office telecommuting Via GlobalIt may not be a surprise that many companies are now offering employees the option of working from home rather than at the office. Thanks to ever-increasing technologies, people can now connect from virtually anywhere that has cellular service or Wi-Fi, including their homes. With telecommuting on the rise, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of these work environments and work styles.
Given the option, why wouldn’t employees choose to work from home? It certainly saves commuting time, reducing the need for a vehicle and, therefore, lowering fuel consumption, decreasing the number of traffic jams, and even reducing the number of road accidents. The option of working from home can also reduce the square footage needed at an office significantly, because telecommuting employees do not need a large or permanent office spaces. Instead, all they need are small touchdown space.
Yet, with these pros also come some cons.
Although working from home is shown to make employees happier, there is not a direct correlation with increased productivity. Working at home can be comfortable, but sometimes it can be too comfortable. There are televisions, phones, kids, and pets that can be potential distractions if you choose to work from home. These distractions are troubling for employers since they cannot monitor work and non-work activities. There must be mutual respect and trust between employer and employee for this style of environment to succeed.
Telecommunication can also create a lack of community within the workplace, with fewer employees taking time to talk with co-workers outside of necessary business meetings. Employees can feel disconnected from their place of employment. As a result, they may be more apt to take on other opportunities that may arise, lowering retention rates. Collaboration has been linked positively to productivity and innovation within businesses. With less collaboration, companies may be missing out on profitable ideas.
There is no harm in allowing trustworthy employees to work from home here and there, but employers may prefer to have employees at the office more often than not. Working at home brings unnecessary distractions; even the best employees can be tempted by favorite shows, kids, or pets. Working in the office setting reduces issues with productivity and trust between employer and employee. Not to mention that some of the best ideas come from collaboration, which is not possible if no one is in the office for discussions.
My advice for a successful workplace? Go back to the office!