As you are well aware, remote work has taken over the professional world and more companies are embracing the option for employees to work from home.
Some organizations might be going fully remote, while others are adding in the flexibility to be home a few days a week. Either way, it’s been a more progressive shift to remote work policies than ever before.
However, before you get too excited about working remotely, it’s important you understand the pros and cons of remote work first.
|Remote Work Pros||Remote Work Cons|
|Increase in Productivity||Challenging to Stay Motivated|
|Improved Work/Life Balance||Lack of Social Interactions|
|Saving More Money||Communication Barriers|
|More Life Flexibility||Decreased Collaboration|
|Better Personal Health|
Remote Work Pros
Although you’ll see various advantages and disadvantages of remote work, there are a few common areas to call out. First up, let’s talk about the pros of working remotely a bit more.
Increase in Productivity
Although a remote work misconception is that productivity might decrease, it’s been shown that productivity actually improves for employees working from home. Sometimes, that comes as a surprise to organizations.
But working remotely ensures there is no daily commute, fewer office distractions, and more focus in a space people feel comfortable working in. Personally, I’ve been doing my best work when I am remote.
There are many studies about remote work and productivity out there. For example, a study by Standford of 16,000 workers over 9 months found that working from home increased productivity by 13%.
Improved Work/Life Balance
You’ve probably heard of “Work/Life Balance” before, but what does that exactly mean?
Having a healthy work/life balance can mean enjoying work, but still having plenty of time for family, friends, hobbies, and other things you enjoy. This also means getting proper sleep and being able to disconnect from work.
And a good remote company will ensure that even though you work from home, a proper work/life balance is encouraged and maintained.
Saving More Money
Although saving money is a key reason why organizations might encourage remote work, it also is a pro of working remotely for individuals too.
Think about the amount of money you spend for some of the following: your daily commute to work (gas, car maintenance), going out to eat for lunch, mid-day snacks or coffee breaks, etc. It might not appear to be that much at first until you do the math of weekly, monthly, and yearly.
That extra bit of savings can help you save, invest, or use for a personal vacation you always wanted to take.
More Life Flexibility
The challenge with being in the office all the time is there is less flexibility for things that come up in life. Whether that is a doctor appointment, picking the kids up for school, or even getting household chores done.
With remote work, it’s easier for you to quickly step away and get things done and then return to work.
Having that extra flexibility can be a huge relief and also help reduce stress. Naturally, when you work from home, you still need to get your work done and communicate with your team. But generally, you’ll have some freedom to get other things done while being remote.
Better Personal Health
Your mental and physical health are the most important aspects of your life. Feeling happy and healthy is a game-changer for your personal and professional life. I truly believe that better personal health is a top advantage when it comes to working remotely.
For mental health, you should have reduced work stress, more flexibility, fewer managers micromanaging, and can easily step away for work breaks.
For physical health, you may need to be more proactive. It is easy to forget to stretch, work out, or go for a midday walk to break up your day. But because you work from home, you can better set yourself up to get a quick workout in or make a healthy breakfast/lunch.
Remote Work Cons
And now we get to the remote work cons. Nothing is perfect in life, so even though there are plenty of advantages to working from home, we still need to address the disadvantages too.
Challenging to Stay Motivated
As much as productivity generally increases among remote workers, it also can be challenging for remote workers to stay motivated. And typically, this ends up being one of the most common challenges overall for those working from home.
Well, there is no consistent supervision from managers, colleagues are not physically next to you in a collaborative environment, and you may have multiple home distractions. It’s easy to feel too comfortable at home or even begin procrastinating, which starts to affect your work.
Lack of Social Interactions
Isolation and loneliness are often cons of remote work and also a common complaint among remote workers. Oh sure, you may have Zoom Meetings or Slack chat, but that’s not the same as connecting in-person.
For many, work is where a huge portion of social interactions are happening. People build connections, rapport, and become close friends with their colleagues. Research shows that employees say an office environment is where they establish not just work collaborations but also their social ties.
Don’t worry, there are ways to ensure you don’t feel lonely when working remotely. Virtual team building activities are one, but also make sure to have a social life outside of work too.
Even if you are in the office, communication is always an important topic. It’s how you connect with people, how your work gets done, how project deadlines are met, and how people view you. Communication is key!
But often with remote work, communication barriers can happen. You rely on tools like chat, email, phone, and video way more but it can be difficult to express thoughts, get your tone across, or present the right body language.
Since it’s more challenging for people to read your tone or understand your needs, you have to generally over-communicate and understand what channels co-workers prefer for specific items.
What often can happen in a remote work environment is siloes begin. You are in your own individual space or team, which can create fewer interactions among your colleagues and other teams.
You no longer can quickly pop over to someone’s office, have short project huddles, or chat during a lunch or coffee break. And although it may appear as office distractions, it is actually powerful to establish better collaboration and connection.
But collaboration does not have to decrease. There are plenty of remote tools and processes that can ensure collaboration still consistently happens. Plus, you can schedule weekly 1:1s where you connect with different co-workers.
Is Working Remotely Effective?
Like anything else, there are also pros and cons of working remotely. However, the pros of remote work continue to outweigh the cons for both employees and employers. It’s why many organizations are fully remote or hybrid today.
Additionally, most of the cons of remote work can be remedied by some personal effort and working for a remote company that has great processes and tools in place.
Happy Remote Working!