What an eye catcher, I mean a real dream-come-true right? Working from home.
Telecommuting, if we want to get technical. Think about waking up and heading straight for the couch–no red lights, no road rage and no eating a less than satisfying breakfast bagel from the drive thru while dripping hot cheese all over your driver’s console. It sounds like the largest luxury a company can afford its employees, but it is becoming more common than you might think.
A recent study from GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com found that 4.3 million employees (3.2% of the workforce) are currently afforded the opportunity to work from home. The total amount of telecommuters in the United States has increased by 11.7%, the largest annual growth since 2008. Nationwide, Feathr and Liquid Creative are just a few local organizations that have jumped on the trend by offering their loyal employees the opportunity to work remotely.
I say “loyal employees” because companies that offer telecommuting as an option report higher levels of employee retention, greater employee satisfaction, improved productivity because of less interruptions and a better sense of autonomy.
Some major advantages for remote employees include a better work/life balance, being able to work in whatever environment best suits their needs, and the freedom to eat healthier due to the option of by cooking meals at home rather than getting greasy take out.
Kaitlyn McGowan from Feathr says, “The biggest benefit our organization has seen by offering remote work is the stress it can take away from our team. There’s no pressure to come into the office if one of our Feathr team members catches cold, has to take care of a sick child, or tend to something around the house, such as a plumbing issue.”
However, there are just a few disadvantages that are not typically shared but should be considering when determining if working remotely works for you or your organization.
The potential deal-breaker disadvantage seems to be the every present, FOMO. Fear of missing out on vibrant atmosphere at the office and the human interaction that we so often crave is real. Not being in the same workspace as your coworkers can lead to feelings of being left out when there are advancements in the company, promotions of coworkers, and, of course, the latest office gossip.
Brad Purvis from Nationwide supports this view in saying, “There are not a lot of opportunities to meet outside of the normal Skype meetings. Making work friends can become difficult.” However, if your manager is made aware of this, you can band together to make sure that the latest technology is being used in your favor to afford you the opportunities to FaceTime into internal company meetings and even happy hours. Another way to be sure to stay within the inner circle is to utilize chat functions such as Slack so that you can communicate real-time with your fellow team members about mega-important work tasks or the latest shared Office GIF.
Co-workspaces are a great way to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation when telecommuting and are becoming the new hub for all generations of professionals. These facilities have blossomed in almost every major city around the globe, and they provide a more work-friendly atmosphere than your cat sitting on your keyboard while you are attempting to meet a deadline.
Some perks you can expect from these collaborative workspaces are modern conference rooms with easy video chat connection options, an array of refreshments including coffees, teas, and sodas, limitless power outlets, standing desk options—and most importantly human contact. Most workspaces even have entrepreneur meetups so that you can mingle and brainstorm with like-minded professionals. If you do not live in a city with these options, don’t fret, you’re not destined to a life of solitude. You can take a stroll around the corner and find a coffee shop with just the right work-friendly vibes and closeness to other humans that a co-workspace offers.
Among all other things, working remotely can mold you into a skilled communicator, as it requires you to explicitly, concisely and simply explain your process and finished projects to coworkers and managers. It is important to keep in mind that telecommuting can be beneficial, but only if it suits you. Every employee, and person in general, is different and thrives in distinctive environments, so before becoming giddy with plans of French pressed coffee in your pajamas every morning, try and reflect on what will make you the happiest in the long term.
By Justine Myers