It’s five minutes to 9:00 AM and your alarm goes off. You roll out of bed and head to the kitchen to start some coffee. Two minutes to 9:00 AM, your eyes are still a bit sleepy, but at least you’ve got a cuppa in your hand. Promptly at 9, you turn your computer on and start your day. Your commute has been less than a minute from your bed to your desk, and you’ve just gotten an extra hour of sleep. This, is remote working.
For the most part, the above scenario sounds like an absolute dream. And for many, it is! But as with anything in life, there are pros and cons to remote working. If you’re trying to make a decision on going fully remote or keeping your office space, we’ve got you covered. But first, why has remote working become so popular anyway?
The rise of the remote worker
Think of it from a business perspective. If you’re a digital marketing agency, for example, and you can get rid of your large, premium rent office space and just rent out a few meeting rooms here and there, take away any fringe benefits like travel cards or bus vouchers, and see increased productivity in your workforce, why wouldn’t you do it? As an added bonus, your employees are happy with their flexible working hours, and are often more likely to stay with the company.
It also means that you’ve just expanded your recruitment pool exponentially. If you are a business completely set up for remote working, like an online marketing company for example, you can easily hire a new employee from anywhere in the world without ever having to physically meet them. Even something like farm management could potentially profit from this, by reaching out to consultants, even internationally, to solve common farming issues.
Now let’s take a look at some of the biggest pros and cons of both sides.
Have you ever been knee deep in a project and a coworker walks up to you to complain about so and so’s smelly lunch? Yes, you can certainly ask them to come back another time, but you’ve potentially lost some concentration power already. Or, you might be equally as enraged and want to complain about it together. Either way, your work has been interrupted and it’ll be harder to get back to.
Working at home means that scenario no longer exists. Sure, you’ll still get your phone calls and emails that might interrupt you, but all the noises, busyness, coffee breaks etc. are greatly reduced.
Cuts commute time
Perhaps our favourite pro of working from home is the zero commute! If you live in a big city, sit in traffic to get to work, or have to push your way onto a crowded train or bus, this one’s for you.
If you were to save about an hour’s commute to and from work by working from home, you’d have an extra 10 hours per week to use however you’d like. That is a serious improvement to your mental sanity, as well as your general life productivity. That extra hour in the morning could mean a morning flow yoga class, and the extra afternoon time could mean more time with your family. Some studies show that you can save thousands of dollars just by ditching a daily commute, and some numbers might even be higher in big cities with expensive public transportation or petrol costs.
Going to your dentist appointment or picking up your kids early from school no longer means having to take a half a day off, necessarily. Working at home lets you run to a local appointment without wasting your afternoon, and you can easily get back to work without having to drive all over the city. Even your work related meetings that are off campus can be attended to with more ease, like if you need to meet with the body corp services association, and it’s easy to run home afterwards.
Comforts of home
No more terrible biscuits or cheap tea that work provides, you can choose exactly what you’d like for your morning tea, every day! You can even spend your lunch break making a delicious lunch, because you have your full kitchen to cook in and all of your ingredients right there.
Feeling left out
This can be a huge con to working at home for some people. You are quite isolated working from home, and can’t be apart of those morning teas or birthday lunches anymore. You might have a hard time feeling connected to a team, especially if everyone else works in the office. If you have a distant or hands off manager, it can feel like you are unsupported as well. Combat this by setting up a clear communication plan with your colleagues and managers.
Merging of life and work
Some people find it hard to find a clear line between work and home as a remote worker. If you don’t have dedicated office space, and often take conference calls in bed, you’re going to struggle even more. We’d recommend not working from home permanently if you don’t have at least a good desk and clear work space.
Some companies combat this issue by requiring a home visit before approving remote working. The visit would be to inspect the work area and make sure there is enough delineation between a work space and living space. It would also include an ergonomic assessment to make sure it’s a healthy work space for you.
The truth about remote working is that you might end up working longer than you usually do. Because there isn’t a commute to worry about or a train to catch, it’s a lot easier to take care of that last email quickly. Setting a strict schedule for yourself can help with this issue.
If after reviewing the pros and cons you still think remote working is right for you, have a chat with your manager and work on a successful remote working plan together. It’s important that you both set expectations, and that you know exactly what you need to work toward each day. Clear communication is key, since you can’t be face to face. Then, you are finally free to enjoy your pajama day every day, and have more free time to do exactly what you want!