Remote work is here to stay, especially with companies like Amazon aiming to add 33,000 new workers to their telecommuting workforce in their next hiring phase. Even with many of these roles being only temporarily remote, the trend of hiring socially-distanced employees is on the rise. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 42 million workers had the option available to them, whether or not they used it.
Do the benefits of working from home outweigh the risks? Here’s a breakdown to help you decide before making the move in your organization.
Pros & Cons of Working From Home: Is It a Good oOption for my Organization?
Pros of Working from Home for Your Organization
Employees who receive the opportunity to work in their own space can enjoy many perks. They include:
- They can work independently, without unnecessary oversight or micromanagement.
- For some industries, a flexible schedule may meet the needs of busy workers with complicated personal lives or other obligations, like service to the country.
- Less time spent commuting and dealing with the minutiae of a traditional office environment can free up hours in a day.
- There’s a significant opportunity to save money on transportation, parking, tolls, and meals.
- A comfortable work environment, designed by the employee, can suit unique ergonomic or health needs.
- There is a possibility of reduced stress from the commute, trying to get to work on time, and dealing with inter-office drama.
- Some employees enjoy more flexibility to spend time with family and provide caregiving duties if needed.
These are just some of the benefits, although individual employees may have their own unique reasons for wanting to work from home.
Cons of Working from Home for Your Organization
Despite the many opportunities for improved work-life balance and a more flexible schedule, remote work arrangements aren’t all positive. It often takes a considerable amount of focus and commitment to make it work.
These are some of the common downsides associated with remote workers:
- It’s harder to keep track of time, which may require more involved time-keeping methods.
- Distance from co-workers could cause employees to feel disconnected, out of the loop, or even lonely.
- If technical difficulties arise, such as malfunctioning WiFi, they may not have access to all of the tools and help they enjoy in the office.
- While there aren’t co-workers around to distract, employees may have trouble getting work done due to home obligations, such as pets, kids, or even neighbors. It’s also easier to stop for hobbies or to do things outside of the work parameters.
- It’s easy for co-workers to blame remote employees when things don’t get done as anticipated since virtual employees aren’t there to account for themselves.
There are other negatives to a remote work arrangement, and those who aren’t very disciplined or who need a strict management style to keep them on task may not thrive in this environment. While flexible work can bring out the best in your team, it’s easy for less motivated remote workers to fall through the cracks.
7 Tips for Working From Home
Whether your entire company is remote as a matter of policy, or you’re only allowing select positions to work from home upon request, these are some of the best practices you can share with your telecommuting teams. And as a bonus tip, you can be proactive about these new working arrangements by collaborating with human resources to put these into your employee handbook.
1: Get more face time with your co-workers
When you take your meetings online with a video conference, make a traditional phone call, or require participation in a Slack channel, it’s important to check in and personalize communication. If there are opportunities for in-person meet-ups, take them.
2: Require professionalism
Working from home doesn’t necessarily equate to a more “casual” environment. Educate your employees on how to keep boundaries between home life and work life, especially in their home office spaces. Equip them with tools that provide privacy, such as headsets for video calls and passwords for online meetings. Communicate any dress code clearly.
3: Be responsive
The home shouldn’t be a place to hide away from work responsibilities, and employees may need to be reminded of the expectations for returning emails and calls. Set an example in your own messages by letting them know you’ve received their communication and will get back to them by a set date or time. This will prevent the temptation for employees to go “off the grid.”
4: Maintain working hours
Not only is it important to be at your desk and available when the rest of your teams are, but employees should feel OK about not working after hours or on the weekends. Let workers know when they are expected to be “on call,” even if they step away to eat lunch or take care of personal business.
5: Set rules with people around you
Boundaries are everything when working remotely. Workers should know what they are allowed to do, not allowed to do, and expected to do. If there are changes in policy for remote teams, let them know the specifics before they break the rules. Hold teams accountable.
6: Encourage dedicated office space
It can be a nice break to get outside and work on the patio, but employees should be in the habit of having business-only workspaces. This builds consistency and can boost productivity. Consider asking your new employees to show off their space virtually before starting.
7: Don’t be too hard on yourself – or others
Even with remote work on the upswing, society has a long way to go before remote work is considered “normal.” Encourage questions when new situations arise, and be ready to yield to people as they adjust to their routine.
Hiring employees who are already accustomed to remote working may give you an advantage when moving your teams to a work-at-home environment. Asking about any remote experience, and tracking the details in your applicant tracking system, can smooth the hiring process and get the best people in their home offices quicker and with better results.
If you’re looking to add new members to your team, be it remote or otherwise, we can help. At Comeet, we have developed a better, faster way to source and hire new employees. Learn more about how you can get started with Comeet today.