While some companies are finding it more effective to keep employees on site, advances in technology are making remote work increasingly feasible. Many reasons for making workers commute daily no longer apply. Business owners and managers who were previously adamant about working from the office are beginning to listen and adapt.
Since Covid-19 pandemic struck the world, working from home has been an increasing trend. Nonetheless, a few critical questions still linger in the minds of many business leaders and employees as well:
- Is it better to work remotely or in a co-working space or office?
- Which is the best environment for employees to effectively collaborate?
- Can one work productively in a home office?
- Which workspace has more distractions?
In essence, both environments have equally significant advantages as well as unique disadvantages, making it overwhelming to decide the best approach for a business. Today, we take an in depth look at the benefits and opportunities available in both settings. The article also highlights differentiates between a remote job and working from the office to help you decide on the right approach for Roaming Talent jobs.
Remote Work and Working from the Office: What’s the Difference?
For a daily commuter, it might take you thirty minutes to an hour, or more, to get to your workplace. Some people don’t have an issue waking up early and preparing themselves to leave their comforts for office work. Others would say the time spent physically reporting to work is a lot. However, adopting work-from-home strategies is a convenient way to save time for modern-day organizations and employees.
Ideally, face-to-face communication is preferable to strengthen relationships and be productive in an organization. Things feel different when you have a conversation with other employees while sitting next to each other. Home-based jobs also entail communication; it’s just that it’s slightly different. Long conversations happen with video calls, while short ones are easy with slack messages. One major advantage of remote working environments is the ability to stay online to receive calls, interact with a business’s phone app, and attend conference calls. Subsequently, companies engage their workers with live video conferencing and sometimes online game nights to interact more away from the office.
Office work operates on fixed schedules, such that you have consistent alarms and coffee times. When it comes to a remote job, the time to wake up and sit in front of a computer is a bit flexible. Most activities shift to suit employees’ schedules to complete tasks regardless of working hours.
Productivity for Employers and Staff
According to UC Irvine’s study about workplace distractions, a typical office worker gets distracted at work every 11 minutes and it can take up to 25 minutes to get back to work. That can really affect people’s productivity. Needless to say, working from home doesn’t give you the opportunity to interact aimlessly with other employees. The latter significantly boosts their efficiency to work long hours with the least interruption. However, the learning curve to focus at home with the least amount of productivity is still crucial to balancing the two dynamics.
Some employees might struggle with drawing a line between work and comfort when working remotely. In essence, it is easier to pack up for the day and leave when others are leaving an office, but at home, that doesn’t apply. People can work past bedtime hours because they won’t have to worry about getting to work late the next day. Such productivity is good for the company. On the other hand, you can use the time you waste on preparing for and commuting to work to take on other side projects at home. Additionally, the work environment in an office might affect your productivity. You can’t create an optimal workstation amidst noisy colleagues, uncomfortable furniture, and other distractions.
You can earn more when you’re productive in an optimal home environment, but that’s not the main point. Besides the amount of money you get, working remotely saves on commuting costs like money, public transit fare, or vehicle maintenance expenses. When other expenses add up, you’ll realize it is cheaper to prepare food at home than to buy coffee and lunch daily. You can also take on other projects for side benefits.
Remote work also requires top-flight technology to be a success. As an employee, you’ll incur some additional electricity and broadband internet costs. Some companies also have specific telecommunication technology besides monitors and network routers. High-quality home office equipment and collaboration software are also essential home office setups for employees to flourish. That means the company has to budget for extra allowance to provide staff with everything they need to be productive. These and more are some of the costs to think through when working from home.
Ever-diversifying technology forces many organizations to switch to remote work. However, the transition might be overwhelming for those who are adopting it for the first time. A physical workspace gives managers a clear view of what employees are up to, including daily check-ins, etc. They can go up and interact with different teams and track their performances. However, too much interaction can hinder performance. A study published on Business News Daily revealed that employees spend 66 minutes on average talking about non-work-related stuff daily. Moreover, managers were reported to use about 70 minutes discussing non-work topics.
The case is not the same with home based jobs. Managerial distractions are significantly fewer. Leaders don’t interact with their co-workers often, which is both good and bad at the same time. As interactions become fewer, some may feel they’re no longer part of the team. Organizations need critical tools like Asana or Grasshopper coupled with leadership to achieve greater success when they don’t get to monitor their employees. Managers can do nothing much besides trust their staff to perform as they go remote.
Staff Training and Onboarding
New staff benefit more with face-to-face training to integrate into a department. For instance, interns benefit significantly when they learn side-by-side with their trainers, mentors, managers, and peers. The learning curve automatically becomes easier for them, something that they can’t achieve greatly with remote working. The latter makes virtual onboarding a bit more complex, but not impossible. That is where the right technology and telecommunication software come in to set up a remote workstation. New trainees can be acquainted with the current teams as long as managers address logistic issues, limiting virtual training.
Team Building and Working Culture
A company is a collective entity, whether with 50 employees or 500. Work culture and team spirit primarily define the characteristics of an organization. Ideally, one with 50 employees will find it easy to brainstorm sessions with staff in an office because the number is manageable. It would be more productive than cyber white-boarding virtually. Essentially, employees absorb the organization’s culture to benefit from a collaborative team spirit. Employees can also be at per with the company’s transformations when they are physically present in an office.
While not impossible, working from home can also build team spirit, particularly if a company has 500+ employees in different regions. It would be fair to hold mass virtual conferences to include every worker. Otherwise, putting some in the office and some at home would create a sense of involuntary discrimination. If necessary, employees can switch from attending physical meetings to attending virtual ones to avoid missing out.
Remote Working is the Future
Remote offices are becoming a common trend across the globe as major companies gradually do away with office cubicles and conference rooms. For a start, the pandemic has affected many companies, most of which are set to change their work cultures and strategies to adjust to a post-COVID world. Being forced to work from home helped to explore the usefulness and possibility of remote working.
However, remote home offices don’t work for all companies. Some careers, such as production, require employees to be on the ground to physically run operations. Old workers and those who cannot access great broadband will also have a difficult time working at home. Also, the culture effectively spreads in regions with booming telecommunication infrastructure.
What Are Your Priorities?
The reality is that both large and small business owners need more flexibility to adjust to the goals, needs, and challenges of their business. Work situations and productivity spaces have to change depending on business owners’ values and priorities. In terms of productivity, employers and employees both have to weigh what they need to make remote working jobs successful.
The bare minimum of a strong internet connection and a computer is not the full picture. The above insight helps you to understand whether in-office or remote work is suitable for you. At the end of the day, consider the merits and setbacks in terms of convenience, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and productivity.
Once all your priorities are in check, you’ll see the relative value of remote working as an employer or employee. The big advantage is that you’ll be able to personalize your own working environment to what suits your needs. You can add an extra touch of style – something that you can’t achieve on a crowded floor.
Moreover, the office can be as quiet as it should be to minimize distractions and improve concentration. For the sake of higher productivity and exemplary employee performance, businesses and organizations can hire and retain top talents from international pools by using Roaming Talent for remote job search and advice.