The Pros and Cons of Remote Work During COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses were forced to quickly pivot by setting up remote working environments at home. Though many companies and individuals struggled with this at first, we are now seeing the benefits of this as a viable option for 2021 and onward. In fact, 67% of companies who have established a work from home setup expect it to be either permanent or at least long-lasting.

This means that we may be seeing more “remote” job listings in the future. It is crucial, therefore, to be aware of the various pros and cons of remote work. While the pros reveal ways to maximize the benefits of working from home, the cons will give an idea of what employees and employers need to rework.

Let’s dive right in!

An individual working from home on a laptop

The Pros of Remote Work

1. Increased Employee Satisfaction

According to Crain’s 2019 Future of Work survey, 78% of the respondents answered that telecommuting and flexible schedules are the top non-monetary solutions to increase employee retention. These findings align with another study wherein it was found that 54% of employees would leave their current job if they could find one that would offer them more flexibility.

2. Increased Productivity

A Stanford study which involved 16,000 workers over nine months reveals that the work from home setup increased productivity by 13%. Generally, quieter environments are more conducive for focusing. There’s less likelihood for an employee to be distracted by typical workplace noise such as colleagues having a discussion, ringing phones, the comings and goings of people, and so on. This makes a quiet home office one of the best places to do “deep work” that maximizes a person’s cognitive capabilities.

3. No Commute Means More Time

Commuting to and from work runs an average of 42 minutes for Torontonians – this can leave us with very little time (and energy) left for bonding with our families or for personal hobbies. However, a remote setup eliminates the need to commute, thereby freeing up a significant amount of time which can be used to spend with family and loved ones. This then contributes to the psychosocial well-being of employees.

4. Having a Healthier Lifestyle

Remote work offers opportunities for a healthier lifestyle. Employees who work from home are 45% more likely to get better sleep. This correlates to the benefit of having no commute because individuals don’t need to wake up as early. Furthermore, not needing to commute to work also means decreased stress levels which contributes to better quality of sleep.

Working from home also influences our eating habits. Around 42% of employees who work from home are more likely to eat healthier. After all, being at home also means that home-cooked meals are more convenient than being tempted with takeaway options.

In addition, 35% of work from home employees are more likely to exercise. This is because working from home can truly boost an individual’s energy levels due to better sleep and the absence of stressful commutes. Furthermore, exercise machines are conveniently located steps from your home office and can be easily used during breaks.

5. More Savings

Due to the fact that telecommuters do not need to pay for gas or public transportation, they are able to save more money. Working from home decreases the temptations to indulge in costly takeaway or sharing drinks with coworkers after work – all of which adds up in the long run. In fact, it is estimated that telecommuters could save $2000 to $7000 a year thanks to working from home.

A family saving their money

The Cons of Remote Work

1. More Challenging Collaboration

One of the downsides of remote work is the impossibility of being physically side-by-side with colleagues for collaboration. This can be really challenging. For instance, if your team is used to making a mind map together on a white board or maybe creating low-fi app prototypes using paper cutouts, then remote work can pose numerous challenges around these brainstorm sessions.

However, due to better technology and digital solutions, there are a multitude of options to help with team collaboration. You can check out tools like the following:

2. Gaps in Communication

Because of the lack of face-to-face meetings that many employees are used to, gaps in communication can be a problem in the remote work environment. However, with the right communication tools (e.g. Slack, Microsoft Teams) stable internet connection, and proper documentation of meeting points, these gaps can be minimized.

3. Decreased Workplace Social Interaction

For many people, their workplace social life is an important part of their day-to-day. However, these connections can be more challenging to maintain in a work from home setup. To minimize this, it is important for leaders to take initiative.

Organizing online events that allow the team to interact and maintain social connections can go a long way. Even in a work from home setup, events such as interactive games, movie nights, and virtual classes can be easily organized through the creative use of various online platforms.

4. Potential Risks in Cybersecurity

Most businesses had to urgently adopt a work from home setup once COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. This means that many companies weren’t ready in terms of cybersecurity. In fact, in the United States alone, brute-force attacks jumped from 200.000 to 800,000 by mid-March, 2020. This number escalated to 1.4 million by April 2020. Additionally, in recent months, there has been a significant increase in ransomware of up to 105%.

These numbers tell us that cyber criminals are well aware of the vulnerabilities that they can exploit. This is why it’s very important to have team training regarding cybersecurity best practices. An additional step is to have Managed IT Services – this offers you 24/7 professional IT services and round-the-clock monitoring for any incoming threats.

Contact us today to learn more about Managed IT services and other services we have available for your remote working setup.

5. Document Sharing and Management Challenges

Yet another challenge when it comes to working from home is the proper management of documents. The risks related to document management include unauthorized access, permanent deletion, untraceable alterations, and various other forms of human error.

Though these risks are also feasible in the office setting, they are further amplified in remote working setups because of decreased availability of real-time communication.

This is where a digital document management system (DMS) comes in. Integr8’s DMS allows for you to safely store, track, and manage both digital and digitized documents. This system also prevents any unauthorized access or alterations, thereby protecting all of your sensitive information. Furthermore, you will get the benefit of reduced incidents of human error – thanks to the protocols which check for correct and complete information in every document.

Choose What’s Best for Your Business

While we don’t see the trend of working from home slowing down any time soon, we understand that there are still some challenges that businesses are facing with employees working remotely. If you have any questions about the pros and cons of remote work then contact us today. Integr8’s digital document management system and print services will make your remote working experience safer and more efficient!

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