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Remote working may become more permanent in some workplaces Pivotal HR Solutions Blog

HR Management: Pros and Cons of Keeping Some of Your Workforce Remote

For HR management, the Covid pandemic has definitely reshaped the way in which businesses organize themselves and how the workforce as a whole functions.

An interview between NPR and a collection of professionals from the technology industry to the digital marketing industry across the country revealed that among employees, there are mixed feelings regarding continuing with remote work or returning to the office, and employers are feeling just as mixed.[1]

For HR management, whether or not to continue with remote work arrangements is an important question as we move away from the pandemic. There are many pros and cons to maintaining remote work arrangements which we will cover below because, at a glance, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer.

The Pros of Maintaining a Remote Workforce

Employee Morale and Health

There is no doubt that working from home has created a safer environment during the pandemic, and heading into the future, while there are still new COVID-19 strains developing which may not be protected against with current vaccines, there is still a danger to people’s health, albeit reduced compared to before. Through remote work arrangements, many employees’ mental health has benefited through having more time with family at home as well as through having more flexible schedules.

 

Work-from-home-and-hybrid-workforce-reality-post-covid-re-opening-HR-Management-plan
Work from home and hybrid working arrangements including some remote home-based work and some socially distanced office work may be the new reality of a post-Covid-19 HR work environment. Outsourcing HR Management and Payroll services may also be a key to managing fluctuating HR demands.

 

Putting employee health first and giving them the chance to have more fulfilling lives at home with their family will only boost morale and let employees know that their experience is cared for by upper management, something that they will then reflect into their work ethic.


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Removing Commuting Times

For many of us, commuting through busy city streets before and after work is a draining experience. Avoiding that early commute, in particular, allows employees to transition from their morning routine at home to the start of their work routine more seamlessly without the stress of a commute.

 

Work Llife Balance stress Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
Commute times are a big factor leading to stress. Remote work has helped lessen this stress, although it has its own stress factors.

 

And because traditionally, commuting to work has been mandatory for almost the entire workforce, removing the commute as a necessary part of being employed has actually opened up employment options to many people who are unable to make daily commutes, such as people with disabilities or who live in areas with previously limited employment options.[2] This also gives businesses a larger pool from which to select new employees.

Improved Productivity

The initial belief was that working remotely would lead to decreased productivity, however, it has actually had the opposite. Multiple studies have shown that when working from home, employees generally waste 10 minutes less each day being unproductive while also being 47% more productive with their time.[3]


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The Cons of Maintaining a Remote Workforce

The Mental Strain of Working Remotely

Although remote work arrangements have had positive effects on many people’s mental health, it can also have the opposite. Some surveys have found that as many as 45% of people working from home have suffered mentally due to reduced quality of sleep and more.[4] These employees actually thrive more when they are working at an office, and may find it difficult to “switch off” after work since their environment hasn’t changed.

 

Corporate culture one of the reasons people move to other jobs Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
The personal interaction and Corporate culture impact is a “con” of remote work, although there are ways to minimize it with hybrid (blended) remote work scenarios and “virtual” cultural events.

 

Reduced Company Culture

Sometimes, having a cohesive and close team of people working together can only be done in person where real-life relationships are built and where interactions can be fun rather than being another tiresome Zoom call. Feeling like you are a part of something larger at work often provides meaning, direction, and keeps a positive atmosphere.

Without these interactions, it can be difficult for managers and business owners to grow the company culture and get coworkers really interacting with each other. Additionally, it can also make it harder for managers and coworkers to see when someone may be struggling mentally so that the right support can be put in place for them.

 

Making a Decision

For HR management, this is obviously more than a straightforward yes or no decision. Because different employees perform differently when working remotely, finding the answer to this question will need to balance how a certain position responds to remote work options, how employees of a given business respond to continued remote work, and more to decide which is the best option overall.


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Notes and References

[1] NRP, “Why Do We Have To Go Back To The Office?’: Employees Are Divided About Returning”, June 9 2021

[2] WeForum, “How COVID could democratize commutes”, March 8 2021

[3] Apollo Technical, “SURPRISING WORKING FROM HOME PRODUCTIVITY STATISTICS (2021)”, June 2 2021

[4] Forbes, “Mental Health And Remote Work: Survey Reveals 80% Of Workers Would Quit Their Jobs For This”, October 8 2020

 

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