All about telecommuting: What are its advantages & disadvantages in business?
“This is a telecommuting position”. That phrase will be used whenever companies get new hires on board for the near or even distant future. Working from home kept on rising before the Covid-19 pandemic stepped foot on our doorsteps and got unexpectedly boosted due to the current exceptional conditions. As with any major shift in the business world, the telecommuting policy advantages and disadvantages have made their presence known. Some of them affect employers more. Others have a bigger effect on the employees’ lives, and some others will bring about change in other areas. In all this, the big winners seem to be the businesses that have an affinity with technology since ways of virtual collaboration and management will become norms. Fintech companies, project-oriented teams, and hi-tech corporations are likely to find their way out of the labyrinth much easier.
So, without further ado, let us explore all the different telecommuting advantages and disadvantages that the modern workforce will have to take into consideration.
Advantages of telecommuting
Rise of productivity
According to research by Gartner.com, 88% of businesses have supported employees that prefer to work from home during the Covid-19 outbreak. At the same time, the Asian and Pacific business market is as innovative as ever. It introduces a telecommuting policy to facilitate the employees’ work as much as possible.
Of course, all these measures have been taken to protect productivity and smoothen working processes. Forbes published that an American company had witnessed the work performance of their employees, increasing by 47%. As we can see, numbers speak for themselves. Telecommuting takes off the table long hours in traffic, procrastinating talks with colleagues on projects, and sources of office distractions. Therefore, at home, professionals can manage better the workload and devote the earned time to work. The increase in productivity benefits employers since the work is done in a better and more effective way. At the same time, it also functions as a morale builder for employees who successfully complete tasks and projects.
Time-tracking, productivity, and project management tools are and will continue to be integral for the completion and success of projects. With their help, managers and employees will have an overview of time, teamwork, and project costs. This way, they will have the right means to stay financially stable and strengthen their virtual teams.
Better employee retention
A major issue in the pre-COVID era was employee turnover. Especially for people who always wanted to work from home, leaving a position to chase remote opportunities was not unheard of. Under the current circumstances, employees that would otherwise quit, find the right balance between work and personal life through the telecommuting policy. According to Gartner.com, employers believe that 75% of their workforce will ask to work remotely by 35%. WFH helps employees be more relaxed, less stressed, and more content about their jobs. Additionally, companies that have set expense reimbursements for business technological equipment are in an advantageous position. As to the employers, they are saved from the trouble of hiring and training new employees.
Companies can save the environment
This point does not directly affect employers or employees but the environment we live in. No commuting means fewer fuels bought, which results in reduced gas emissions and better chances for the promotion of an eco-friendly work culture. According to the Global Workforce Analytics estimations, greenhouse emissions can be decreased by 54 million tons every year that professionals work from home only half of the workdays. Telecommuting also requires no office spaces, which means fewer energy utilities and supplies.
Reduction of total business costs
In an employee’s mind, saving the environment is a great cause but saving on business costs is godsent. Companies that will not have many physical spaces available to employees can save a lot of money on rent, utilities, renovations, meals, office supplies,, and other variable and overhead costs. According to flexjobs.com, 77% of employers think that the telecommuting policy can lead to a substantial decrease in operational costs.
Disadvantages of telecommuting
In reality, most of the disadvantages of remote working are not unsolvable. They are just remnants of a more traditional approach to working. New technologies can help by streamlining processes, cyberprotect remote workers, and offer a satisfying picture of a team’s work. The only thing it cannot replicate or replace is human interaction, which is the true disadvantage of the telecommuting policy.
Lack of direct team supervision
As expected, the first disadvantage is the most obvious, and it is the one that makes the need for implementation of team monitoring and time tracking tools imperative. Employers, managers, and team leaders cannot actually see what other employees are doing. However, they can have a total overview of their worked time, their deliverables, and maintain a constant conversation.
Reduction in productivity
This specific disadvantage of telecommuting varies per employee, team collaboration, and team management as well. Especially for professionals who cannot work well from home, managers and employers should establish and remind production goals. They should assist teams as much as possible as well as make sure that all projects follow the preset quality standards. Moreover, businesses should fully embrace digital communication tools in order to continue working traditions like brainstorming, project meetings, one-on-one discussions, and growth sessions. All these digitally achieved processes will make sure that innovation and purpose are not out of the picture.
Possible security issues
Cybersecurity has been a crucial parameter of smooth business operations. Companies spend time and build IT specialized teams to protect theirs and their clients’ data from prying eyes. Password, network, browser, and email security should always be taken care of by businesses. When working from home, the game changes. Employees should have a secure Wi-Fi network, use a VPN, and use encrypted communication. Generally, they should be careful about how they deal with data and devices. Generally, it seems like a great time for cybercrime.
A great example is the latest Covid-19 phishing campaign. Hackers lured people with financial compensation and guided them to scam Office sign-in pages. Thankfully, the 19 campaign domains are under control by Microsoft, to protect people worldwide from those hackers.
Loss of work/life balance
Our last telecommuting disadvantage regards mostly employees. Working from home sounds like heaven. However, some people find it hard to separate personal and professional life. The telecommuting policy does not make things any easier since no one will stop you from working all day long. Lunch breaks, short walks around the office, and little snacks were necessary intermissions to rest their minds. So, if you are living alone and working even harder than before the COVID-19 pandemic, rethink your priorities and start taking care of yourself. Eat healthily, drink water, walk around, and generally take breaks to avoid burnouts. Exhaustion is not only happening when you are at the office. It can also plague employees at home too, after long working hours.
On the whole, telecommuting advantages and disadvantages are not the same for every team. Therefore, each business should consider the team’s needs. Employers should tend to employees’ problems, choose the best collaboration and management tools to form the most effective working practices. Then, managing projects and teamwork productivity will seem like a child’s play.