In 2020, Statista conducted a global survey about remote work. In that survey, 56% of respondents claimed that they’d been working remotely for less than a year. This confirms what most of us assume to be true: the pandemic disrupted the traditional work model and greatly accelerated the shift towards remote work.
The shift to remote work
Ever since the pandemic began, remote work has been on the rise as companies attempt to navigate a combination of social limitations, COVID restrictions, and other factors. Not every company is willing to embrace the remote work model, though. While industry leaders such as Apple and Google have declared that they will switch to hybrid work models after the first quarter of 2022, with many following, others refuse to accept the present reality.
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Regardless of what you think of remote work, it’s here to stay. As such, it’s worth seriously considering whether your company could benefit from adopting a hybrid or remote work model. In this guide, we’ll cover the main pros and cons of remote work, to give you a clear idea of whether the grass may indeed be greener on the other side.
Benefits of remote work
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather three of the most compelling reasons to make the switch to remote work:
Power to the people
For years, the power has been in the hands of the boss, and the boss alone. Or at least, that’s how it would seem to many employees. In a remote work model, that all changes. When employees are trusted to work from home, they have greater autonomy to structure their work day the way they see fit.
This level of freedom not only allows employees to feel as if they can wrestle back control of how they spend their time, but it also helps them to feel more engaged with their work.
Think about it. If you didn’t feel like a hamster running in a wheel, that anyone could step in and take your job at any minute, that you had the power to control your own work schedule – don’t you think that would help you feel a greater sense of purpose when you clock in every day?
Of course, this won’t be the case for everyone, but for many increased autonomy leads to higher engagement. This can have a knock-on effect on productivity, raising output among the workforce.
Lower operational costs
The thought of cutting operational costs is like music to the ears of many CEOs. Costs such as office rent, office equipment, and all the associated utility bills can ultimately eat into the company’s profits. In the remote work environment, you move to a virtual office, with the only recurring cost coming in the form of the software you use to communicate or manage projects.
While it’s unlikely you’ll completely do away with your office space with a shift to remote work, you could downsize the premises, saving money in the process.
Larger talent pool
Having a larger talent pool to draw from can be a huge boon to your recruitment endeavors. If you want to attract top talent, you need to be able to tap into the global market. It’s much easier to do so if you have a remote work infrastructure in place, as the onboarding process will be much more straightforward.
Not only could you entice talent from afar, but you could also hold onto the talent you already have. With a remote work model, you’ll provide your current employees with a compelling reason to stay: flexible work hours to suit their needs.
Drawbacks of remote work
Remote work isn’t all plain sailing, though. Here are some of the main drawbacks companies face when making the transition:
When you switch to a remote work model, you lose something that’s hard to recreate virtually: social connection. Not only can this be detrimental to worker wellbeing, but the isolation created by the distance between employees can hinder effective collaboration.
There are workarounds, of course, such as regular online calls and digital tools like content workflow management software or project and task management apps. But at the end of the day, there’s no real substitute for in-person socialization and cooperation.
You may also find that employees have a hard time feeling motivated when scattered around the world. While some employees certainly will feel more engaged with their work and enjoy their newfound autonomy, others will miss the energy of the workplace and their commitment to the work may suffer.
Plus, unless you use time-tracking or employee tracking software, your employees won’t feel as if their superior is nearby watching over them. That might help them relax, but it also might make them complacent, and less likely to put in as much effort as they would in the office while under supervision.
Employees also won’t have the cue to work of seeing their colleagues plugging away on projects, either, so you’ll have to set up a project management tool to facilitate this and regain employee control at least on a digital level.
Remote work has a lot to offer, and it’s going to become a lot more common in the coming years. As such, it’s inevitable that many businesses will have to follow suit with the likes of Apple and Google to remain competitive.
Make the transition easier for your business by proactively addressing potential issues you may encounter, and maximizing the benefits to the best of your ability.