In the current climate, with The Great Resignation not yet in the rear view mirror, employers still need to do all they can to attract (and retain) their staff. It’s been fairly widely documented that these days, the ability to work remotely, at least part of the week, is now high up on many jobseekers' lists of qualities that make new employers attractive. So, are you missing a trick?
It goes without saying that remote or hybrid work is only feasible in certain industries and for specific roles. But if allowing some or all of your employees to work from home could be an option for your organization, and you’re not currently doing so, you owe it to them (and your business!) to at least explore it.
The thing is, there are definite pros and cons to the working from home or remotely model - both for the employer and the employee. And you will need to weigh those up if you’re considering allowing WFH in your company.
Let’s take a look at a few of those pros and cons from both points of view.
The pros and cons of working from home
The pros of allowing employees to work remotely for an employer
- You can save a considerable amount of money - less electricity used, less (or even no) office space needed
- You’re demonstrating to your people that you trust them to manage their time and be conscientious
- You will attract new candidates who are looking for a company with a WFH or hybrid policy
- You’ll retain employees who love the idea of working remotely
The cons of allowing employees to work remotely for an employer
- It can be harder to manage and communicate with employees when they’re not in the office
- You will need to rethink your company policies - for example, do you need people to clock in or do you need to implement an online communication policy?
- If you’re hiring people specifically to work remotely, you’ll need to develop a remote employee new hire onboarding checklist
- You’ll need to make sure that remote employees are still engaged and productive and haven’t checked out or are taking advantage.
Now let’s look at the pros and cons of working from home for employees.
The pros of working from home for employees
- They will eliminate their commute on the days that they work remotely, saving them time, stress and money
- They will find it easier to juggle child care, life admin and other necessary tasks
- They will be able to (depending on their role) work at times that are more suited to their lifestyle and peak performance times
- They will (hopefully!) appreciate the fact that you trust them, which will lead to greater employee retention
The cons of working from home for employees
It can be isolating and many people find that they actually miss the daily interaction with colleagues
It can take a willpower of iron to manage their time and make sure they’re not distracted by household duties…or Netflix!
Working from home can lead to a feeling of disengagement and job dissatisfaction if employers aren’t careful to check in with their remote workers on a regular basis
For those with babies or very young children, it can be hard to focus on work if they are combining this with child care duties
These pros and cons of remote work are just the tip of the iceberg, and as we said, there is a lot to think about if you’re thinking about implementing a remote, or partially remote policy in your workplace.
If so, it might also be helpful to consider that there are different ways of working remotely, or non-traditionally, - it’s not all about the kitchen table!
Different methods of non-traditional methods of work
Working from home: Pretty much what it says on the label! This is when your people are, well, working from home, whether that’s from a spare bedroom that’s been turned into an office, a garden office, or the couch.
Remote work: This means working from anywhere outside of the office - not necessarily in the home. For example, your employees could be working from a coffee shop or a co-working space.
Telecommuting: Another word for remote work - telecommuting just means the employee is not commuting in a traditional sense of the word, but working remotely via the internet, phone or other tools rather than traveling to an office or other workplace.
Flexitime: Flexitime, flexible hours, or flexible working is, in a nutshell, allowing employees to come into work early and leave early - or come in late and stay late. The hours worked will be as per the employee’s contract but there will be the option to work them in a manner that suits them rather than the traditional 9 to 5.
The four day week: Also called a compressed work week, this popular media topic is when employees work for four 10-hour days instead of the traditional five 8-hour days. Obviously this comes with its own set of pros and cons and employees may either love the idea or hate it!
What do you need to think about when considering remote work
If your company is thinking about any of the above options there will be a number of things to take into consideration first. For example:
- Do you need to implement new policies?
- Do you have a new hire checklist for remote employees?
- How do you plan to engage with your remote workers?
- How are you planning to get all of your company’s leaders onboard with remote work?
- What are your plans for supporting remote workers? E.g. tools, software, WFH budgets.
The Pros & Cons of Letting Employees Work Remotely: Conclusion
Like implementing any new process, policy or plan, remote or hybrid working needs to be carefully thought through by all members of your company’s leadership team.
However, if employee retention and/or attracting new top talent is a priority, and you’re not already doing so, it would be well worth your while considering an alternative way of allowing your employees to work.