly without physical contact because humans rely so much on connecting through body language.
  • The struggle to maintain their work culture is problematic – companies often have a strong work culture that’s promoted through training and social events. These are much harder to conduct (and less fun for the employees) if they’re online.
  • Employee visibility is lower when people aren’t in the office. Many managers worry that their staff will slack off if they aren’t being overseen.
  • The hiring and onboarding process can be harder because you don’t actually get to meet the person you’re hiring. It’s a scary thought for most business owners and hiring managers because they’re much more worried they’ll end up offering the role to the wrong person. Luckily, there are companies who specialise in hiring remote workers who can help you here.

Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, there have been challenging adapting to the new corporate landscape. But remote work has its upsides, too – which is good, because it looks like working from home jobs are here to stay! If you’re looking for staff or want advice on how to hire remote workers, get in touch with us.

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