The Good, Bad, And Ugly Of Telework

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Jan. 18 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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In today’s ever-evolving work landscape, where employers offer a spectrum of roles, from in-office and hybrid to telework arrangements, exploring your benefits becomes paramount. This article focuses on telework, synonymous with remote work or telecommuting, shedding light on the advantages for employees and employers. Continue reading to discover the top five benefits of working in telework.

What Are The Benefits?

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Better known as work from home, telework offers countless benefits for big businesses and staff. Some key advantages include:

Flexibility: Telework allows employees to create a work environment that suits their needs — from the comfort of their sofa (or spare bedroom). This flexibility extends to work hours, breaks, and even quality time spent with children or loved ones.

Cost savings: Both employees and employers may experience a boost in savings with telework. Employees save on commuting expenses, work attire, and meals. Employers can reduce overhead costs associated with maintaining a physical office space, frivolous events, and more.

Mental health: Remote work can improve work-life balance by reducing workplace stress, which promotes comfort and well-being.

Enhanced productivity: Granting employees the flexibility to opt into telework often results in heightened job satisfaction and, in due course, a notable increase in productivity. This positive shift contributes to fostering a thriving company culture overall.

In fact, a 2020 survey conducted by Owl Labs revealed that 77% of respondents said they would be happier if they could telecommute on an ongoing basis.

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What Are The Disadvantages?

Although telework offers numerous benefits, its success depends on effective communication, technology infrastructure, and a clear understanding of expectations. Combining these factors with a shift in social norms can be challenging for staffers who enjoy going into the office. For the rundown on other disadvantages, keep scrolling.

Distractions at home: Some people consider more quality time with loved ones a significant bonus. Others may find that a home environment can present distractions — from pets, household chores, or other personal responsibilities. These distractions can impact concentration and, over time, bleed into work efficiency.

Professional development: Remote work may prevent your chances for professional development, mentorship, and on-the-fly learning opportunities that often occur in a traditional office setting.

Technology challenges: Dependence on technology for remote work introduces the risk of issues related to internet outages, software glitches, and hardware malfunctions. These disruptions can hinder productivity, and with no IT team in sight, you may struggle to get back on track.

Loneliness: Extroverted employees working from home may experience feelings of isolation and loneliness from time to time if they live alone. The absence of social interactions with colleagues can affect mental health.

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Because telework is a mixed bag, organizations should address these challenges head-on through thoughtful policies, robust communication strategies, and technological solutions to ensure a successful teleworking arrangement. Ready to get started? Begin by scoping out the perfect location in your home. 

“There are five basic things everyone needs to work well: access to natural light, a comfortable temperature, good air quality, comfortable furniture, and a strategy for minimizing distractions,” cognitive scientist Anja Jamrozik told Architectural Digest

Some experts believe that approaching telework with an open perspective is required for success, including Donald Rattner, an architect and the author of My Creative Space

“Creativity can take place anywhere,” Rattner shared with Architectural Digest. “What I think is important is that you designate a space for this creativity.” 

For example, Rattner suggested framing a space such as a kitchen counter or dining table with items such as a small lamp or picture frames and telling yourself, “Let’s get to work.”

Overall, telework offers undeniable benefits. However, it’s paramount to be mindful of its challenges. Striking a balance that accommodates the advantages and disadvantages of telework is crucial for organizations and individuals navigating the evolving landscape of remote work.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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