Working remotely was an idea that came about after the year 1999, and that has increased in popularity as cell phones, computers and other digital media developed. In 2020, almost a third of all workers began working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, remote work has only grown more popular as many businesses and companies realized that many workers are able to get their job done just as well from the likes of their home.
Remote work is one of the top qualities that employees today are searching for when they consider different opportunities; nearly 70% (according to one survey) said they would rather get a new job than go back into the office. While not all companies have jumped on board with fully remote work, many companies are offering hybrid models where employees are only required to be in office a few times per week or month. Depending on the company, there are many different expectations from what working from home should look like (from tracked computer movements to completely flexible schedules to everything in between, etc.)
Why is remote work in such high demand, and are there any downsides? As the American workplace continues to adapt to this new trend, here are some of the pros and cons that are being debated.
Happier, More Balanced Life
When the topic of remote work comes up, most people claim they’d be “much happier,” to do their job from home. On several accounts, it has been found that that is indeed true.
In 2022, Future Forum did a study that compared and scored full-time remote employees to hybrid and full-time office employees. The study showed that full-time remote employees scored higher in feeling better about stress and anxiety, feeling more satisfied with their work-life balance, feeling more satisfied with their work environment, and also felt that they had more flexibility.
A 2022 peer reviewed journal study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health showed that a group of bank employees completed the same tasks both remotely and in-office. The remote employees were found to be happier overall.
Saves Time & Money
When employees have the opportunity to work from home, it allows them to save themselves time, money, and stress. By eliminating a commute to work, the average worker saves themselves 72 minutes a day. This will then cut the cost of commutes down and save employees money on gas for their vehicle, as well as potential vehicle maintenance.
Improves Mental Health
Along with a more balanced work life comes improved mental health. When workers are happier and in healthier work environments, it can improve mental health as in-office stressors are no longer an issue. At home you are not being distracted by other employees or getting involved in office gossip, and you’re in a quieter environment that allows for better focus and concentration. CoSo Cloud created a work study that surveyed remote employees; it showed that 53% of remote workers reported less stress when working from home.
When employees work from home, their schedule, work style and pace become much more flexible. Not only are they able to (usually) work their hours when it works best for them, but they can do it from bed in their pajamas or at their favorite local coffee shop if they want to. Remote employees aren’t glued to a desk chair or cubicle for 8 hours a day and can work from any location with wifi, even if that location is in another state or country.
Working remotely has been known to increase productivity as distractions are limited. When employees work from the comfort of their own home, they aren’t getting caught up in office chit-chat, feeling like they’re being watched each time their hand lifts from the mouse or keyboard, and are overall more comfortable. Comfortability has been shown in studies to increase productivity by 25% compared to workers in uncomfortable environments. In another study published by Stanford Business, working from home boosted overall work performance by 22%.
When an employee or company works remotely, they have to rely on their phones, laptops, tablets and a good internet connection to communicate with one another. In the midst of workplace communication, words can get lost in translation when they’re communicated via email or even a zoom call. When you aren’t face to face with someone, you always run the risk of misconstruing the exchanged information. This can create delays which result in performance deficiencies or even tension amongst coworkers or bosses.
Lack Of Social Interaction
Remote work also means simply collaborating less with coworkers and teammates. Work flow is more independently focused, and when employees do work collaboratively that communication gap comes into play. With less collaboration comes a lack of social interaction. This can result in feeling bored or lonely. Even in the midst of all the other work-from-home perks, limited interaction can be isolating and in some extreme cases lead to a fear of social interaction.
While work will always be work, it’s the only social outlet many employees get. A study by FlexJobs said that 49% of remote workers said they miss seeing their colleagues face to face.
Harder Time Focusing
65% of executives believe employees working in the office is an important way to increase employee productivity. In a survey conducted by Joblist, 1,000 employees were asked about their overall wellbeing in working remotely. While most have experienced positive changes, nearly 25% of the employees felt their productivity had decreased as they struggled to separate life from work.
When employees work from home, while it is more comfortable and motivates many employees to work more, others may find it to be distracting as they are constantly reminded of everything else they have going on. When you’re in office, the rest of life tends to be put on the back burner.
Dependent On Technology
In a nation where 97% of Americans own some sort of phone, 85% of which are smartphones, it makes sense that we’ve naturally become dependent on technology. But once remote work was introduced, technology took on a whole new level of importance.
Companies rely on fully functioning technological devices, as well as a steady internet connection to keep their companies afloat. If technology falls through, a remote company cannot function efficiently. While we continue to learn more about what technology can do, it isn’t always foolproof.
Remote Work In California
In a survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, it was found that 1 in 5 Californians live in a household in which at least one resident works remotely 5 days a week or more. They also found that the likelihood of an employee working from home was strongly linked to their household income. The more they made, the more likely it was that they worked a job that allowed them to operate from anywhere.
If you are a remote employee in California, the same rights and protections of California employment law still apply to you. If you have an employer that is discriminating against you, withholding wages or you have other workplace concerns, we can help you hold unlawful employers accountable and even secure compensation on your behalf! Call Southern California Attorneys, A.P.C., for a free, confidential consultation with an employment lawyer today.
About Our Firm
- 60+ Years Of Combined Experience
- Multilingual Firm
- Free Consultation
- Top 10% Of California Law Firms