Remote working is on the rise and more people than ever are turning their backs on traditional working arrangements in favour of working remotely. As of 2019, the number of companies with a remote workforce is getting bigger with 66% of companies allowing remote working and 16% being fully remote.
Thinking about offering employees the chance to work remotely? It’s worth knowing the advantages and disadvantages before doing so. So here’s our list of pros of cons behind the practice.
One positive to working remotely from home that may not be immediately obvious is the amount of money that can be saved from not going to the office every day. A 2016 study by CareerBuilder found that, on average, employees spend more than $3,300 a year on everything that goes into getting ready for, going to and being at work every day.
The study also found that:
Around 50% of those who take public transport to work spend over $25 a week to do so
Whilst 47% of those who drive to work spend between $10 and $25 a week on fuel.
When working from home your travel expenses are reduced to nothing and the temptation to buy coffee or eat lunch out is greatly decreased therefore saving even more money.
It’s not just employees who save either. Many companies choose to offer on-site perks such as gyms and free food, among other things. Having a remote workforce will significantly lower a company’s overhead costs.
Reduced Commute Time
In addition to cutting your commuting costs to zero, working from home also reduces your commute to mere seconds. The average commute is 57 minutes long (and this increases to an average of 74 minutes if you’re a Londoner) meaning working from home could save you an average of 9 hours travel time a week.
This is good news for employers too as a study by AAT found nearly a quarter of participants were putting in an average of 6.7 hours extra per week when they shunned a traditional office arrangement.
Companies that choose not to offer remote working may be limiting their pool of candidates for certain roles. Workers are often asked to relocate in order to secure a position, which may mean giving up the ideal location for the ideal job.
This can be a hindering factor for some candidates as they may not wish to relocate, and so by offering remote working employers can ensure they’re hiring the best person for the role.
Don’t be so quick to hire someone from the right city when you might not be getting the right person for the job.
Flexible Working Hours
Another positive most associated with remote working is the flexibility it affords most workers. Employee retention and engagement rises when a company promotes a healthy work-life balance. Without a fixed schedule, employees can manage their work around other commitments usually involving childcare.
A study by Unison found the number of sick days taken by employees fell from 12% to just 2% when a flexible working policy was introduced.
This is a real positive outcome for both employers and employees. Many employees feel more productive when working alone, as there are fewer distractions. Impromptu meetings or coworkers talking can quickly steal your attention away from the tasks at hand.
The Con: Isolation
Whilst commuting from your bed to your home office may sound appealing, one of the biggest downsides to remote working can be the lack of relationships formed between colleagues due to working in isolation.
Nearly 20% of the global workforce regularly works remotely so isolation and loneliness is a constant threat.
The same report found 21% of remote workers worry about communication and collaboration.
According to a different study, the 2019 State of the Digital Workspace report from Igloo:
70% of remote employees feel left out in the workplace.