As more and more companies shrink their office space and move in the direction of 100% teleworking for their workforce, more individuals are starting to question whether the advantages of telecommuting outweigh the disadvantages.
In a 2013 Washington Post article about the Pros and Cons of Teleworking, Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo, overturned Yahoo’s teleworking policy, requiring all employees to return to the office. For Mayer, the disadvantages outweighed the benefits for the employer, but what about the employee? For some employers, the solution is a balance between teleworking and working in the office.
Below is a list of the benefits and disadvantages based on the Washington Post article above and Green Job Interview.
- It’s a Time Saver and Reduces Costs
No more sitting in traffic or spending monthly costs on commuting. Now employees can walk a few steps to their computer.
“ I have saved over $600 a month on commuting costs and no longer have to sit in rush hour traffic to NYC from NJ. While the financial savings is great, the time-savings is even greater. Now my commute is 18 steps. This gives me more time and energy to focus on my work. And now I can throw a chicken in the oven right after work and have dinner ready by a reasonable hour, ” said Larry Finkel, Food and Beverage Director of MarketResearch.com.
- Increased Productivity
There are fewer interruptions from co-workers and supervisors. Employees have more time to focus on projects and get them done much faster than they would in the office.
- Location Independence
Employees can live almost anywhere, as long as their employer approves of the move…maybe not Paris, if the company is based in the U.S. Most companies are willing to fly their employees out for meetings as necessary.
- Stay Healthier
Employees are not exposed to sick co-workers who should have stayed home.
Disadvantages of Teleworking
- Employees Feel Isolated and Disconnected from the Company
Many don’t feel connected to their co-workers. There is a lack of social interaction, which could hurt a company’s culture. Plus face-to-face time builds trust, according to Green Job Interview. It’s hard to read a person’s body language from a video conference call.
- No Division Between Work Life and Home Life
Some employees have found it difficult to separate work and home life. Work tends to spill into personal time, which can aggravate an employee’s family life. Plus, the individual feels more stressed, overtired and has difficulty enjoying his/her time when work is done.
“With my work right in front of me at all times, I can take care of a customer work problem late at night and appear ‘on top of it’ to them, but it can also be difficult to let go of the work while I’m home. Many times my partner has come home late and seen me still working and said, “OK, it’s time to put the computer down,” explained Finkel.
- Lack of Discipline and Drive
Although for some employees there is increased productivity, for others, they lack discipline and drive. There is less structure, and no one to look over their shoulder or support their successes. And then there’s the employee who needs the office camaraderie and connection to stay focused. Without it, they lack motivation.
Teleworking is a personal preference. However, some companies create a balance where employees work two to three days from home and the remainder in the office. This balance gives employees the benefit of productivity at home and time to connect with co-workers at the office, contributing to motivation.