According to reports, about 4.3 million people in the US work remotely at least a few days of the week. This equals to about 3.2 percent of the total workforce. While the number may not be high, it does show a shift in the right direction since only about 2 million people worked remotely in the country in 2018.
Let’s talk about why more companies let workers to work remotely:
What is Remote Work?
Remote work is a working style that allows employees to perform their work outside of a traditional office.
Some companies allow employees to choose their own hours but some have more restrictions. This is very important because 40 percent of employees feel that flexibility is the top benefit of working remotely.
From a company’s perspective, remote work comes in handy when a company enters a new market. During that time, they appoint a single person to help start the business, which is then most of the times also run from a home office.
How Do Employees Work Remotely?
Employees can design their routines the way they want to. They can work from home, the library or even coworking spaces.
Most companies use special software to ensure work is completed and submitted in a timely manner and there is no communication gap.
However, we must mention that not all jobs can be handled remotely.
Working Remotely Pros and Cons
Working remotely has its benefits as highlighted in this study by Stanford University. Let’s have a look at some advantages and disadvantages:
According to reports, about half of current remote workers intend to continue working remotely more frequently in the future. This means tomorrow businesses will have a difficult time hiring full-time employees to work in a traditional office environment. In fact, about 70 percent of the workforce is expected to work remotely at least 5 days a month by 2025.
Improved Productivity and Environment
Employees who work remotely are 24 percent more productive and happy than employees who have to report to work every day. Since such employees are happier and content, companies that allow remote work tend to have a 25 percent lower turnover.
In extreme situations, such as an outbreak of the coronavirus, more and more companies are deciding for their employees to work from home.
In turn, employers that had practiced this prior to the outbreak, have the upper hand in managing their remote workforce, as well as their productivity.
Remote work allows both employees and employers to save money. The average US employee spends about $10 per day commuting to work. This equals to about $2,600 per year. Not having to report to work allows employees to save this money.
Similarly, remote work benefits employers as well. They need less space to accommodate fewer employees. Utility bills and overheads begin to reduce too. At the end of the day, it gets cheaper to run a business.
Building trust among co-workers
For the same reason, it can be difficult to increase loyalty and build teams since employees have little to no interaction with each other, which causes a lack of trust.
Sometimes, it can be tricky to make an employee understand the message if the person is not in front of you. It is also often seen that an important piece of information never reaches an employee simply because he/she is working remotely and is forgotten about.
Businesses have started to host virtual events to help coworkers know each other and bond. But, they haven’t been able to solve this problem.
Even though the remote worker works for a global company, he/she is a one man/woman show locally, meaning that they need to solve arising issues themselves – from finding and renting an office, to furnishing it, setting up meetings etc.
Working remotely can be tricky since you’re dependent on technology. Employees cannot work if the internet fails or if the computer malfunctions. Similarly, since communication is also internet-based, it can be difficult to send messages if there are issues with the system..
Since remote workers work from home, they are often lonely due to little to no human interaction
About 16 percent of companies only hire remote workers and more are planning to jump the bandwagon. If you want to continue to have the best employees then it’s time to start hiring remote workers.