In the ever-evolving landscape of modern work, embracing flexibility is not just a trend but a strategic imperative for organisations seeking to thrive. As employers navigate the nuances of flexible and hybrid work arrangements, understanding and addressing key considerations become paramount. Today’s employers need to understand the disadvantages of remote working and ensure they have support mechanisms in place to maximise the benefits of flexible and hybrid arrangements for all.
In this article, I pinpoint crucial factors that organisations should carefully consider before devising support structures.
Eroding the work-life balance
Separating your home and work life can be tricky when your laptop is a permanent fixture on the kitchen table. Blurring the boundary between personal and professional time can lead to exhaustion as staff feel they never switch off. Answering emails or finishing projects outside of normal working hours can inevitably lead to tensions in personal relationships, as well as causing burnout, mental health problems and lower morale.
Loneliness and isolation
One of the main disadvantages of remote working is that employees will experience less human interaction. From a morning greeting to a quick chat by the coffee machine, these personal connections build relationships and teamwork in an office environment. Arranging convenient times to communicate online will limit the level of contact between staff, leading to less problem-sharing and solving. In the long term, employees can easily feel isolated, especially those who live alone.
Drop in productivity
There is a greater risk of distractions when working from home. Dealing with noisy neighbours, delivery people, pets, children and housework can all eat into your working routine. Without the presence of a colleague or manager, staff can slip into bad habits like watching the television or nipping out during the day. Distractions can lead to urgent requests going unanswered, causing costly delays to important tasks.
One of the least recognised disadvantages of remote working is the potential for certain costs to rise. While employees will save money on commuting, businesses still need to maintain a physical office for the days staff are in the office. Depending on your terms and conditions, staff might claim for utility, heating or broadband bills, as well as new technology for the home office. Travel costs can also rise if people need to stay overnight to visit sites and clients or attend events.
How secure are your people’s networks and devices? Accessing your systems from a home broadband connection or local café can lead to potential cybersecurity breaches. Leaving devices in trains and taxis is another way that criminals can open a back door into your network. Extra training and equipping staff with company laptops and phones might be necessary to avoid costly ransomware attacks.
Hidden health effect
The many disadvantages of remote working can contribute to poor health outcomes for employees. While some may thrive with the freedom offered by flexible arrangements, others may lose confidence and make poor life choices. For example, the lack of physical activity is an obvious consequence of not commuting daily to the office. Becoming more sedentary can seriously affect someone’s long-term health and wellbeing. Physical injuries can also occur due to poor posture when working at home, as few people possess quality office chairs and desks.
Need help with remote working?
Businesses can avoid the disadvantages of remote working by reviewing their current practices, and adopting easy-to-follow HR policies and procedures that benefit both the business and your people. If you would like to know more, contact Leonie Goodman Consulting today.