The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in several key ways. One significant change that was sparked by the pandemic was the shift to working remotely from home. Shifting to having employees work from home was something that most businesses never thought to implement. But many businesses have discovered that it's not only possible to have employees telecommute, but for some, it can be advantageous, too. Explore the pros and cons of having a virtual office to help you decide whether you should transition to a virtual office.
Shifting from in-person to remote work hours can be a challenge for everyone, and there's usually a period of adjustment necessary. Employers need to have some trust and confidence in their employees to remain on task and focused on their duties. Employees need to organize themselves and commit to being trustworthy and focused on their work. Employers will also need to provide the necessary tools and business equipment to enable employees to succeed. These tools likely include software for video conferencing and cloud storage for project management. Newly remote businesses must also focus on communication, especially as everyone is adjusting to the new work situation. Hold daily meetings and make sure that managers are available to answer questions and receive feedback from employees.
Before the Internet, most of the technology that enables remote working didn't exist. Real-time communication via instant messaging and video calls and conferences wasn't an option, and electronic connectivity to work systems wasn't possible. Today, with widespread connectivity and cloud storage, many businesses are able to function remotely with little to no interruption in productivity. Of course, businesses that are focused on physical tasks like manufacturing or retail sales are much less able to function remotely. But as technology continues to expand and evolve, more businesses will likely be able to transition to some degree of telecommuting for employees.
Working remotely can have a number of benefits for both employers and employees. When you work from home, you save time every day by eliminating your commute. This savings benefits both employers and employees, since there's more time to devote to work. Employee retention tends to go up when employees telecommute, as many employees are happier and enjoy greater freedom. Employees are more autonomous, too, which is often a good thing for everyone. Maintaining office space is expensive overhead for a business, so employers will benefit from saving money.
As beneficial as remote working can be, there are some drawbacks to consider. Some people have difficulty staying on task and focused when they don't have direct supervision and colleagues surrounding them. Employees may also have trouble drawing a line between work and personal time and find that they work too much when they telecommute. A lack of social interaction can lead to feelings of isolation, especially for extroverts. And you may experience communication challenges when working remotely with a team. The use of video calls and conferencing, instant messaging apps, and productivity organizers can help with this. And one other drawback is that some companies may opt to pay remote employees less.