Over the last few years, especially in the wake of COVID-19, remote working has taken the world by storm. More and more companies are adopting a remote-first working culture, but it isn’t without controversy. Some people love the idea of working from home, while others hate it. Famously, in response to PwC’s announcement that all its accountants could clock off early during the summer months, Lord Sugar blasted the business with a tweet that strongly aired his personal views on remote workers.
So how can something that sounds so good to some, be so bad for others?
Well, let’s take a look at both sides of the coin!
Pros of Remote Working
- You can work from anywhere.
- You can work at any time.
- You can work in your pyjamas.
- You can work in a café (or park, or library…).
1. No Commute Time
The first and most obvious benefit of remote working is that there’s no commute. That’s it! The only thing you need to do when you get out of bed in the morning is put on some clothes. You don’t have to find a parking space or worry about heavy traffic because neither of those things exists in your morning routine. According to a recent report, the average motorist travels around 18.6 miles a day to get to and from work. With the average car costing around 59.6p per mile to own and run, the commute to work can cost the UK worker around £15,496 a year!
Remote working also means that you’ll never again have to find a place for lunch or dinner. When working in the office, every day can be spent trying to find somewhere within walking distance that isn’t too expensive or has good enough food options – or both. And then there’s always the struggle of actually getting to a shop and staring at their choice of food for almost half of your lunch break. And then worrying about eating unhealthy options and your co-workers judging your meal of choice.
2. Comfortable Work Environment
It’s no secret that your work environment is important. It’s where you spend a lot of time, in fact, it’s where you spend on average four to nine hours sitting at a desk, which equates to an average of 67 sedentary days per person each year. So, it needs to be comfortable for you. For ultimate comfort during your working day, you should have the option to adjust your lighting and temperature as well as other features like soundproofing and access to technology. These things are far easier to control when working remotely.
3. More Time to Spend with Family and Friends
One of the most obvious benefits of remote working is that you’ll have more time to spend with family and friends. Having extra time to spend with the people you love will be a big plus for your mental health. You’ll likely also be able to get more work done if there are fewer distractions at home.
4. No Dress Code
We can all agree that the lack of a dress code is one of the best parts of working remotely. You don’t have to worry about what you look like when you go into work each day, because there is no one around to judge your outfit choices! If you want to wear your pyjamas, or a suit and tie, or jeans and a t-shirt—you can do it!
5. Increased Productivity Due to Less Distractions
The distractions that come with working in an office are huge. When you’re at home, there’s no need to worry about interruptions from co-workers or your manager coming around and asking for a status update. Studies show that 66% of employers report increased productivity for remote workers compared to in-office workers and 75% of employees say they’ll be more productive due to reduced distractions.
All of your meetings can also be held via Zoom or Teams, so there are no travel distractions taking you away from your work. You could easily spend all day doing nothing but your job, which means more productivity overall compared with working in an office environment.
Cons of Remote Working
Now that we’ve explored the benefit of remote working, let’s take a look at the downsides to get a balanced picture.
- You’re always at work.
- There are no socialising or team-building events
- It’s difficult separating work life from home life since they’re so intertwined via technology
1. You’re Always at Work
With remote working, you have to be careful with your work-life balance. If you don’t set boundaries for yourself, it’s easy to let your job take over everything in your life. It’s not impossible for a remote worker to keep their head above water, but it does require some planning and self-awareness so that you don’t get burned out by the constant pressure of being at “work.”
The same goes for burnout—it can happen when you’re working from home too much or if work takes over too much of your life (like when everyone else is going out on Friday nights). If this is a concern for you and there are people who depend on you financially or emotionally, then make sure they know what kind of schedule they should expect.
Also remember: many companies will offer benefits like flexible hours and hybrid options because employees need these kinds of accommodations in order to stay healthy (and be productive) while doing their jobs remotely. So if you feel these options should be available to you, perhaps it’s time for a conversation with HR.
2. There’s No Socialising or Team Building Events
One of the biggest challenges of working remotely is that you don’t get to meet people in other departments or outside your own team. This can make it harder for you to feel like part of the company. You also miss out on office parties and other social events where people from different departments come together and bond over work-related topics.
Plus, if you work from home most days, then there’s no one stopping by your desk for random conversations about anything from sports teams to weekend plans.
There are other ways remote workers can build friendships at their companies, though: email, messaging channels and video calls are all great ways for two people who aren’t physically nearby each other still form strong connections over shared interests or professional goals. However, if you miss the camaraderie of an office environment, remote working might not be for you.
3. It’s Difficult to Separate Work and Home Life
Let’s be honest here: it’s hard to separate work and home life when you’re working from home. Especially if your working space is also in a shared living space. For example, if your ‘office’ is in the kitchen but your partner wants to cook a meal or the kids keep popping in every five minutes because they’re thirsty. This can make it seem like there is no distinction between your personal time and your professional time. It can also feel like there isn’t much of a physical separation between where you live and where you do business—which some people prefer as it makes them feel more connected with their family, while others find it distracting.
The argument for the pros and cons of remote working is a hefty one and ultimately, the answer to whether remote working is for you or not, boils down to whether you enjoy your time at home more than the social aspect of being in the office. If you like relaxing in your comfies and having your personal fridge a few steps away, remote working is the life for you! But if you like catching up with colleagues and the social aspects of a working life away from home, then the office might just be the best option.