Maybe you weathered your way through the pandemic successfully even though you had to go remote with all your operations. Now you’re thinking of making that a permanent thing. Or maybe you’re thinking of launching a business soon, and hey, remote seems to have been successful for a lot of companies throughout 2020 and 2021. After all, the general consensus seems to be that most people prefer working remotely.
Plus there’s the whole expense aspect of it — besides paying the salaries of your employees, paying rent on office space is the biggest expense you’ll likely incur as a business owner. Then there are all the utility charges, as well as parking and custodial services. If you’re able to operate remotely and get rid of all that expense, why wouldn’t you?
The reality is that there are benefits and drawbacks to remote offices, and you have to carefully balance your reasoning if you’re going to make the choice that’s right for your company.
Thinking of making yours a remote business in the long term? Here are a few considerations you should keep in mind when making your choice.
Your employees will like having more flexibility…
Yes, this is something very attractive you can offer the people who work for you. They can work from the comfort of their home without the hassle of things like commutes and dress codes. They can even set their own hours on most days and get their work done when it’s most convenient for them. This keeps your employees happy, thus making it easier for you to retain their talent in the years to come.
But remote teams can be difficult to manage
Even if you trust all your employees and you know they’re putting in the time and effort at home, it’s still difficult to keep track of everything that’s happening when it isn’t being done right in front of you. You might not know the status of a project unless you check in with the specific team members who are responsible for it. Additionally, if you aren’t having face-to-face interaction with your team members every day, it can be difficult for you to assess their strengths and weaknesses. You also might find that it’s hard to provide feedback and guidance when you aren’t interacting with somebody every single day.
Employees tend to be more productive…
If you ever felt as if you got more done at home than you normally would at the office, you’re not alone. Most people feel that way! They are able to work at a time when they perform their best, and they don’t have the stress of all the distractions they usually have in the office (including people who stop by their cubicle to engage in idle chit chat).
But they might be less collaborative
For as much as their productivity improves, their collaboration sometimes takes a hit. It can be tough to work on a project with team members that you aren’t seeing in person unless there’s an efficient process in place. If they’ve never met their employees in person, they might lack that know-like-trust factor that’s just as important to have internally within a team as it is with customers. This means they are more inhibited and might not be willing to step outside their comfort zone. Additionally, they might not be willing to step up and take the slack of an employee who is struggling because they don’t have that personal relationship.
Employees might experience loneliness and isolation…
Although it’s nice to work without distractions, it’s hard not to be surrounded by people all day. Many remote workers find that the lack of human interaction gets depressing. Although tools like Zoom and Slack let you communicate with your team members, these are not sufficient substitutions for in-person interaction — and a huge part of being a successful team is the social component. Remote workers have to make a conscious effort to bond with their colleagues, and if possible, they should find other outlets for their social needs beyond work.
But they might be much healthier in other ways
Although the loneliness can be hard on a person’s mental health, remote work tends to be healthier in other ways. People who work remotely have more flexibility in their schedule to squeeze in a workout, and they are at liberty to sleep in a little later or take a nap if they’re lacking in sleep. Working at their house instead of in an office means they can take a short walk between tasks to get their blood flowing, and during their midday break they can prepare a nutritious lunch instead of ordering takeout. The health of your employees should be important to you — healthier employees are happier employees, and they tend to be more productive ones too!