In this article, we detail all the advantages of telecommuting, for both employer and employee. Spoiler alert: there are some disadvantages too.
What are the advantages of telecommuting? Since working from home has become widespread during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, its advantages are regularly highlighted in the media.
This new way of working, made possible thanks to the digitalization of tools and processes, offers employees working from home the possibility of carrying out their missions outside the traditional office given they have good internet access.
A better work-life balance together with health and safety are not the only benefits of telecommuting.
The Advantages of Teleworking for the employer...
#1: Saving money
Having business premises and ensuring their maintenance generates significant costs for companies especially as rents are constantly rising!
Many companies, particularly when not open to the public, would therefore make significant savings by considering teleworking, even on a part-time basis.
#2: Reduction of absence rate and maintenance of activities
Bad traffic, public transport strikes, bad weather. All these events affect the daily life of companies by causing absences and delays. Employees working at home are not affected by this type of incident.
And of course, we cannot omit to mention the example of the recent Coronavirus pandemic, which forced the confinement of entire countries. Thanks to the introduction of remote work, many companies have been able to maintain their activity.
#3: Employee commitment and productivity
Telecommuting offers flexibility and a better work-life balance and job satisfaction for employees. It also proves to be a marker of trust towards them.
As a result, teleworkers feel more considered and motivated, which increases their productivity and their commitment to the company.
#4: Easier recruitment
Some profiles are difficult to recruit. There is even a shortage of applications in some sectors such as IT. It would therefore be a shame to deprive yourself of certain talents, as you would not be able to accommodate them on the company's premises. Some examples are:
- geographical constraints
One candidate seems perfect for your company, but the problem is that he or she lives 500 km away and is not planning to relocate. Why not offer them a full remote contract?
Teleworking remains one of the best solutions to enable certain disabled workers to work in optimal conditions.
#5: A positive image for the company
Working from home contributes to enhancing the employer brand. It reveals:
- the modernity of the company,
- a trend towards employee empowerment and modern management (participative management, cross-functional management, etc.),
- an awareness of environmental issues. Fewer car journeys = less pollution.
Enough to attract and retain the most demanding talents, especially those of Generation Y!
#6: More flexibility
When the issue of home-office is raised, the flexibility it brings to each team member comes up regularly. But let's not forget that the company is also gaining flexibility and mobility!
For example, if for strategic or economic reasons it is necessary to change the location of its head office, remote working allows teams to avoid a relocation that can sometimes be a source of worry and stress.
... and for the employee
#7: Saving time and money
Reducing the time spent in transport and extra minutes of sleep. Time-saving is often the main motivation for employees seeking to work remotely.
In addition, motorists save on fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, which can sometimes be considerable!
#8: Flexibility and mobility
A remote employee generally enjoys greater flexibility in terms of his or her hours and daily organisation.
They adjust their schedule according to their constraints, but also to the times of day when they know they are most productive. As a result, they are better able to reconcile their professional life with their family life, their leisure time and their own rhythm.
#9: Improved concentration
With the growing use of open space, employees suffer from noise and other permanent disturbances.
Teleworking ensures that the professional can focus on tasks requiring intense concentration without suffering from noise or unnecessary exchanges between colleagues.
#10: Reduction of stress and fatigue
Crowded public transport, traffic jams... all this can be avoided thanks to teleworking.
On the other hand, the deleterious atmosphere which unfortunately reigns in some structures proves to be a source of stress. Working at a distance allows you to get away from this environment and reduce contact with potentially harmful employees.
#11: More responsibility, more freedom and hence more well-being!
Teleworking means taking responsibility for your daily organization and the way you approach work.
It results in a real feeling of freedom for employees:
- freedom to organize their working hours,
- freedom to organize their daily tasks,
- freedom to work in a working environment that suits them,
- freedom to dress as they wish, etc.
No more oppressive formalism in the corporate world. Long live well-being at work!
But beware, some pitfalls sometimes blacken this pretty picture. There are also disadvantages of teleworking.
Disadvantages of telecommuting
What are the pitfalls of telework and how can they be avoided?
Lack of connection and isolation
Some employees experience isolation with working from home, which can have a negative impact on their well-being and performance.
On the other hand, some structures suffer from the lack of a link between the remote teams and the company, and this climate affects team cohesion and corporate culture.
It is advisable to plan meeting times between employees, such as afterworks, in order to strengthen team spirit. Other employers opt for mandatory face-to-face days, either on company premises or in a coworking area.
Telecommuting creates another problem: difficult communication within projects outside the office space. How are they progressing? What are the tasks being carried out? Who is working on what? Etc.
The companies that manage efficient telework are the well-equipped and digitalised companies. They are, for example, using video conferencing software. And to increase their remote performance, they also use collaborative platforms.
Teleworking and cybersecurity
The teleworker is even more exposed to IT risks (phishing, ransomware, etc.) than the company employee. And for good reason, home networks are often less protected than professional networks.
- First of all, the use of personal equipment must be avoided at all costs. The computer, for example, must be provided by the company and its system regularly updated by it.
For the safety of your data, it is advisable to use any possible measures. For example, you and your employees can use a password manager such as LastPass that encrypts and manages all your passwords and stores them online. With LastPass, you don’t have to worry about safety as it operates on a zero-knowledge security model. The bonus is that you don’t have to remember all your passwords anymore. The software is accessible from the browser as well as from smartphone.
Insufficient discipline and organisation
Not all employees are housed in the same place. Some feel more lost than others when their manager is not with them to support them.
Discipline remains the key! Why not plan a detailed and well-defined schedule of your working day? For greater efficiency, this programme should take into account moments of optimal concentration, but also small slack spots (e.g. working on more technical subjects in the morning, setting aside specific times to deal with one's e-mails, etc.).
For a better time, task and project management, there is a tool named monday.com that automates all your workflows. It will help your teams save time and increase productivity. With monday.com you can assign tasks, prioritize them, follow the execution process using customizable dashboards and KanbanKanaban view. All this will help your teams stay efficient even working from home.
Lack of visibility and control
For telework to succeed, the company must be able to maintain a certain control over the employees, in order to fluidify the general organization and maintain cohesion between the teams.
It is recommended that remote working should be framed to a minimum, to avoid excesses, but also to avoid sources of confusion for the employee.
This requires the establishment of rules (through a telework charter or a collective agreement, for example): how many days per week are allowed to work remotely? During which time slot should the employee be able to be contacted without fail? Which communication channels should be favoured? Etc.
The fragile borderline between professional and private life
As we have seen, thanks to telecommuting, employees are better able to harmonise their work and private life.
However, many of them deplore the fact that the boundary between the two tends to become narrower when they work from home. The results: concentration problems, overtime that accumulates or lack of "disconnection" with the company.
Once is not customary, the employee must impose discipline and rigour on himself. Hence the importance, as we have already mentioned, of imposing real, well-structured working hours, during which he or she remains 100% focused on the tasks that fall upon him or her. In the same way, it is important to set up (if possible) a dedicated workplace within the home and to establish rules with those close to you so as not to be disturbed.
Telecommuting, good or bad?
In conclusion, setting up telework is a win-win for both the employee and the employer.
However, in order to get the most out of it, it is necessary to proceed in the right way, to anticipate. This is why some "failures" linked to the distancing forced by the confinement should not mar this beautiful picture: most structures and employees were not prepared for it.
But with its democratisation, and therefore better-defined frameworks, there is a good chance that telework will win the hearts of companies.