Mainspring Insights: Remote Workers
Over the past 5-10 years, the concept of "working remotely" has continued to entertain the minds of more and more employees. Something about the idea of being able to kick back in the comfort of your own home in your pajamas and get your work done really resonates with people. However, does this always make for a productive and happy employee?
Unfortunately, there isn't a clear cut answer and is really dependent on a case by case basis depending on the employee. It takes plenty of organizational and planning skills beforehand to ensure that this endeavor will lead to a better workday for yourself. So before diving right in, here are some pros and cons that some may consider before becoming a remote employee.
Cut the Commute - Many employees may not live within a cushy 30 minutes or less away from their office, especially in larger enterprises. For those employees who live an hour or so away from work can benefit greatly from removing the commute and traffic from their daily schedule; not to mention save plenty on gas. Many people get in that hurried mindset around 4:00 pm to get in the car and get home to end the day, thus dropping productivity greatly in the last hour.
The Comfort of Home - It has been proven by countless studies that employees work to a greater capacity when they are in a comfortable environment - and what is more comfortable than your home office or living room couch? No dress code. No distractions in the office. But this doesn't exactly mean that your home life will not come with a package of distractions itself.
Virtual Communication has never been Easier - Modern technology has made it easier than ever to work virtually by making teleconferencing and communications with coworkers streamlined and efficient.
Your Schedule - You manage yourself at home. Perhaps your coworkers are early risers and you prefer to get your rest and start your workday at 10:00 am and work a bit later into the night, it is up to you to mold your own schedule when you work remotely.
Lack of Collaboration - Many of these cons will be the flip-side of the 'pros' listed above. Though virtual communications is at an all-time level of advancement, you still will be missing out on social interactions with other employees. Additionally, multiple surveys have shown that humans collaborate better when they are physically with each other. Remote workers should make an effort to meet up with their coworkers, managers, clients, etc., as often as possible.
Time Management - Just because you are at home and not in an office setting doesn't mean there won't be distractions. Many parents opt to work from home so they can stay home with their children; but as any stay-at-home parent will tell you, taking care of the kids is a full-time job of itself. It is also very easy to become distracted when you are at home with all of your toys, access to your TV and a kitchen all to yourself. Remote workers need to budget their time wisely and set up their 'working hours'.
Lack of Learning Opportunities - Everyone learns from their environment. All employees learn from their managers and managers learn from their employees. Working from home mitigates the benefits that comes with working in a space that cultivates the benefits of cultural and intellectual diversity. Learning must be self-directed and should be actively sought by the remote worker.