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How Justified is the Hype About Remote Working Model?

23 April 2023

2020 is the year that will always be remembered – for all the wrong reasons. It was the year when the entire world shut down. Yes, you guessed it right. We're referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even the biggest and most stable businesses struggled to stay afloat. Numerous startups closed for good. People and economies suffered big time. 2020 will always be remembered but never in good words. It left people scared (even traumatized).

However, the only good thing that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic was the widespread acceptance of the remote working model. When the pandemic hit, businesses had two options; they could either go remote or shut their operation down completely. Since the latter wasn't an option, most businesses initiated remote operations where all employees worked from home for 2 years!

Fast-forward to 2023, the pandemic is over, but people don't want to return to physical offices. They want to continue working remotely. Even the employers aren't as stern about working hours and schedules now as they were pre-COVID-19.

Now, one thing that may have crossed your mind several times is "Is the hype about the remote working model really justified?"

Like everything, the remote working model has some benefits and downsides. Let's have a look at these in detail and see if the benefits outweigh the downsides!

The Benefits of the Remote Working Model

Nothing catches pace without strong reasons. The same is the case with the remote working model. Initially, the companies didn't have any other option but to go remote, but now that the pandemic is long over, there have got to be some good reasons why most companies continue to operate remotely when they can restore physical operations.

The answer is simple – the remote working model offers tremendous benefits to not just the employees but to the employers as well, which is why they're both making the remote working model work!

Let's look at the many ways in which employees and employers benefit:

Benefits to the Employees

Increased Freedom and Flexibility

Remote employees enjoy increased freedom and flexibility. They don't have to work a fixed 9 to 5 shift. They can work during hours they feel most productive. They can cater to their family needs better, like picking up the kids from school, ensuring their elderly parents don't skip their medical appointments, etc. while working. The best thing about the remote working model that employees love is the fact that they don't have to take permission from their manager every time they step out of the home.

Saves Money and Time

Since the employees don't have to drive all the way to work every morning, they can save a lot of money that would otherwise go into commute (fuel and transportation costs). Not only this, not having to drive to and from work saves a lot of time which the employees can utilize to do something they usually don't have the time for like exercise.

Less Stress

Having the boss around to take follow-ups every few hours tends to stress employees out. This isn't the case when employees are working remotely. They're more mentally relaxed at home and don't have to stress out about encountering their bosses.

Improved Mood

Working from home means you can sleep a little longer, enjoy quality time with your family, and have fresh home-cooked meals for lunch. All of these play a vital role in improving mood. The better the mood, the better the employees perform.

Better Work-Life Balance

The remote working model has helped employees achieve a better work-life balance. They can enjoy more time with family without having to compromise on work. They're also able to take time out for things they've always wanted to do, like reading, painting, exercising, etc.

Benefits for the Employers

Saves Money

One of the biggest benefits of the remote working model for employers is that it has helped them save money (lots of it!). Employers are able to cut down their operational costs massively. The utility bills have been reduced. With no employees coming to the office, the number of resources being utilized has also been reduced. Many organizations have gone completely remote, which has also helped them save the rent money.

Bigger Talent Pool

The remote working model has given employers access to a bigger talent pool since location is no more a limiting factor. Employees can hire the best talent regardless of their location because the employee doesn't have to come to the office.

Reduced Absenteeism

If an employee feels sick, they usually call the day off as they don't have the energy to drive all the way to work. This means that all the work they were supposed to do on that day gets delayed. The remote working model has changed this. Employees no more call the day off when they aren't feeling the best. Instead, they sleep a little longer and start working when they feel better. They can also rest in between work. This has reduced delays in project deliveries significantly and reduced losses that absenteeism costs a business.

Increased Employee Productivity

When employees are relaxed at home, sleeping well, and in an environment where they're happy, they tend to perform better. Their productivity and efficiency skyrocket, which benefits the business.

The Downsides of the Remote Working Model

The remote working model isn't as good as it appears to be. It has some downsides to it, which aren't too obvious. Let's look at some drawbacks of the remote working model:

Communication is a Challenge

One of the biggest downsides of the remote working model is communication. Communication isn't as healthy as when all employees work in an office. Employees can walk over to their coworker's workstations and clear any confusion that they may have. However, that's not the case with remote working. Employees have to wait for their colleagues to respond to emails or texts, and this causes delays in work. Communication gap also causes misunderstandings and errors in work.

Thinning of the Line Between Personal and Professional Life

While the remote working model makes it possible for employees to spend quality time with their family and do things they like, it also thins the line between personal and professional life. There's no official start and end time and employees are often working way past their shifts. Employers also expect their employees to be available during odd hours, and the employee can't really say no. As a result, their personal life gets affected, affecting their mood and morale.

Higher Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders

Working from home definitely makes employees feel more relaxed mentally, but the remote working model is extremely harmful to physical health if employees don't pay attention to home office ergonomics. Working from home means working from the bed, couch, or dining table for most people. Working in incorrect postures for long hours strains their back, neck, and shoulders, and this puts them at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.

Lack of Social Interaction

Working from home means employees don't get to interact with their fellow coworkers. Lack of social interaction can have an adverse effect on mental health. Humans are social animals, and living in isolation can really impact them. Staying home and not meeting people can also result in social anxiety, which can directly impact employees' confidence when they've got to meet their bosses or colleagues. It's also not the best for their mental health.

Can the Downsides of the Remote Working Model be Addressed and Improved?

The answer to this very important question is YES. Most of the downsides (not all) can be addressed and solved. Some ways to make the remote working model healthier, safer, and more fruitful for both employees and employers are listed below:

Adopt a Hybrid Model

One of the best ways to mitigate the risks associated with the remote working model is to adopt a hybrid model instead of a fully remote one. Make it mandatory for employees to come to the office at least once a week. This would solve the problem of lack of social interaction and improve communication. You can schedule important meetings on days when employees come to the office so there's no misunderstanding or communication gap.

Encourage Employees to Setup Ergonomic Home Offices

Employers should encourage their employees to set up ergonomic workstations at home to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Employers can either provide basic ergonomic equipment like a mouse and keyboard to the employees or offer reimbursement for ergonomic office equipment like ergonomic chairs such as Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair and desk so that all employees are motivated to improve their working conditions.

Set Strict Shift Times

Make it a point that every employee has to complete work within a timeframe so that no employee is working after their shift. Managers should be instructed not to conduct any meetings after shift timings so that employees can better manage their personal and professional life.

Closing Word

Coming to the question, "is the hype about the remote working model justified?" is that YES? The hype is pretty much justified. A remote working model is great. There are some downsides, but it's nothing that can't be addressed. Nothing can be 100% great, but the benefits of the remote working model clearly outweigh the downsides!