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Remote work

December 2, 2015

Advantages: What's great about remote work?

 

Even if the best candidates don’t live nearby, you can recruit skilled personnel from other locations. Assembling a team of senior employees across the country or even the world is feasible, and through a variety of interactive technologies, it doesn’t require "face-to-face" exchange.  Expensive business trips are virtually eliminated, requirements for physical office space are reduced, and employee productivity often increases due to the flexibility that remote work allows.

 

Unlike management fears that employees relax at home, many remote workers reach more goals than office employees.  It may actually be fewer distractions and interruptions at home than in an office environment.

 

Also, while remote working hours may be lower, the ability to check emails and handle multiple tasks at any time often means more productivity from the remote workers.

 

 

The Cons: The challenges of remote work

 

1. The limits of distance communication

Written communication is recognized for creating misunderstandings.  Whether due to an ambiguous tone or poorly formulated messages, communications back and forth for clarification waste time.  The delays in the response time, leading to additional instructions, are another disadvantage.

It is much easier to understand your point of view while reviewing the material directly with someone.  The interactions can be faster and easier in person, and it is also easier to explain and resolve diverging opinions face-to-face.

 

2. A lack of team cohesion

Remote meetings are simply not the same as collaboration in person.  There may be less sense of common purpose, and it may take more time to build trust and work relationships with remote teams rather than a team in person.

 

3. The ownership and accountability problems

The interaction and communication in a small remote team can be confusing on assignments of tasks. The clarification followed requires additional time and effort, which could push employees off-site by making assumptions about the work rather than endure the hassle of emailing and waiting for answers.

 Motivation is another problem.  Some people are simply not suited for remote work.  They don’t have the discipline or the temperament to thrive in a solitary environment.

 

4. No recognition

An additional task that employees must manage offsite is to ensure that management and other team members recognize their contributions.  Extroverted people will have no difficulty speaking, but introverted employees may have difficulties in promoting their work.  It is easier for the eye of a manager to fall on the individual in a quiet room opposed to an individual in a remote meeting.  Remote work environments may be suitable for introverted people, but they can also add stress by requiring a certain level of self-promotion.

 

5. Early Exhaustion

The employees are always on call and may feel obligated to work simply because they can.  They may not realize when to take a break which easily leads to overwork and exhaustion.  Office workers can stay late, but once they return home, they are at home.  For remote workers, home is the workplace.

 

 

Our team must be in the office or remotely?

 

Remote Teams provide strong benefits for businesses and individuals, but the challenges can’t be ignored.  Managers need to weigh both sides, perhaps on an individual basis.  Some workers fit better in an office; others may perform better when there is confidence and they can work at home.

 

Managers should also maintain regular communication with remote employees, not only to ensure they progress, but also to ensure they don’t falter.  Having regular contact is essential and invaluable, but it also creates its own additional challenges.

 

Follow a trend or acquiesce to the demands of employees is not enough.  The decision to hire remote workers requires careful thought to any employer.  What may be good for some may not be good for others.

 

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