The Pros and Cons of Having Employees Work from Home
To help you determine if allowing your employees to work from home is right for your business, read our list of pros and cons!
Pros of Having Your Employees Work from Home
Potential Cost Savings
According to Global Workplace Analytics, a typical business that allows employees to work from home would save $11,000 per year in expenses associated with having to provide a workspace for an office employee. The average employee is only at their desk 50 to 60 percent of the time, so half of that expenses may not even be utilized.
Higher Focus and Productivity
Many studies have found that people who work from home are more productive than their office-bound coworkers. A two-year study completed by Stanford University found that telecommuters had a productivity boost equivalent to a full day’s work each week and were 50 percent less likely to leave the company. The study did, however, recommended that staff be in the office part of the time to avoid downfalls such as lack of social interaction and difficulty collaborating.
More Time, Less Stress, Better Decision-Making
The commute from the bedroom to the home office takes less than 30 seconds and workers aren’t subject to stressful traffic situations. Having employees who are less stressed and get enough sleep will make your team healthier and more likely to make better business decisions than their higher stress counterparts.
Cons of Having Your Employees Work from Home
Distractions at Home
Depending on your employees’ home-based workspaces, there can be more distractions at home than at the office. For example if their kids are sick, have a dog that needs walked, or have a spouse that’s asking for help around the house, it could be too difficult for them to focus on their job.
Harder to Collaborate
According to Virgin, companies must have specific collaboration habits to ensure the success of dispersed and remote teams. Technology enables better remote collaboration, but it’s still not the same as face-to-face interactions. If your employees are whiteboard artists, animated presenters, or rely heavily on non-verbal communication cues, remote work may not be for them.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
The unfortunate reality of high visibility projects that help bolster a talented employee’s career is that they are often handed out in the hallways or through casual interaction between employees and managers in the lunchroom. This lack of social interaction with remote workers can cause managers to pass over the best choices for promotions and special projects.
The Best of Both Worlds
The best of both worlds, as suggested by the aforementioned Stanford Study, could be a part time work from home arrangement. This allows your business to reap benefits like higher productivity, without losing the team collaboration that is easier to do in-person. This also provides a way for employees who are feeling slightly under the weather to still be effective without the chance of getting others sick or having to take a personal day.
If you’re struggling to find and retain top talent, moving beyond your geographic barrier and hiring remote talent can help increase your talent options. On the other hand, there are some drawbacks if you’re hiring for specific types of work that require an office setting. Whether you allow employees to work from home or not, the pros and cons of any arrangement will stack up differently for your specific business.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.