The global Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the concept of remote working. People currently foresee remote work as the future of the workplace beyond 2020. Many people believe that working remotely benefits the workplace culture, yet others disagree.
According to Gartner’s research, about 70% of the employees wish to work remotely. 25 big companies including Meta, Spotify, and Twitter have declared permanent remote working according to flexjobs data. Whereas, companies like Goldman Sachs are urging their employees to return to office.
Before deciding which option to choose for your company, consider going through the pros and cons of remote working and how you can manage your virtual team.
Pros of working remotely
1. Increased productivity:
A Cisco-sponsored study shows that remote workers are more productive and they deliver better quality work than employees who work from the office.
Remote workers have the freedom to work whenever and wherever they want. Many companies welcome flexible working arrangements as long as the individual completes the assigned work on time and produces results.
2. Better work-life balance:
Remote work gives employees the space to create a fine balance between work and personal life. One can easily schedule their work in a way that allows them to spend more time with their families. This gives satisfaction to employees to manage time effectively and work in a stress-free manner.
Tons of studies have proved that organizations find it easier to keep their employees around for longer periods by providing them the flexibility to work from home with all necessary equipments and amenities.
3. Healthy lifestyle:
Working from home saves time, allowing employees to avoid long commute hours and focus on their mental health, diet, and exercise, among other things.
Employees who work from home do not have to skip meals or rely on junk food as they can cook nutritious food at home, thereby maintaining a healthier lifestyle
The most crucial benefit of remote work is that it protects employees from various viruses and contagious diseases.
4. More savings:
Remote work saves a considerable amount of money as many expenses towards traveling, food, rent, and bills, among others, are eliminated.
According to flexjobs, an average employee saves around $4000 yearly by working remotely.
Cons of working remotely
1. Communication gap:
Remote work creates a communication gap between the employees and higher management.
When working in the office, you can reach out to your team anytime and can have those watercooler moments, but due to 100% online communication when working from home, you are required to wait for a response, which creates a certain barrier to your communication.
Video conferencing does help teams to communicate but face-to-face conversation holds more value in most circumstances.
2. Team management challenges:
Managing a virtual team is not easy. There are various challenges a manager and team face. Working from home may sound more comfortable, but it is equally challenging.
Many have little idea of remote work equipment and technology. Many face technical issues which can only be solved in the office.
Learning a new technology takes time while managing a remote team is also challenging.
3. Dependency on technology:
One of the most common challenges remote workers face is that they are highly dependent on technology and an Internet connection. When there’s an Internet connectivity issue, the work stays on hold and keeps piling up until the connection is back.
Many lose important data if it is not backed up in the right place. Frequent power cuts are another problem that leaves employees disconnected from work, as a result of which they end up missing important meetings These problems can delay the submission of work, impact work quality, and result in more workload.
Doodle’s survey of about 1000 U.S. employees reveals burnout signs. According to the research, 38% of employees feel exhausted after a whole week of virtual meetings, while 30% feel stressed.
The findings also showed that virtual meetings involve many disturbances, for instance, background noise, and more.
What is the best way to manage a virtual team?
Virtual team management requires a higher set of skills, tools, and software. Let’s take a look at how you can manage your virtual team and keep it happy and motivated:
1. Using the best software:
Choosing the right software for your team is of the utmost importance. A software that manages your needs and is easy to use is what you need.
Here are some must-have software ideas that every virtual team should have:
- Messaging software
- Data and file storage software
- Video and audio conferencing software
- Project management software
2. Better communication:
Communication is essential for distributed remote teams for effective teamwork. Divide tasks and responsibilities among everyone and set up a regular weekly meeting so everyone can discuss the progress and issues they are facing.
Check in with your team to see how they are doing and communicating, and what can be done to improve communication within the team.
3. Tracking time and productivity:
Productivity can be measured by the number of hours the employee is working. It enables monitoring of the progress of employees. Time tracking can be a helpful tool to manage your virtual team.
Choosing the right fit between working from home and working from the office depends upon the scale and nature of the business. Remote work is a better option if your business has advanced infrastructure and technologies.
If your business operates manually, working from the office may be more suitable.
Read our other articles on virtual team management to remove all the cons from the list.