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Pros and Cons of Keeping Your Business Remote
COVID-19 caused many businesses to move online temporarily. With vaccines available, some companies are transitioning back to the office. Other businesses, especially in construction and other traditional industries, will always rely on an in-person workforce to complete projects and keep things moving.
Yet, about 21% of employed Americans still work remotely as of September 2021, so many businesses are trying to figure out their next move. If you’re a business owner, there’s a lot to weigh here even for a start-up operation. Here are some of the advantages and drawbacks of keeping your business remote.
The Benefits of Remote Work
Allowing your employees to telecommute provides a more flexible schedule. In fact, 89% of people want to work from home at least some of the time. With that in mind, business owners in more knowledge-work-reliant sectors will likely agree to a hybrid or remote model.
Here are some of the main advantages of continuing to work remotely.
1. It Can Save Businesses Money
Renting out an office space can be expensive. Along with the rent, you have to pay for office supplies, like computers. Many entrepreneurs choose to forego the physical office to save on start-up funds, to begin with, so it may be a no-brainer for a tech-focused or small operation.
Business owners can conserve this cash to use for more important business matters. For example, money could go towards advertising or hiring, both of which are critical to a small business’ success out of the gate.
2. It Increases Employee Happiness
Remote work can offer a better work-life balance. With a flexible schedule, employees can easily get errands done throughout the day. For parents, this makes taking the kids to school and activities much more convenient.
Also, employees have more time to spend with family or do something they love. With less stress, employee mental health can improve, making them more productive. With many industries experiencing a labor crunch in the aftermath of the pandemic, reducing employee turnover and enabling employees to get better results can be of great benefit to business owners.
3. You Have More Hiring Flexibility
By offering telework, you can attract a wider talent pool. Therefore, you can find someone who is the right fit for the job. This is especially true if you’re a fully remote business looking to hire without location restrictions. Since location is less of a barrier, the candidate’s qualifications are the main priority.
For growing businesses, it means you don’t need to relocate to find top talent or entice them with special offers. Once you find the best talent, your company will be more productive.
4. You Can Save Time
One of the advantages of remote work is no commutes. So, both entrepreneurs and employees can use this time to get ready for their day and start projects earlier. That flexibility means people can use their best thinking hours for productive work rather than car rides.
Also, working from home means fewer office meetings and traveling. Before a meeting, it takes time for people to gather and settle down, wasting valuable work time. Plus, with modern technology, you can easily video chat with your co-workers — maintaining that sense of connection without all the water cooler chatter.
5. You Can Create Your Ideal Workspace
One of the best things about working from home is that you get to design your ideal office space. You can create a comfortable space that helps you relax, complete with house slippers, your personal stock of teas, and anything else you might be embarrassed to bring into a traditional office space.
Some business owners and employees also prefer a space without complicated social dynamics. With a largely remote workforce, gone are the days of navigating how much eye contact is appropriate during an elevator ride and whether it’s rude to forgo the office birthday cake. Instead, you can focus on engaging in the ways you like — by planning virtual events or participating in work-related chats that cut out social formalities.
The Drawbacks of Remote Work
While remote work has many benefits, it has some cons as well. It may take time for employees to transition into an entirely virtual environment. Here are some of the main disadvantages of working remotely full-time.
1. Communication Is Harder
Even with technology, messages can be misunderstood. Without seeing people’s physical reactions, important information can get misconstrued over email. Plus, technology can sometimes malfunction. So, virtual communication isn’t effective in situations calling for a quick response.
Another thing to consider is the challenge of time zones. While people have the option to work from anywhere, it’s harder to set designated hours.
2. It Can Be Tough to Manage a Work-Life Balance
While employees now have more freedom, it can also cause some issues. For example, you may need to interrupt someone’s personal time to fix an urgent problem. You can navigate the challenges of flexible schedules by setting up clear expectations.
3. Your Workers May Be Less Invested
Without social interactions, some employees may feel less energized. Then their quality of work may decrease due to a lack of motivation. Incorporating team bonding activities, like happy hours, can help with this. Also, ensure everyone is on the same page about the company’s mission statement and goals.
4. It Can Lead to Burnout
Telecommuting makes it harder to turn off work at the end of the day. Also, some employees feel like they’re now on call 24/7, leading to burnout. Burnout is a feeling of exhaustion due to prolonged stress.
When workers are burned out, it can compromise their performance. Look for signs of people feeling tired or expressing negative emotions. Regularly check in with your employees to reduce burnout.
5. There Are More Cybersecurity Concerns
Technology has made our life easier but comes with its own set of challenges. Cybersecurity is a top concern for businesses going digital. When employees use their home Wi-Fi, they are more vulnerable to hackers. Back up your data and encrypt essential information to prevent attacks.
Should You consider Keeping Your Business Remote?
Deciding whether to stay remote or not comes down to personal preference and company culture. Telecommuting can increase employees’ happiness and reduce costs, but it can sometimes make communication harder and lead to isolation. Before making your decision, review this list of pros and cons.
Whatever your choice comes down to, keep in mind that small business loans can help field the added costs of office space, remote work technology, and other tools essential to starting a company in the modern age. Support is here for entrepreneurs pursuing both traditional and remote operations.
Evelyn Long is a writer and editor focused on home building and construction. She is the co-founder of Renovated, a web magazine for the home industry.