Working Remotely Pros and Cons: Should you allow your employees to work from home?

Wondering about benefits and detractors of allowing employees to work from home? Find pros and cons before setting up a policy for your team.

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Thanks to today’s technological advances, supporting a work from home policy is increasingly accessible. It not only lets employers skip on the costs associated with an office, but it also provides the freedom and work flexibility that more and more workers are demanding (especially millennials).

Thinking about working remotely? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to the type of flexible work arrangements you want to offer, if any at all—as U.S. News points out, working from home is filled with both joys and woes. To help make your decision a little easier, here’s a quick breakdown of some common benefits and detractors of working from home and remote work arrangements. Weigh these out, and see if the pros outweigh the costs when crafting a policy for your team.

The Pros of Working Remotely from Home

  1. Slave to what traffic light? When you work from home, the time returned on normal tasks is reduced significantly. Rather than packing your car, a bag, and navigating traffic, all of that is eliminated. Moreover, any need to get properly “ready” for the workplace pretty much goes out the window. While some might still throw proper work attire, the comfort of sweats and a tee shirt is undeniable. Lastly, because you eliminate maybe an hour or more of this preparation time, employees can start their day earlier and enter their focus zone without all of the steps of physically getting to your office.
  2. Productivity gains are massive. Office chats, desk discussions and noisy team lunches can be seriously distracting, particularly if you’re currently working in an open floor plan. A quick walk to the company kitchen could turn into a 15 minute chat that you weren’t planning on, and slow down your workflow. While we absolutely recommend connecting with colleagues, unplanned run-ins can really slow you down. Depending on your employees, you might actually see productivity go up when you allow your employees to work from home.
  3. Save significantly. If you don’t have to shell out the cash for expensive office space every month, think about all the other things you could do for your company (or your profit margins). Cutting out the major overhead that comes with a physical workspace might allow you to offer unique perks like a health stipend, access to a meditation app or a weekly food allowance. The possibilities are endless!
  4. Protect Mother Earth. While this benefit comes from all of the aforementioned categories, employing a remote workforce is great for the environment. On top of saving financially from not opting into a joint workspace, you also reduce consumption, trash production, gas spent getting to and from the office. Prioritize our planet when you build a remote workforce and feel great about your greatly reduced carbon footprint!

The Cons of Working Remotely from Home

  1. Distractions…differ. As wonderful as it is to work from the comfort of your home, distractions come in different forms. While we may get sidetracked by the office pup or cupcakes in the breaskroom, at home we have our laundry, that unfinished art project and household chores to do. As an employer, our bet is that you will have just as many employees vying to come into the office as those who would rather stay at home. One solution? Make your remote working policy optional. 
  2. Decreased productivity. Some people end up getting less done without the direct supervision of managers and the energy of other people tirelessly working away around them. Without the motivations inherent in an office setting, productivity can just as easily decrease rather than increase when you institute a work from home policy. It’s all about understanding your employees and how they work best.
  3. Paying the same amount of money for less people in the office. If you go the optional route—allowing employees to choose whether or not they want to work from home or come into the office—could mean that you end up paying the same amount of money for a resource that’s used by fewer people. However, if certain teams work from home exclusively and others prefer to come in, downsizing (and the hassles that come with relocation) is certainly an option.
  4. Less opportunity for team bonding. If you institute a work from home policy, there will naturally be less face-to-face time between various teams and individual employees on the same team. If relations between teams and team members is already strained, the communication barriers that remote work creates could tip them over the edge.

As you weigh your options in creating a remote work policy, consider the above pros and cons and determine how you think they will impact the success of your team. Employees love options, so if you’re working on retaining your top talent, attracting new candidates, or adjusting to becoming more modern, allowing a policy can definitely increase workplace happiness.

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