Advantages and disadvantages of teleworking or telecommuting
27 April, 2021
In 2019, 4.8% of employed people in Spain worked from home. This figure increased significantly to 22.3% during 2020.
In the year 2020, teleworking has become a new way of life that, until now, was totally unknown to many of us. At first we may think that teleworking is all about advantages, but not all sectors, companies or workers have the capacity to easily adapt to this model: either because of their lifestyle, because the work sector does not allow remote work or because of the personal circumstances of their employees.
Teleworking is nothing new, as many workers were already teleworking long before the start of the health crisis; gradually, the advent of COVID-19 has led to many companies and professionals having to apply this way of working in order to be able to continue working.
From Viccarbe we have written this post with a series of pros and cons that remote working or telecommuting usually has. However, before going deeper into the subject, we will start with an explanation of what it means to work remotely.
What is remote working?
As explained by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), telework or telecommuting “is a form of work that is performed at a distance, i.e. at a location away from a central office or production facility, with the help of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) which, at the same time, facilitate physical separation and communication”.
Teleworking is a procedure that can be performed on a full-time or part-time basis. There is no defined place to telecommute, so employees can telecommute from a coworking spot, their own homes, restaurants, friends’ or relatives’ houses, libraries, etc. The only requirement for telecommuting is having an Internet connection.
Teleworking allows many professionals to conciliate and organise their time as they prefer, combining household chores, leisure time or caring for their families with their working day remotely, even though this may mean being connected 24 hours a day and on their mobile device.
Advantages and disadvantages of teleworking
There are several benefits and drawbacks to working remotely, not only for workers, but also for companies and even for society in general. If you are still thinking about telecommuting, here are some of the pros and cons:
6 benefits of teleworking
Work-life balance and flexible working hours. With teleworking, the time we used to spend commuting or travelling by car or bus to our office, company or business has been considerably reduced. Now all we have to do is switch on the computer, connect to the Internet and we can work directly from home. All the time we used to spend commuting to the office can be spent on other tasks.
Saving time and money. This second benefit of working remotely, related to the previous one, allows employees to have more time for family, friends or hobbies. In addition, in the short and long term, both the company and the employees will save costs, as working remotely means that they do not have to spend on petrol, office rent, transport, etc.
Pollution reduction. This is an advantage both for companies and their professionals, as well as for the rest of society. Teleworking has been shown to reduce pollution, which is very positive for the environment.
Reduced conflict in companies. Spending so much time in an office or workspace can lead to conflicts with colleagues and bosses. Working remotely considerably reduces such problems.
Improves concentration. Thanks to teleworking we improve our ability to concentrate as we will normally work in environments much more suited to our tastes such as, for example, our own home-office. We will be able to set our workspace according to our needs, which directly influences our wellbeing and concentration during the working day.
It allows you to work from anywhere. As mentioned above, teleworking does not only imply working from home, but we can accomplish objectives remotely from anywhere on the planet from which we can access the Internet.
6 disadvantages of teleworking for employees
Elimination of a good working environment. If we do not meet our colleagues or bosses during the week, talk about life, share or simply have a coffee in the break room, we considerably reduce the kind working atmosphere and camaraderie that existed before.
Emotional disengagement. One of the consequences for employees of not coming to the office, which can be caused by working remotely, is the loss of connection, bond, motivation and enthusiasm for the company. After all, we are social and emotional people, and the fact that our only interaction with work is through technological devices can have a negative influence on our sense of belonging.
Not being able to control the time and work of our employees. With teleworking, company managers cannot measure accurately the hours spent on a task by their employees. For example, a company that is dedicated to customer service, by providing it from home, the manager cannot control one hundred percent how the service has been delivered by his workers.
Lack of collaboration between work teams. Not working in the office also means that collaboration between teams is accomplished distantly. It is not the same to brainstorm in person, with post-its, colours and debates in a collaborative office as it is to hold a videoconference with your colleagues via a computer; the results of the former are infinitely more productive and faster, as well as more satisfying for the members of the team.
Isolation by professionals. A poor working environment or lack of it can lead to employees becoming excluded. Not being able to socialise with colleagues or not being able to share the same space can cause employees to become emotionally isolated.
Reduction of learning. With remote working, employees may end up performing more routine functions. Without collaborative or group learning, the professional can become stagnant in his or her job growth and learning process.
The health crisis has meant that many people have had to change their workspaces for dining tables, home-office desks or even kitchen tables. However, none of this is comparable to returning to the office, collaborating and sharing with our colleagues, creating synergies and environments that enhance creativity and teamwork.
At Viccarbe, as experts in the design, manufacture and distribution of furniture for collaborative offices, we are committed to the return to work in offices. Access our product catalogue where you can find a wide variety of furniture and contemporary design pieces that can help you create a secure office layout where workers can feel inspired, safe and part of a whole day after day.