The positive aspects of continued remote work after the pandemic: an evaluation
In light of the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are working remotely to help prevent the virus’s spread. As remote work continues, employers may see the benefits of maintaining a work-from-home situation. For this reason, one has to wonder if working remotely will become the norm rather than the exception.
Advantages of continued remote work
There are a variety of advantages and drawbacks of remote work, so it is important to evaluate them carefully if you are currently in this situation. Some of the advantages include:
Save money on office space
One of the most significant benefits for employers is the money saved on office space and the overhead that comes along with it. When employees don’t always populate the office, employers can potentially save on rent, electricity, heating and cooling, phone lines, and all the other necessities of a traditional office. This is not to say that employers should not include a stipend or payment for employees who will utilize their own resources at home. However, the amount paid to employees is often much less than the cost of office space.
Another benefit of continuing remote work after the pandemic is a decreased number of people commuting on the roadways. On average, employees spend about an hour roundtrip on their commute every day. They could spend that time on work projects and other work-related tasks instead.
You also have to consider the environmental impact of reduced commuting. The fewer vehicles on the road, the better the air quality will be for everyone due to decreased emissions. Less time on the road also decreases expenses on car maintenance, gas, and the like.
Some employees may be more productive when working from home. There are studies that show a 13 percent increase in productivity for home-based employees. The reason behind the increase in productivity can be attributed to fewer days off, more work done per minute, fewer distractions, and fewer breaks needed.
Remote work can also help improve retention rates for a company. This is often due to the increase in employee satisfaction. Many employees appreciate the ability to work from their homes so much that they won’t switch to a job where they must work in an office setting. This improved retention helps to save money in hiring and training costs. In many instances, remote work is beneficial for both employers and employees.
Drawbacks of continued remote work
While there are many positives to remote work, it has its drawbacks as well. Here are some of the negatives:
Difficult to monitor productivity
One issue some employers may have is the inability to monitor productivity the same way they would with employees on site. However, this largely depends on the nature of the business. If the bulk of a company’s work is not automated or logged into a computer system, it can be hard to tell if employees are indeed doing their job without stressful micromanagement. Not everyone has the discipline to complete tasks without direct instruction, which can decrease the amount of work completed in a day. You also have to factor in potential mistakes and the added time necessary to resolve those errors.
Feelings of isolation
Many people are not wired to work without others. Those who are more extroverted may thrive in a typical office setting where they can talk in person with their co-workers throughout the day. If you are in this category of personality types, you may struggle with remote work more than others.
Extra work for employees on site
In some industries, not everyone will be able to take their work home with them. For that reason, some employees may have to remain on-site while others work remotely. Those who work on-site may have to take on added duties, such as delivering supplies or documents for those who work from home. When on-site employees have to do additional work, it makes their day longer, and they have less time to spend on their normal duties.
More and more companies may decide that remote work is a better situation for them and continue after the conclusion of the pandemic and social distancing. COVID-19 may have a lasting impact on how businesses run for years to come.