I have mentioned before in this blog, and sited several articles, that the office environment is changing quite a bit. One of the ways it is changing is that it is allowing for remote work in industries that may not have made this possible before the advent of video conferencing and emails. Working remotely is definitely not a new concept, but it is becoming more accepted, but is that always a good idea for your company?
With any argument there are pros and cons. One of the pros that comes to mind initially with hiring an off-site staff is the lower overhead costs that can potentially save the company (or be put into programs for the employees). There are also studies showing, again, as I have mentioned in prior posts that more accommodating and flexible schedules can increase loyalty; have hours that an employee needs to work but also be aware that things may come up or be ok with a person working outside the core hours if the work is getting done.
One of the main complaints is the lack of productivity or falling prey to any number of distractions; the fact that a manager cannot be in constant contact is the number one reason people companies are hesitant to allow remote work, even temporarily. As this article also points out, having a split workforce of some employees in office, some not, may have a negative effect on the employees that are left to come into the office and take care of the duties that cannot be handled from outside those four walls or interact with clients more frequently and potentially take on a heavier workload.
The theme, like anything else in life and work, is to weigh your options and create balance both for your company and your employees. If your company is one where people come into the office all the time, perhaps having regular remote employees may not be the best option. That said, if you work in an industry where your staff is at another location working on a project at any given time, or most everything is run through the virtual space, remote work could be beneficial. Same approach for the leadership style of the team, some are ok with conference calls, others need that constant physical presence. The wonderful thing is that the options are there and they can be explored.