More and more companies are allowing their employees to work remotely and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In this article we will analize it's advantages and disadvantages and also provide you with tips to improve your daily experience.
PROS & CONS
Companies all over the country are seeing a growing tendency towards remote working, and with the global pandemic, more industries are adopting this work method to preserve their productivity. But what exactly is telecommuting?
Telecommuting means that an employee has a flexible work arrangement that allows them to work remotely for home, sometimes every working day, sometimes almost every day. This way, they rarely have to commute to work, if they have to at all. Telecommuting is the so-called ‘remote work’.
And even though almost every worker has, at some point, dreamt with this idea, there are some downsides to this practice. Let’s see the pros and cons of telecommuting:
1. No commute: This is an advantage not only money-wise, but also time-wise. Data from the American Community Survey shows that Americans spend, on average, 27.1 minutes commuting each way every day, for a total of 200 hours. So telecommuting will save you loads of time and, also, gas money.
2. Flexibility: Working remotely allows you to organize your daily activities in any way that suits you best, just as long as you keep your productivity level. Telecommuting gives you a lot of flexibility to organize and accomplish all your work and personal tasks the way you want.
1. Isolation: even though working in an office can be less time effective because there are more opportunities to get distracted with co-workers, telecommuting can get lonely sometimes. According to the State of Remote Work Report, the main struggle for telecommuters was isolation.
2. Communication: despite all the means of communications that are available in this day and age, this can still be a challenge for teams working together. Not spending time in the office with co-workers can affect team-building and, therefore, it’s hard on business relationships. Video calls are a good option, but they too require people getting used to the timing and conversation flow, which is very different from the one you can have face-to-face.
Telecommuting, though, is full of benefits both for employees and employers and just by making the correct adjustments, it results in better work conditions for everyone while saving time and money. As many perks as it has, working from home can also be stressful until you get the hang of it. We build a work routine throughout the years and, all of a sudden, it is unexpectedly interrupted: of course we are going to struggle to adapt to a new reality. And that is ok.
We need to transform our house (that we probably share with our families) into an office and, at the same time, we have to keep the balance between work life and personal life but without switching from a workspace to a personal space. It is challenging.
BONUS TRACK: 3 KEYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME OFFICE EXPERIENCE
1. Communicate and Coordinate
It is pretty easy to coordinate deadlines and workload if the team is working side by side at the same place. But when everyone is working from home, coordination and communication between peers or teams can be affected. The best way to avoid miscommunication is by planning a weekly call schedule and sticking to it.
If you are a boss or supervisor, a good practice is to share a call calendar at the beginning of each week, so everyone can plan their tasks around it. If you work in a team, you can set up three calls each week: at the beginning of the week, one to plan your tasks. A mid-week follow-up call and one last call at the end of each week to see where everyone is.
2. Avoid Distractions
The main challenge of working from home is avoiding distractions. Even if you have a separate room set up for that purpose, you are surrounded by all the things you usually do when you are not working, only that now you should be.
Try to remove distractions from your work area: avoid being close to a TV, remove books, and if at all possible, get noise-canceling headsets. If you live with your family, talk to them. Set clear rules.
3. Keep your balance between personal and professional life
Working from home will most definitely blur the line between personal life and professional life. The first thing you need to do is find a physically separated spot to set your work area. As separate as you can. Avoid working from your bedroom or your kitchen or any other area where you’d typically relax or enjoy family time.
If it is within your possibilities, use a spare room. If not, stay as isolated as possible within the area. Another huge thing you need to do is to define clear working hours and set your breaks. Use your regular office hours. Eat lunch at the time you’d normally would if you were in your office. By the time your shift ends, leave the work area as you would leave the office.