Benefits of Remote Work, Disadvantages, Challenges and Efficiency
The benefits of remote work are significant enough for both the employer and the employee to claim “Telecommuting Has Come To Stay For a Long Time”. Working remotely is not just because of the recent pandemic’s limitation; many benefits lie ahead to show us a long-term perspective of this working method.
In the current article, we discuss the benefits of remote work for both the employer and the employee separately, as well as other issues like the conceptions, challenges, and solutions for teleworking issues.
Definition of telecommuting
Remote Working is defined in the Cambridge Vocabulary as follows:
A situation in which an employee works mainly from home and communicates with the company by email and telephone.
The US Department of Labor defines telecommuting as follows:
Telecommuting, also called remote working, telework, teleworking, working from home, mobile work, remote job, work from anywhere (WFA), and flexible workplace, is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute or travel (e.g. by bus, bicycle or car, etc.) to a central place of work, such as an office building, warehouse, or store.
There are many types of telecommuting; not all of them are 100% remote. For example, some organizations plan to have part of their staff work remotely and others in person. Also, the terms and conditions of telecommuting, jobs are different. One of these criteria is flexible working hours.
Benefits of telecommuting for the employer
This work method’s numerous benefits have led many employers to hire remote human resources and even telecommuting teams. Some of these bonuses are as follows:
- Reducing the organizations’ costs for providing office space because they do not need a centralized location to organize the human resources.
- In remote working, distance is no longer a problem. Thus, employers access a wider talent pool worldwide.
- If the employees are from different parts of the world with varying time zones, they allow the employer to serve the customers on a 24-hour basis.
- Another benefit of telecommuting for employers is eliminating costs related to lunch, dinner, and snacks. The cost of employee transportation is also eliminated in telecommuting.
- As more people tend to do remote work today, organizations can choose the required experts from a broader workforce range.
Benefits of Remote Work for Employees
Undoubtedly, the benefits of telecommuting are no less for employees than for employers. Some of these advantages are as follows:
- Many telecommuters believe that their productivity increases with telecommuting. That means they can do more at the same time.
- Teleworking is associated with more flexibility. As a result, employees can better coordinate their personal life with their work to have enough time for both.
- A 2016 study by the University of Minnesota revealed people who work remotely are more likely to be healthy. For example, being at home means you are less likely to get illnesses such as the flu and other infectious diseases. Avoiding traffic and air pollution can also be other factors affecting mental and physical health.
- Physical presence at work provides fewer opportunities for people to exercise. They also eat less healthy home-cooked food. Fruits, vegetables, and most other nutritious and homemade foods need time to get prepared. Regular physical presence at work and wasted time commuting deprive people of the opportunity to eat healthy food.
- In addition to removing geographical boundaries, teleworking can help eliminate gender, age, and even gaps between different official levels of an organization. Many employees report less gender, religious, age, and cultural discrimination in telecommuting teams.
- Another benefit of telecommuting is the reduction of travel and clothing costs. Who likes to waste a lot of money on a stylish suit to work with?
Disadvantages of telecommuting
Everything has at least a bit of disadvantage along with its advantages. Remote work is also no exception. Although the benefits of telecommuting have led many people to take up these jobs, some drawbacks don’t allow all people to work this way.
- Teleworking is not suitable for all jobs. For example, firefighters, dentists, auctioneers, miners can not work remotely (at least until now)
- Another problem with telecommuting is the elimination of face-to-face interactions. Although a variety of software tools are available on the web for video interactions, the fact that telecommuting eliminates close interaction should not be overlooked. This may make the person feel isolated.
- Creating coordination and cooperation among the workforce of a team from different time zones (and probably works at different time intervals) is a difficult task.
- Considering that continuous and efficient interaction is the key to teams’ success, managing telecommuting forces requires special management skills.
- Usually, in telecommuting, no one checks the presence time of telecommuting staff. Therefore, sometimes the boundary between work and personal life is blurred, the time of sleep and wakefulness is disturbed, and the necessary order to do things is lost.
- Teleworking can be challenging in some cases, especially when troops are from different geographical areas or working at different hours, making access to colleagues and teammates difficult.
- In many cases, telecommuting blurs the line between one’s personal life and career. For example, one may spend all day working or even engaging in personal activities while working. This causes work tasks to be performed as an open-ended activity during the day and affects employee mental health.
Remote work challenges
The benefits of remote work should not lead to overlooking its challenges. Like all jobs and, in general, social activities, teleworking has its difficulties, of which I will mention only a few.
- Time Management
- Prioritizing tasks
- A blurred work-life balance
- Stretching tasks through the whole day
- Interaction with workgroups
- Feeling lonely
- Lack of understanding of others – and even relatives – of one’s working conditions.
- Bad health habits
- Lack of productivity due to laziness
- Cybersecurity issues
- Internet connection difficulties
Increase telework efficiency
The benefits of telecommuting and its limitations and challenges are common to almost all remote jobs. Thus, in this part of the article, we have prepared solutions that will help you strengthen the benefits of telecommuting and reduce its disadvantages and challenges. Turn challenges into opportunities and make the most of your telecommuting by enhancing the benefits of telecommuting and reducing its burdens.
Solution # 1: Have a plan and schedule
Establish a regular work schedule
Usually, having a consistent work routine is a constraint that is also a killer of creativity. For telecommuters, though, not having a consistent work schedule is often a significant strength. However, it is difficult for them to maintain efficiency and motivation without a work schedule. Having the mindset that “as a telecommuter I can spend all day in my pajamas at home and no one can stop me” refers more to a person’s rest time than to work and activity. Of course, it is not a problem to wear pajamas, you can safely wear your favorite clothes and work remotely, but you should have a regular work schedule and separate your rest and work time from each other. You should not forget that telecommuting does not mean working erratically, but it does mean flexibility in the workplace and other things.
What has been said may seem a bit traditional and old-fashioned, but establishing a regular work routine helps a person have a productive day.
One can separate the work and personal lives to achieve the full benefits of telecommuting. We recommend that even if your desk is a few steps away from your bedding, take a shower, wear your daily clothes (not your pajamas), and even apply your favorite cologne before sitting at the desk to start your work. These seemingly mundane and easy things help you to prepare for a working day and, of course, increase your level of consciousness and get out of drowsiness.
Having a schedule to get things done
Scheduling work remotely and outside the traditional workplace structure is like facing a double-edged sword. The telecommuting workforce has more freedom of action and, at the same time, more responsibility. Numerous studies in the field of work have shown that shorter working hours and higher intensity work lead to increased productivity.
Therefore, telecommuters do not need to do their work five days a week for 8 or 9 hours every day. They can do their job in less time and perhaps with higher quality. This means that the telecommuter himself can decide how much time to devote to a particular task. Instead of doing the work at a fixed daily time interval, he may be able to complete his duties in a shorter period of time, and this can help him maintain efficiency. Therefore, scheduling tasks is more flexible for telecommuting. But following a specific program and following it in telecommuting is also necessary and is an essential strength to achieve the full benefits of telecommuting.
Determining individual principles
Without a hierarchical framework of activities, prioritizing tasks and organizing workflows will become problematic. When it comes to organizing skills, one person’s tricks may not work for others. Therefore, it is recommended that each person formulate their own individual principles for working.
One practical point in this regard is to create a list of tasks that should be performed. We recommend that the individual maintain interaction with stakeholders and, in particular, his employer and managers, make his own work structure to achieve work goals. The Eisenhower Box can help people in this regard and be beneficial to them.
We should note that as important as when a job starts and how it is done, it is essential for people to know when to stop a job. Working from home is usually associated with the notion that what people do never ends and work will always continue. Therefore, We advise that you stop working after the end of working hours. It is clear that it usually takes some extra time to complete a complicated task. But as a remote worker, you should be aware that being at home and being able to work full time does not mean that you have to work all day and night. This hurts a person’s private life and causes him to run out of fuel quickly and not have the creativity, energy, power, and motivation for the following tasks.