Many things have changed in the last couple of years, like the way people socialize, travel, and work. Some changes were temporary and lasted for as long as the COVID-19 pandemic did. However, some changes have become permanent, like the remote work model.
When the pandemic hit, companies scrambled to adapt to the new rules. Many employees started to work from home, job-permitting. The transition from an in-house to a remote working environment was not always smooth, but everyone managed to adapt. Now, with “the new normal”, some companies expect workers to return to the office. Some, however, have adopted the remote work model for good
Like all the work models, working remotely has advantages and disadvantages for both employer and employee.
The Benefits of the Remote Work Model
First, the most obvious benefit is that employees do not need to commute to work, thus saving money and time. Also, the stress associated with commuting disappears. No more traffic jams, transport strikes, or rushing to get the kids out the door in time for school.
The remote work model allows the employees and employers to agree on a flexible work schedule. This allows for a better work-life balance, as people can lead a healthier lifestyle, make time for physical activity, cook healthy meals, and take care of personal stuff.
Employees who work remotely experience a boost in productivity because there are no one-to-one distractions like in the office, work-related stress, or peer pressure.
Companies can hire talent irrespective of their location. This makes for the diversification of the workforce, allows business to hire the best candidates for the job, and enhances diversity and inclusion.
Not All That Glitters Is Gold: The Cons of Remote Work
Working remotely does have some drawbacks. Reduced social interaction is one that not only has an impact on the quality of work, but can lead to feelings of boredom, isolation, detachment, and even, burnout.
Anther consequence of the decrease in social interaction is reduced teamwork. This can lead to delays in deadlines and feelings of frustration, as communication is not as fluid as it can be in the office.
Speaking of communication, sometimes it is simpler to approach someone in person to solve an unimportant issue than sending a message or setting up a virtual meeting. This is where gaps in communication begin to appear.
Some employees find it hard to remain focused and stay motivated when working from home. External factors like household chores or social media notifications can create a distraction, so self-discipline is vital when working remotely.
What About the Hybrid Work Model?
The hybrid work model combines elements of remote and in-office work. Companies like Citigroup or IBM have adopted this model successfully. It gives workers flexibility and allows them to stay engaged and productive. Some companies allow their employees to choose when to go to the office and when to work from home. But others designate specific days for in-office work. According to a 2021 survey conducted by the Harvard Business School, 61% of the professionals surveyed would like to work 2 or 3 days from home because they miss their colleagues but want flexibility.
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