Remote work: the pros and cons

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Robert Maurer

Remote work: the pros and cons

Remote working is one of the new phenomena of our culture. But a greater autonomy of the worker can also have an invasive implication and ruin his social world. At the same time, it could impoverish his work intellectually.

Last update: July 24, 2020

The world of work has changed considerably in recent years. One of the most important transformations is the irruption and massification of remote work. Nowadays it is a modality that is present practically everywhere in the world. And it looks like it will be the dominant mode in the future.

Working remotely offers enormous benefits: it saves precious time in moving from one point to another, as well as reducing road traffic and, therefore, air pollution. In principle, it allows greater flexibility in the organization of time and gives a greater degree of autonomy to the worker.

However, working remotely also presents several problems. Among the many, work in solitude. There is no colleague next to you to discuss something or joke with during the break. The others begin to be an abstract and merely functional presence.

This aspect raises questions about the future of companies. Will there be no more collaborative contexts? What consequences will the lack of contact with colleagues, the one that very often helps to solve problems and to have new ideas, will have?

If you want to go quickly, go alone; if you want to go far, go together

-African proverb-

The pros of remote work

Remote working offers very important benefits. The first of these, already mentioned, is the possibility of saving precious time, usually wasted on the move. This also leads to savings in terms of money and emotional energy, as there will no longer be a need to face the hustle and bustle of big cities. It is therefore cheaper for the worker, the company and the society.

On the other hand, with remote work (also called teleworking) geographic boundaries collapse. A person can work from anywhere in the world, for any company in the world. The company is the winner, because this allows it to access even more qualified profiles. And the worker can tap into a much larger labor market.

Teleworking, in particular, offers a large degree of autonomy to the worker. They will have more opportunities to negotiate on schedules and avoid other sources of pressure often present in face-to-face work. For example, he will have to invest less in office clothing. At the same time, you will be able to design your own work environment and in the way that makes you most comfortable. Finally, remote work makes the worker more independent.

The cons of teleworking

While remote working guarantees greater autonomy, it also requires strong self-discipline. There is no figure in charge of rigidly controlling the work done and this could lead some people to disorganization. There are those who cannot repeat the business routine when they are at home. And here is that disorder and instability will be the preponderant aspects.

Since you don't leave the house every day, in some cases domestic problems end up interfering with work. There is no dividing line with the family background and if the environment is not healthy, it could have negative consequences on performance. It is also possible that there are more interruptions and distractions in the home than in the workplace. This could affect a greater waste of time, spent on other activities.

On the other hand, there is a lack of a group of colleagues who are physically present and on whom to rely. This could impoverish social life and cause a feeling of loneliness.

At the same time, it can damage work, because it can result in fewer cognitive and emotional stimuli. Consequentially, the work could be affected, as well as the predisposition to team work.

A model under development

Remote working is a relatively new mode (mainly associated with computer science, although looking back in history we will find other previous cases, as in the case of seamstresses).

We are in a phase in which the methods and processes related to this way of working are still in the phase of definition and refinement, up to reaping the maximum benefits. In the computer world, in reality, there is still no particular interest in solving problems relating to this way of working.

Distance should not be a limit to the experiences of collaboration and integration, which are the foundations of innovation. Today the so-called "octopus" structure predominates, in which there is a head from which the tentacles branch off, from which they originate and to which all the components belong. This aspect will have to change over time.

In an ideal situation, remote working should not be synonymous with lonely, lonely workers forced to experience an invasion of work in their private lives. There are many aspects to improve, teleworking is a challenge for companies and for those involved in corporate organizational well-being. We certainly expect effective responses to these challenges within a few years.

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