Remote work is a rapidly expanding trend that yields benefits for all involved, employees and employers alike. Formerly an essential concession in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work is now a popular and sustainable working model. However, such work also creates various challenges.
Before implementing or rejecting remote work in a workplace, it is important for employers to understand the pros and cons of this model in order to make an informed decision on its implementation.
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Advantages of Remote Working for Employers
The following benefits make the prospect of remote work worth considering:
Lower Operation Costs
One of the major advantages of remote work is the reduction of operating costs for most organizations. With employees working from home and elsewhere, businesses can save on utility bills (electricity, water, and internet), rent, general maintenance, technical maintenance, cleaning, and various other logistical expenses. Lowered operation costs subsequently enable startups and SMEs to increase profitability.
Attract More Talent
Job openings with remote working flexibility tend to produce a greater number of applications. Some applicants are willing to negotiate smaller salaries in exchange for work-from-home freedom. Once hired, managers can draw from and onboard candidates from any location. With that in mind, any gap in skills at a company’s physical location can be solved by hiring a candidate from another state, region, or even country. Taken as a whole, this renders a company’s talent acquisition strategies more swift.
Reduced Absenteeism and Late Attendance
Many workplaces struggle with employee tardiness and absenteeism, which ultimately affects productivity. With work-from-home flexibility, employees better can manage their work and personal life. As such, remote work enables them to reconcile their own time management and output.
Higher Employee Motivation
Reconciling the importance of employee motivation is crucial for productivity and retention. When employees do not feel motivated, it leads to burnout, lower engagement, and high turnover. Remote flexibility resolves many frustrating, distracting, and exhausting factors for employees. Moreover, it creates the sense that the company cares for the health and mental well-being of its employees. Ultimately, this goes a long way toward encouraging employee motivation.
Disadvantages of Remote Working
The following are challenges associated with remote work:
Communication is one of the fundamental challenges for employers to implement under a remote model. Left unchecked, delayed messages and gaps in communication can cost a productive company dearly. Multiple applications like Slack and Microsoft Teams allow employees to communicate, share files, and conduct meetings. However, the experience is not the same as interpersonal dynamics in a physical setting. Leveraging communication software and tools and introducing practices to maximize communication can help bridge this gap.
Many employers are hesitant to embrace remote models due to productivity concerns. While the lack of distractions in a remote setting may increase productivity in some, other employees might fall victim to the opposite – an excess of distractions. Procrastination and poor time management can often negatively impact a team member’s productivity. As a first step, the performance appraisal process should be readdressed to reflect new KPIs for remote resources. Setting a reporting frequency, and training sessions on time management can further aid managers in overcoming productivity issues in their reports.
Protecting a company’s devices and data from online threats is a top priority for businesses. Companies have a protected network on their office premises, but remote employees are more vulnerable to security threats due to the vulnerability of home and personal networks. A global average of 51% of CISOs say that their businesses have been targeted more after enabling remote work.
Businesses will need to take multiple steps like two-factor authentication, protecting files with access via company-provided devices, connecting employees to the company’s protected network via VPN, and conducting training on cybersecurity. Taking these steps can significantly lower looming cybersecurity risks.
Organizations take pride in their company culture, and company culture is often among the main attractions of any company. With remote and even hybrid work, it is difficult to create an inclusive environment that fairly encompasses a company’s values. Ensuring communication and collaboration are maintained can significantly boost employee engagement. Virtual events and team-building activities further help to overcome engagement challenges.
Both merits and disadvantages of remote work are real. However, it is best to be mindful of what a company’s employees would value in addition to the preservation of the benefit structure, outlined in open enrollment communication. Based on a company’s preference, nature of commerce, and priorities, a business can compare the advantages and disadvantages of this model and make the best decision for themselves.