In recent months many office workers have made the transition from the traditional office environment to working from home, or telecommuting. Interestingly, the number of Americans working remotely prior to the pandemic has been increasing for years. However, with an influx of workers new to the practice – there are a lot of hiccups and roadblocks in the way.

A Look At The Numbers

Since 2005 the number of remote workers in America has grown more than 173% according to a survey completed by Global Workplace Analytics. And yet that is still only 3.6% of U.S. employees who worked remotely at least half the time. Out of approximately 157 million workers in the United States – only about 5.5 million people worked from home regularly pre-pandemic.

Remote Work Pros & Cons

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of remote jobs from the employee perspective. This will provide valuable insight to business owners moving forward into post-pandemic America on how to evolve the workplace to best support their workers.

Working From Home Can Have Its Advantages

Greater Flexibility

Workers are enjoying the ability to make life happen around their work in a more comfortable way than with a traditional setup. Also, some folks are more productive in the very early morning or late in the evening, and working at their home base gives them the freedom to take advantage of that.

Higher Productivity

Being able to work free from the distractions of the office can significantly increase an employee’s productive working time. Without your chatty desk neighbor and the constant ring of phones, many workers are noting a marked improvement in their daily productivity.

No Commute

When your commute consists of hopping out of bed and sitting down at your desk – it’s hard not to see the advantage. Not commuting through traffic into the office every day saves workers significant amounts of not only time but money in regards to gas and public transport costs.

Woman working from home on her computer

But There Are Significant Drawbacks To Working Remotely

Work / Life Balance

It can be hard to separate work time from personal time when working remotely in your home office. Leaving the office at the end of the day is a physical cue that it is now personal time. When your desk is in the next room – it is much harder to pull away effectively.

Security Concerns

When dealing with sensitive client or company data, high-quality digital security is of the utmost importance. At the office, employees are working with computers that are under multiple layers of security protocols. These security features may be unavailable with their home internet connection.

Inability To Use Office Equipment

With the sudden shift to working from home, many employees had to make their home office do with what they already had on hand. Workers often lack basic equipment and tools they would have access to within the office such as copy machines and software. This can severely limit an employee’s ability to complete their day to day responsibility effectively.

Lack Of Communication

Being physically separated from your teammates can have a detrimental effect on collaboration and communication within the company. Many employees say that they struggle to feel truly heard during zoom meetings and feel disconnected from the team overall.

Are You Really working? I will let that be answered on its own.

Disadvantages Of Working From Home

Sacrificing Collaboration

Many team members are voicing concerns that the lack of face to face interactions in a remote team environment is crippling their ability to properly communicate in real-time. In both large and small business models this can lead to a significant overall drop in the quality of work being produced by the team.

Working In A Bubble

When you are semi-isolated and working from home it can be difficult to bounce ideas back and forth effectively in a timely manner. While having the ability to share your screen is a useful and innovative feature, a “quick” zoom call will often be interrupted with poor sound or video quality ultimately making a 15-minute conversation take over an hour.

Look At The Realities

While utilizing full-time or part-time remote employees can save your company some money – in many industries, this is not a sustainable practice. A company’s working environment can be crucial to the overall morale and productivity of the team. From getting and responding to mail in a timely manner to printing documents and making copies – many office responsibilities simply cannot be done from home.

The Best Bet Moving Forward

Many large and small businesses are contemplating having employees come in on staggered shifts to reduce the number of people in the office space at one time. Some employees work from home a few days a week while others work from the office, then switch on designated days. Staggered office usage will allow your employees to utilize office equipment, maintain a working bond with their colleagues, and maintain the essential workflow of your business.

The Law Offices of Sam Maguire, Jr., P.C.

Trusted Local Legal Team

If you have any questions regarding Business Law it is highly recommended that you contact your trusted attorney’s office. The team at The Law Offices of Sam Maguire Jr. P.C. is available to help you navigate this uncertain time.