While some companies are embracing remote work and offering their employees options to work from home part time or even full time, there are others who are extremely against remote work. Even though working from home offered a new range of possibilities for the way businesses can work and helped reduce costs, it brought challenges and problems that some companies couldn’t deal with, so they decided to bring employees back to the office. In this article, we will discuss the most common reasons why some companies resist remote work:
Remote work creates communication boundaries between colleagues. Employees will not have a chance to gather and talk about interesting ideas or discuss problems and possible solutions. Of course, this is possible over online meeting apps, but it’s much easier to jump from the desk and head to a colleague and start a conversation right away! When employees are at the office, they share interesting ideas and engage in creative conversations and brainstorming sessions which creates an environment of innovation. Besides, by interacting with each other every day, they feel connected and involved, which in turn keeps them motivated and reinforces the company’s culture and values.
Employee Monitoring Difficulty
Employers always want to know if their employees are struggling with certain issues that affect their performance and productivity, since productivity plays a vital role in driving the business forward or pulling it backward. However, remote work makes this task very difficult and time consuming. Employees will lose the opportunity to converse with their managers and colleagues whenever they need help, and employers will not be able to provide real-time face-to-face guidance about issues employees face as they pop up. As a result, the staff will become unguided and disjointed and their performance will definitely be affected.
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Remote Work Does not Fit Everyone
Remote work is not suited for everyone's ability or personality. Some people work better in an office environment and prefer face-to-face interaction with colleagues and managers when needing support with their tasks. Those people who prefer human interaction and like to be surrounded by others will face problems when working in a room alone.
Also, in-home workspace might be inconvenient to work for some people, especially those who are not living alone. Not everyone is capable of shutting out distractions while at home and dedicating their time to work. It’s nearly impossible not to get distracted by kids, spouses and other things to do, which affects employees’ productivity, focus and ability to work. Also, not everyone has the physical space required to enjoy a suitable working area, while offices are designed to offer employees an effective work space with a desk, a chair, meeting rooms and shared spaces for employees to interact.
There’s also the technical problems employees may face with internet connection and with technology, which may not get resolved as quickly as they would in the office.
Employee Isolation and Invisibility
Remote work creates a sense of isolation for individuals who are working from home, which could affect employees’ loyalty towards the company and their enthusiasm for work. Not being physically present at the office not only isolates employees, but also makes them invisible to the employer. Face-to-face communication with managers and executives allows opportunities for growth and promotions. That’s why some companies believe working from the office is a major key to success and not having employees at the office can impact the business in a negative way.
To sum up, the coronavirus pandemic has provided employers with practical insight into how remote work affects their business and employees. They explored its advantages and disadvantages, and based on that, they took the decision of whether to keep remote work or end it and bring back employees to the office. There’s no answer to what’s better, remote work or office work. Each business and each employee is a unique case, and employers will know which working practice is better for the business. Whether your employees are working from office or from home, we at MENTOR can help you measure their engagement and productivity using workforce analytics technology.