In 2020, we saw an unprecedented number of companies and industries transition to remote work. Now, an estimated 80% of American companies say that they’ll continue to allow at least part-time remote work even after the pandemic ends. As an employer, you’re probably feeling the pressure of making a decision pretty soon. Will you continue to allow your employees to work from home or will you bring everyone back into the office? One way to come to a conclusion is to look at the benefits of remote work. How has the transition to remote work benefited the company? Are the benefits strong enough to outweigh other alternatives? Read on to learn more about the benefits of remote work as well as potential alternatives that may just be the happy medium you’re looking for.
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Benefits of Remote Work
Many employers have been pleasantly surprised at the smooth transition to working from home. Many employees don’t want to transition back to the office. Let’s take a look at why that is.
No More Commute
Most of us expect an eight-hour workday, but we fail to factor in the amount of time we’ll spend commuting to and from work. For some people, this can add as much as an hour or two to their workday. Working from home eliminates the dreaded commute, which can lower the potential for health issues like depression, high blood pressure, and insomnia.
Better Work-Life Balance and Location Independence
One reason that so many employees love working remotely is that it gives them more flexibility. For example, it becomes much easier to travel when you’re able to stay longer and work from your hotel or someone else’s home. Plus, without a commute, employees can spend more time doing what they enjoy, whether that’s exercising, spending time with the family, or simply sleeping in a little later.
Savings for All
Getting rid of the commute saves your employees money. Getting rid of a permanent office space saves you money. Companies spend a lot on building rent, electrical bills, and more–that is, until everyone starts working from home!
Even if you haven’t given up your office space (many companies haven’t), you’re still saving money on all of those extraneous bills.
One of the biggest reasons that employers were once hesitant to allow remote work is that we assumed productivity would decrease. After all, how can you hold people accountable if you can’t see what they’re doing?
As it turns out, most employees fulfill all of their responsibilities from home just as well as they do from the office. In fact, many employees report feeling more productive because they are less distracted in their home office.
Increased Hiring Opportunities
When you open your company up to remote positions, you’re no longer tied down to candidates who live in (or can move to) your location. This means that you can bring in more diverse new hires. It also means that you’ll have a wider pool of applicants, increasing your chances of truly hiring the best of the best.
Downsides of Remote Work
Nothing is perfect, and that includes remote work. While most have found the transition to be a positive one, not all would agree. At the very least, most of us have come to the conclusion that there are a few downsides to remote work.
Some industries simply don’t translate as well to an at-home work setup. For example, companies that require sophisticated technology may find that trying to put all of that tech in each employee’s home isn’t possible. Some industries have also run into issues with things like security clearance, which doesn’t apply to personal laptops and desktops.
Let’s face it: we’re all tired of virtual meetings. Virtual meetings do make constant remote work possible, but they don’t always go very smoothly. We’ve all been in a virtual meeting only to have our internet connection fail and kick us out!
Plus, many people find that effective communication is difficult over a computer screen. It can be more difficult to tell who wants to speak next and sometimes, it’s even difficult to stay mentally tuned into the conversation when it’s happening on a small screen.
Not Everyone Enjoys It
Not everyone has felt an improvement in their lives as a result of remote work. Some people struggle to create a clear work-life balance when work and life happen in the same place. Others may not have access to a quiet workspace, leading to more distractions that are simply out of their control.
At the end of the day, you may have employees that do want to go back to the office, at least some of the time.
The Hybrid Model: A Happy Medium for Most Companies
Perhaps the best way to make everyone happy is to adopt a hybrid model. That means that while remote work is allowed under certain circumstances, there are times when the office will be open for business.
If you haven’t renewed the lease on your office space but want to try the hybrid model, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of affordable options for in-person work. Take a look at this article on traditional office space vs. shared office space to get a sense of what your options are.
Choose the Best Work Environment for Your Company
We’ve seen quite a few changes to the structure of our society as a result of the pandemic. Remote work is probably one of the biggest changes–and while some people love it, some people are over it. Weigh the benefits of remote work for your company versus the downsides to decide what your next move should be.
If you’re sticking with remote work, you’ll want to stay updated on the latest technology that can keep you connected to your employees. Take a look at our technology section to find out what’s happening in the tech world.