There are loads of articles online about why people should work from home, but if you own a business, you may be wondering what’s in it for you?
Well, there are pros and cons of allowing people to work from home and you should weigh them up carefully before making a decision.
We’ve compiled the most common issues and benefits for you below.
Let’s start with the pros, because, in our opinion, they’re quite persuasive when it comes to the business case for home working.
More Effective Communication In A Team
It takes a little while to get this down pat (see what’s the biggest challenge about home working for details), but eventually, communication within successful remote teams becomes a well-oiled machine.
When people communicate effectively in writing, it’s much easier to be certain that people know what they need to know, when they need to know it.
To get there, focus on the right medium for the message and over communication.
Productivity Goes Up
We know that some people will doubt this but the evidence suggests that around 40-50% of the workforce is more productive than they are in the office and the majority of the rest are as productive.
This is one of the best reasons for remote working and it ought to be obvious that when people don’t commute, don’t spend hours dressing to impress, etc. they are more relaxed and ready to work hard.
Happier Employees (And Thus Better Retention)
Most employees like the ability to work from home (at least some of the time, that’s why hybrid roles are becoming super common) and when they get it, they tend to be happier.
Now, that’s nice and all, but the business benefit isn’t happiness, it’s retention. When people like their job, they’re less likely to quit. And if you can retain staff, you spend less on recruitment.
A BIgger Talent Pool To Hire From
Remote teams don’t have to be based in your town, your county, your state, or even your country. You can hire from anywhere on the planet.
You can also, to some extent, also pay people based on where they are, and that can cut your staffing bill too.
You Can Cut Costs
It’s not just wages that you can save on, recent estimates suggest that an average small business can save $10,000 a year just on the cost of renting office space for each remote worker.
You also save in on-costs which is pretty handy when it comes to budgeting.
The Cons Of Working From Home For Employers
It’s also fair to say, however, that there are some real downsides to the remote working lifestyle for employers.
Not Every Employee Is Suited To Remote Work
Yes, some employees thrive when working remotely. Others hate it. Really hate it. Their productivity dips, they’re lonely and feel isolated and it can make them really miserable.
If you’re moving existing staff to remote working relationships, it can help to offer training and support for the transition to reduce this kind of feeling but some will never effectively make the change.
Communication Between Teams Tends To Suffer
While communication within teams tends to improve when they work remotely, communication between teams can really take a beating.
It’s vital for managers and leaders to pay attention to this and to stress the importance of inter-team communication and to lead by example.
It Can Be Harder To Build Teams
It can also be harder to construct teams when they’re not all in the same room as each other. Sure, this may not always be important (research says that as long as people are professional they don’t have to bond to succeed) but it often is.
You can use our free virtual team building games to help your employees get closer together and it can help to bring them physically together every now and again too.
Managing Employees Is Not Harder But Requires New Skills
Managers who’ve never managed remote teams can sometimes struggle to make the change, it’s important to offer training and coaching on the transition if you want them to succeed.
It’s not harder to manage employees that you can’t see but it takes different skills (see our tips for leaders who manage remote teams for some ideas) and some time to practice them to get them right.
It Can Feel Like You’ve Lost Control Of Your Organization
It might also make you a business owner feel a bit insecure at first. If you’re used to striding into the office and seeing dozens of hard working bodies, and then there are only a couple of people – it can be psychologically traumatic.
You should seek some coaching if you feel like this, it’s something you can work through but it helps to have a friendly ear while you do.
Final Thoughts On Should You Let People Work From Home?
Whether people should work from home or not is a choice that only you can make if it’s your business.
The one thing we’d add in addition to our pros and cons is that the world is changing and more and more people expect to be allowed to work remotely.
You may find that sooner or later, the only way to get the best talent is to facilitate either remote work or hybrid working.