At the rate technology is advancing working from home will soon become the norm rather than a side benefit offered by many companies. It is true that jobs that allow you to work remotely is now offered by many of America’s largest corporations, but the downsides cannot be ignored.
Remote working is now part of the benefits package used to lure top talent. However, the way businesses analyze who can effectively work from home is where the problem begins. How do you recognize employees with self motivating discipline, as compared to those that need office comradeship to get work done?
Regardless if working from home is good or bad, some jobs are just not suitable for this working model. It is practically impossible to let a car mechanic work from home, or can a medical doctor be doing patient diagnosis over the internet.
While there are many reasons not to allow work from home, the advantages cannot simply be wished away. Rather than talk about the the rise and fall of working from home, I am going to focus this article on the reasons why work from home is becoming more effective, and some of the disadvantages employers might have to deal with.
The disadvantages of working from home for employers can be traced to the policy that govern such work and how it is implemented. Without clear and concise guidelines, it is easy to realize why working from home is bad for business.
Advantages of Working From Home
While one can point to many bad things about working from home, the advantages in my opinion far outweigh the downsides. Some of the obvious pros of working from home are:
No Commuting Time Wasted
I have friends that spend about an hour each way commuting to work, everyday. Americans spend countless hours dealing with traffic woes just to get to work. In dollar terms, that is probably at least a Trillion dollars wasted.
An employee that does not have to contend with massive traffic jams will probably be more productive working remotely. When commuting time is factored into the equation, working from home can enable higher productivity.
The Earth Will Benefit
While working from home is bad for business in some cases, it is always good for the betterment of mother earth. If more people worked from home there will be less pollution and fewer office products waste.
Our roads will last longer due to fewer cars. Another side benefit will be less gasoline usage, which is a good thing, due to the humongous environmental destruction that goes into making the fuel that powers today’s automobile.
It is a Good Morale Booster
The policy of remote working can be a morale booster when implemented the right way. Parents with a newborn will appreciate the ability to get work done rather than making hard choices that can lead to less productivity at work.
A valuable employee dealing with childcare issues might decide to stay rather than seek employment with a company that offers remote working possibilities suitable for this modern times. Top firms are now realizing that friendly work from home policies can lead to higher retention rate of talented employees.
Can Lead To Cost Savings
Except in some cases, most office work can be done remotely. A company looking for an accountant in California might find better cost savings hiring one based in a state with a lower cost of living. I have also seen a trend among companies hiring people outside of the country for work Americans used to do.
While I am not in favor of outsourcing American jobs, there is no denying the fact that it can lead to millions of dollars in cost savings. It is also true that a remote worker will not be using any company resources, which ultimately, results in a better bottom line!
Disadvantages of Working From Home
Despite all the accolades attributed to working from home, there are many disadvantages that cannot be ignored. The pros of working from home can be beneficial just like the disadvantages of working from home can lead to devastating productivity results with the wrong implementation. The cons that can be attributed to working from home are:
Truth be told, some people are just not good at self motivating. How many can effectively get work done at home with all the distractions and comfort present? Not many, from the huge data that have been collected about the effects of remote working.
It is not that easy to identify employees that can effectively work from home even with all the distractions. Another thing to consider is the selection process for the workers that get to enjoy this privilege.
Poor Office Collaboration
It is hard to get effective collaboration from employees working from home. The challenges that can result from managing at home workers can lead to lost productivity. It is far easier to see if a worker in the office is getting the job done than someone at home pretending to do work. Having employees in the office leads to better collaboration, and in most cases, much higher productivity.
Company System Can be Compromised
Most of the highly publicized cyber data intrusions can be traced to employee errors. The “bad guys” might find it easier to compromise an employee home computer, which means easier intrusion if he of she works from home. An employee working from home exposes the firm’s computer to greater cyber threat.
The pros and cons of working from home for employers will be different from one firm to another. The list of technology tools to make working from home seamless is long, and most are getting better. It is my believe that in the future, an employee sitting at home can be projected into office settings rather than being physically present.
For a company to get the rewards associated with remote work, the policies and implementation should be carefully planned out. People are now lawsuit happy, which means, everything that goes into determining who gets to work remotely should be clearly spelled out.
The Tips for working from home will not be complete without mentioning the difficulty faced with measuring adequate productivity levels. Some employees are just not suited for working from home and the productivity measurement yardstick should weed them out, eventually.