Remote work and work from home are often used interchangeably. But they shouldn’t be because they are distinct from one another. The two terms became popular in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of health protocols issued by the government. You may have some kind of office set up in your home but are you working from home or remote working?
Both have benefits for the workplace and your team. Knowing the difference between remote work and working from home can help you with planning which will work best for your organization. In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:
- Pros And Cons of Working from Home
- Pros and Cons of Remote Work
- Difference Between Remote Work and Work from Home
- Which One is Best For Your Company?
Before deciding between remote work vs work from home, let us first discuss the pros and cons of each.
Pros and Cons of Working from Home
Are you considering work from home for your employees? First things first, this kind of set-up is not for everyone so you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages and then decide if you will implement it in your organization. Let us first take a look at the pros.
Pros of Working from Home
There are several advantages of working from home that make it a great option for many companies.
- There is no commute. With work from home, you don’t have to worry about commuting to your office saving you a great deal of time and money. It can also contribute to reducing your daily stress level.
- It offers flexibility. Work from home eliminates working on a fixed schedule. You can work when you are most productive. In addition, you can wear your most comfortable clothes and create a system that works best for you.
- Reduced distractions. There are many distractions at home but it is within your control. In the office, you cannot control distractions coming from your co-employees and other office-based distractions.
- Your day is often less stressful. When working in the office, you are dealing with a lot of stress such as deadlines, quotas, and toxic co-workers. With work from home, you have a little bit more control over the stress level. When work becomes too stressful, you can pause for a while,walk away from your workstation and take a break.
- Improved work/life balance. In the workplace, most employees struggle with finding a balance between work and personal life. Work from home makes finding the balance between work and life much easier.
Cons of Working from Home
While it may sound like a good deal for some, there are also some disadvantages that you need to keep in mind before taking the plunge:
- It requires self-discipline. Focusing on your work on a daily basis requires a great deal of self-discipline and motivation.
- It can be lonely. When working from home, you do not have access to co-workers. You may feel isolated and lonely working all day.
- It’s harder to shut down. When you are already in the zone, it can be hard to stop working making it more likely for you to become overworked. It is harder to make a distinction between work and life.
- You lose living space. Since you will need a home office or workspace, you may need to sacrifice one of your rooms.
- Hard to build trust and develop relationships. Without a daily face-to-face connection, it can be hard to build trust and develop relationships.
Pros and Cons of Remote Work
According to a study conducted by Flexjobs and Global Workforce Analytics, there were an estimated 4.7 million remote workers in the US in the beginning of 2020. This goes to show that working remotely can be an attractive option for your employees. But before having them work remotely, you first need to know the advantages and disadvantages of remote work. Let’s start with the pros.
Pros of Working Remotely
1. Higher productivity
Remote workers are more productive compared to office workers. Unlike in the office where you follow a 9-5 schedule, working remotely allows you to work at your most productive time. There are less distractions since there will be no co-workers who will be interrupting you.
2. Better work-life balance
Remote work provides an opportunity for you to spend more time with your family. When working remotely, you can create a schedule that can help you achieve work-life balance. Because you are no longer commuting to work you can use the time for bonding with your partner and kids. By having the time to manage your personal life, you can achieve job satisfaction. This could help your organization maintain high employee retention rates.
3. Healthier lifestyle
Staying healthy as an office employee can be quite difficult. Sometimes your hectic schedule can keep you from having a balanced meal, particularly in the morning and afternoon.With remote work, you can find time to live healthy. Working in your own schedule means you can cook and eat nutritious food and have regular exercise.
4. More savings and less carbon footprint
When working remotely, you can attain a lot of savings. You won’t have to pay for your transportation, worry about parking tickets, eating lunch, and other expenses. Another benefit of remote work is that it can reduce your carbon footprint as you won’t need to take your vehicle out. It is very environment-friendly.
Cons of Remote Work
Here now are the cons of working remotely.
1. Communication Gap
In the office, you can easily approach a teammate to discuss something. However, with remote work, you will only rely on instant messaging and video calls for communication with team members. Without proper communication, team collaboration can become a problem among remote teams.
2. Difficult to stay motivated
With remote work, there is no manager or supervisor overseeing work and there are also no employees working around you so it is difficult to stay motivated and meet your goal. When working remotely, it is easy to develop a laid back attitude and even procrastinate.
3. Lack of social interaction
In remote work, there is no social interaction between teammates. This could result in an employee feeling lonely or isolated hence impacting their productivity or motivation. As a manager, it is up to you to keep interaction going with remote team building activities.
4. Management challenges
One of the biggest challenges of remote work is management concerns. In the office, the manager can easily get the attention of an employee for some coaching. But with remote work, you need to learn how to use apps and technologies to effectively manage your team. You may also need to invest in project management tools.
Differences Between Remote Work and Work From Home
Now that we know the pros and cons of each, it’s time to know the difference between remote work and work from home.
Work from home is a temporary solution. Employees will have workstations in the office but can choose to work in the convenience of their homes. Employees can set up their home office anywhere be it a kitchen counter, sofa, or in the bedroom. Working from home allows you to be away from your office for a few days while taking care of some important things.
In work from home, there is already a management structure and chain of command which can no longer be disrupted. You still retain the office structure and easily keep in touch with your team. During the coronavirus pandemic, work from home became the trend for health and safety reasons. But once everything goes back to normal, employees may return to the office.
Remote work, on the other hand, is a different setup. Your employees work outside your office all the time. It entails a different set of skills, abilities, and resources. Remote working individuals need to be self-starters and have exceptional time management skills. Remote work requires proactive communication.
Which One Is Better For Your Company?
Maybe you are at the point of deciding between remote work vs working from home for your employees. Here are some important questions you need to answer to help you make the right decision.
1. Infrastructure, devices, and programs
Whichever you choose, make sure that you will be able to provide your staff with the necessary hardware and software that they will need to efficiently perform their jobs. Ensure that they will be provided with laptops, webcams or whatever is necessary.
Also make sure that your remote or WFH staff will have access to any cloud-based applications or programs that will speed up their work. Make sure that they have similar tools and that they are properly trained in using those tools.
Security can be one of the major concerns when deciding to work out of the office. The employee will no longer be connected to the office network which could result in security risks. Also, your data and information could be at risk as your employee is working outside your secured network. Here are some tips on how to ensure the safety of your data and information.
- Update all devices with the latest security packages and software applications.
- Implement multi-factor authentication and strong passwords for when an employee is accessing cloud applications.
- Have your IT team monitor security and inform you of any cyber security issues
- Regularly backup your system so the work of your remote employee will not be interrupted in case your primary server goes down.
3. Tools and Skills
Running a remote team can be more challenging than an office-based team so it is important that your managers have the necessary tools and skills to effectively manage a remote team. Managers should be trained on how to maintain a routine and structure to keep things running smoothly. They should be provided with tools for tracking projects and measuring results.
Communication tools like Skype or MS Teams are also vital to efficiently managing your remote team. Your remote team could experience loneliness and isolation so messaging features like chat can help beat the feeling of isolation and loneliness.
4. Active communication
Remote workers may develop a feeling of being left out and isolated from the team. Without any communication from the team, they can easily get frustrated and lose their motivation. It is important to provide them with the necessary communication support to your team. Schedule regular video call meetings with them. This will ensure that they are kept in the loop and informed about your company.
In an office setup, you can easily tell who among your employees is working or not. However, this is not the case with a remote or WFH setup. Managers have no way of tracking the productivity of their team. When deciding between remote work vs work from home, you need to make sure that your team will not lose their productivity even with the change in set-up. At the onset, set the proper expectations. Provide your team with clear goals to achieve.
6. Company Culture
Is working remotely or from home compatible with your company culture? Your employees have already adjusted to your corporate culture when they were in the office. By asking them to transition to working out of the office, they may start questioning your decision if it is allowed by the company.
How airisX Can Help Manage Your Remote/WFH Team?
Managing a remote team can be a daunting task if you do not have the tools and skills for effective team management. Some of your employees may also be doing it for the first time. This is where airisX can help you. We have a team that can manage your remote or WFH employees. You can focus on business operations while we take care of your out-of-office team.
At airisX, we employ project and service delivery managers who have the experience and training in managing a team. Our employees are equipped to complete any task assigned to them. Send your requirements and schedule an appointment with us.