Remote Work: Pros, Cons, and Common Problems


Remote Work: Pros, Cons, and Common Hurdles to Overcome

Working remotely allows employees to complete their daily tasks in an alternative off-site workspace. Remote work can be an effective, and often preferred, substitute to the traditional office space while allowing employees to maintain the roles and responsibilities that their employers require. Remote work enables employees to work from their homes, at co-working spaces, or from abroad.

Advantages of Allowing Remote Work

There are several notable advantages to remote work for both employees and employers. For example, remote work allows companies to collaborate with teams from all around the world, creating a dynamic work environment, while each employee can continue working in an environment that best suits their work style.

How Remote Work Can Reduce Your Company’s Costs

Remote work typically involves fewer overhead costs for the company, because the expenses associated with having and maintaining an office space are either reduced or eliminated by having employees work remotely.

For example, by implementing remote work, Aetna, a large company that specializes in selling insurance, was able to shed 2.7 million square feet of office space, thereby cutting the annual running cost of their company by about $78 million.

Similarly, American Express has saved approximately $10–$15 million annually in real estate costs by allowing their employees to work remotely. Another large-scale enterprise company that functions entirely remotely is InVision, which employs over 700 people. InVision has no permanent office space or long-term leases, but instead hosts an annual conference, thereby providing a proper opportunity for in-person collaboration.

But don’t let the large size of these industry leaders discourage you from implementing remote work at a small or medium-sized business.  Instead, consider the success of this structure on such a large scale as a testament to its feasibility!

As Global Workspace Analytics has recently reported, if a typical business allowed their employees to work remotely for only 50 percent of the time, they could cut costs by around $11,000 per year. This is because by decreasing or eliminating the expense of real estate, companies also save, by extension, on the cost of utilities, property maintenance, custodial services, and supplies. 

Common Problems and How to Overcome Them

There are a few common hurdles and worries that may cause companies to hesitate when considering accepting remote work. Perhaps one of the most common difficulties that companies notice when transitioning to remote work is impeded communication.

Without face-to-face contact with colleagues or clients, free-flowing collaboration or correspondence may become hindered without proper organization. However, this can often be easily remedied by emphasizing video conference calls as opposed to slower forms of communication, such as e-mail.

Another concern that companies may face involves the inability for employers to monitor employees’ productivity accurately. One way to head off this possible issue is to adopt a productivity software such as Trello which allows employers to send out tasks to employees that can then be “checked off” once they have been completed.

Additionally, programs such as Harvest enable employees to log their daily operations and the amount of time they took to complete. Then, employers can track, from afar, areas where employees may need help, further training, or areas in which employees are particularly skilled and efficient.

How Does Remote Work Benefit Employees?

Increasingly large numbers of employees prefer to work from home due to its tendency to better accommodate their schedules without sacrificing their quality of work. Additionally, remote work also allows companies to outsource low-demand jobs or highly specialized positions that may be difficult to recruit for in your town or city.

A recent State of Work Productivity Report showed that 65 percent of full-time employees believed that remote working would lead to an increase in productivity. This notion was supported by more than two-thirds of managers reporting an increase in overall productivity from their remote employers.

Further studies have indicated that 80 percent of employees who have the option to work remotely reported higher morale, 82 percent said it lowered their stress levels, and 62 percent reported a decrease in absenteeism.

Remote work is also an excellent solution to the stress that elderly, injured, or otherwise, less-mobile workers may face in embarking on a daily commute. Remote work allows these employees to avoid this unnecessary strain of commuting to the office, without falling behind on their work.

Eliminating your team’s daily commute is also beneficial for reducing your company’s carbon footprint.

Is Remote Work Right for Your Company?

Remote work is a growing trend in the modern workforce and is a tried and proven alternative to traditional office work. Providing employees with this non-restricting option of completing their regular tasks at the location of their choice will often lead to increased productivity, reduced annual costs, and overall employee satisfaction.

Read about more of the latest trends in the office world in our whitepaper guide, Office Trends to Know.

Cory Porteous
Director of Marketing & Inbound Business Development
Office Interiors

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