The development of smarter smart devices, portable laptops, and accessible high-speed internet have made working remotely more common.
In theory, it sounds like a dream. Who doesn’t want to work in sweatpants while sipping a latte in the comfort of their own home? Avoiding a daily commute allows more time for family or to pursue that hobby you could never find the time for. Money is saved by fewer transportation costs and less need for business clothing. And instead of sitting in a stale cubicle, you have the option to work in a sun-filled room with the radio turned up to your heart’s desire.
Simply put, telecommuting awards an employee freedom and allows employers to cut overhead costs and increase employee satisfaction.
As we all know, everything has a price, including the benefits of working from home. Before jumping in head first, evaluate the realities of going down this path.
Difficulty climbing the corporate ladder: The adage “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. If you don’t have a close relationship with your superiors, it is easy to get lost or merely become a name or number on a page. A lack of face time can hurt when it comes time for promotions due to your manager not getting visible proof of your interpersonal skills and work ethic.
Death of the sick day: Due to remote work, even when you have a sick day, you are still reachable. Instead of pulling the covers over your head to focus on recovery, you are still fully aware of your phone alerting you to your accumulating unopened emails while your anxiety of falling behind or missing something important begins to kick in. When your home is your office, it may be difficult to establish clear boundaries.
Lack of camaraderie: Spending 40-plus hours working home alone can get lonely and isolating. Communication skills can suffer from lack of use. There is no substitute for face-to-face networking and team building. Feeling connected and comfortable with your co-workers is an important element that fosters effective team work that benefits both employee satisfaction and the client.
Unpredictable productivity: A high level of trust is necessary between manager and employee in regards to productivity when working remotely. Distractions are waiting at home to capture your focus, so it is important to set and stick to performance goals.
The best answer to whether working from home is good for your company is that there is no single answer. It depends on many things, such as the type of work to be done and ease of performing certain tasks remotely, but the primary variable at play here is each individual employee. It is dependent on each person’s position, personality, reliability, and goals. Do they view telecommuting as a way to be removed from the pitfalls of commuting in heavy traffic and spending their day under the harsh glow of fluorescent lighting? Or does the individual enjoy the audible buzz of keyboards and telephones, separation of work and home, and the social aspect that one can only find in the office?
For employers, the key is to have open communication with each employee to determine what works best for the individual, the company, and the bottom line. We offer a variety of services that can help employers and employees make the transition, so contact us to get started.