When Marissa Mayer discontinued the telecommuting option for Yahoo! employees over a year ago, the media and employment experts had a heyday. Mayer was putting Yahoo! at a disadvantage against other tech companies trying to recruit talent in a competitive market.
But as the dust has settled and recent news of “working from home” abuse has been reported, people are wondering: was Mayer right? Do employees get more or less work done from home? Is it more important to connect with one another through office interactions? Is telecommuting the future of work, or simply an option that works better for some people than others?
While being able to work from home is high on many IT professionals’ “work perks” lists, not everyone can, or should work from home. We’ve put together some pros and cons of working remotely so you can decide for yourself what’s right for you.
Pro #1: Helps You Get More Done
Most IT professionals can do their work from anywhere, and being able to work from home on occasion might be one of your favorite perks. Working remotely can have many benefits, including boosting productivity and efficiency. Without the distractions that arise from employees chatting, or even legitimate interruptions from your coworkers, employees working remotely are more able to focus on the task at hand.
Pro #2: Saves You Time and Money
Distance collaboration is easier than ever with technology. Without commuting time, you can get started earlier in the day, get to your after work entertainment sooner, and save money on transportation costs. In addition, the majority of employees say the flexibility offered by being able to work remotely increases their employment satisfaction.
Con #1: Interacting Face-to-Face Has Value
Brainstorming and innovation can be stalled because remote working does not generate new ideas in the same way an in-office session can. Some problems or conversations can only be handled in person. Additionally, employees who work remotely often struggle with feeling engaged with their coworkers. This not only affects those individuals, but the whole team. While collaboration tools are better than ever, physically seeing and interacting in person is still the most effective— and sometimes necessary element—when troubleshooting problems.
Con #2: You Might Not Get Promoted
Employees who only work from home are 50% less likely to receive a promotion. It can be difficult for supervisors to analyze performance, give feedback, and even know who should receive a promotion when they are not seeing daily output and activity. In addition, you lose the opportunity to show your leadership potential through mentoring other members of your team and leading by example.
As with most workplace decisions, evaluating the pros and cons of working remotely is difficult. Are you the type that stays more focused and works harder without coworkers distracting you, or are your dog and TV going to distract you at home? Do you have great ideas through in-person brainstorms, or does time alone spark your best ideas?
For most people, using a dual approach can help you capture the benefits of both work options, while minimizing the negatives. If you’re allowed to work from home, determine the frequency that works best for you, and if there are particular elements of your job that are best to do at home. Set up a work space away from distractions so that you have the best chance of getting your work done. Utilize the perks of productivity at home and collaboration in the office by creating a hybrid model that works best for you. Who knows what you might be able to achieve.