Teleworking, remote work, telecommuting, e-commuting, and working from home (WFH), are terms to define the agreement between the employer and the employee to work from home or from a place connected to the company, such as a coffee shop, a bookstore, or a co-working space.
Because of COVID-19, this concept resurfaced with substantial force, and many companies around the globe rely on this option to run their operations safely. When analyzing this matter, they focused their studies on the benefits that remote working could bring to both the company and the worker.
What Are the Benefits of Teleworking for Workers and Companies?
There are pros and cons to teleworking. However, the scale tips in favor of the pros.
The first benefit for workers is the reduction in travel time to and from the workplace.
In a 2016 survey, The United States Census Bureau estimated that 600,000 people had a 90-minute or longer commute.
Teleworking translates into savings on fuel and public transport fares. It also renders ecological benefits. Greater availability for work and personal time results in a better work-life balance. Working from home also reduces the risk of accidents during the commute.
Telecommuting increases productivity because working from home produces fewer distractions in the workplace.
For companies, a reduced need for physical space can provide tangible savings.
Teleworking in Numbers
According to Global Workplace Analytics, 56% of the US workforce has a job compatible with remote working. There are fewer studies in Latin American countries on the subject, but the figures are not far off from those of the United States.
Studies by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics between 2005 and 2017 show that the number of teleworkers grew by 159 percent. According to this report, 4.7 million people in the U.S. worked from home, and 3.4% of the country’s workforce are remote employees.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, believes that within 5-10 years, half of its employees will work from home. Currently, his company employs about 50,000 telecommuters.
In an interview on CNBC, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said that a full 98% of the company’s employees are working remotely.
COVID-19 Teleworking – an Option for Everyone?
It’s an excellent question. Remote workers must have their priorities and responsibilities set straight.
Character and drive are important factors because teleworkers must be self-motivated to achieve their goals. For some, the lack of direct supervision may be a disadvantage.
Isolation and loneliness can be factors against it. Although most employees may feel comfortable working from home, others may need physical interaction with people. Without it, they may experience anxiety or depression. Frequent video meetings can ease such worries.
How to Get Organized?
It is important to set up a designated work area at home. This ensures remote employees have the privacy and focus required to do their jobs. It is best to avoid distractions such as TV, or family members frequenting the work area.
Establish a schedule routine (beginning and end of the working day, lunch, coffee break) and stick to it.
Clothing is also important. It builds a mental link between your attitude and your responsibility. This creates an “at-work” state of mind. Although it is unnecessary to wear a shirt and tie, I don’t recommend working in pajamas.
Family and friends need to understand that you are working from home, so they must respect your space and schedule.
I merely summarized a fairly complex and current topic from extensive corporate research. But what is your personal experience with teleworking during COVID-19 or otherwise? Have you had the opportunity to work from home? We would like to hear from you.
by: Roman Vergara