With all our working days relaying heavily on technology there is no doubt that working patterns are changing and that remote and flexible working is on the increase. Some businesses now comprise solely of remote workers, while for others it is a mix that gives them the flexibility they need.
This trend is also gaining grounds in Nigeria. In an in-depth article on remote working culture amongst Lagos residents, Techpoint spoke with business owners and employees who have fully embraced working remotely, and the result showed that a number of organisations now give their employees freedom to work from home whenever they choose to, some others have embraced remote work fully, but mandate employees to report on set days for meetings. There are yet a few others that do not have a physical space, everyone works from home and for meetups
Although, it comes with loads of benefits, it’s not all rosy.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the remote work culture:
A better work-life balance
Working from home generally means more flexibility to create your own schedule, and therefore more opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
It allows employees to build a schedule that adheres best with an individual’s preferences, as opposed to obeying the rigid work schedule demanded by the workplace, which doesn’t take into account any personal needs.
It can be hard to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle when working from an office. How many offices make sure employees have a healthy, balanced meal instead of just grabbing whatever from the nearest restaurant, or take time between office hours to stay physically active?
Working from home makes it much easier to maintain a healthy diet, and also leaves more time and flexibility to create a workout schedule in between work hours. Employees are also less likely to be stressed and experience burnout.
How many people have you met that enjoy their work commute in any way at all? It’s fine if the “commute” is a 15 minute walk to the office, but for many people, it means hours lost every day on getting to work and back.
Working from home or a coworking space nearby, is better for the environment, better for the person, and better for the company.
Massively increased talent pool
Imagine how limited your options for hiring are if you’re looking from only your location or have to relocate people there, which many people don’t want to have to deal with.
With remote work, your talent pool is literally the world. Is the perfect person for your team half way across the world? No problem. Great people do awesome things anywhere, and you really shouldn’t have to lose out on all these great people.
Increase in employee productivity
Working remotely means employees have more flexibility to work on their most productive times. We’ve got morning people, afternoon people, night people—and everything in between. Making their own hours means that employees can figure out when they’re most productive, and work during those times.
Being able to work when they’re most productive benefits both the employees as well as the employer.
Offices are expensive. Office equipment is expensive. Having a fully remote team brings all of that down to zero. Obviously it’s a good thing to provide your employees with the necessary equipment they need for working from home, but even that is still not comparable with paying for a huge office space, plus commute costs.
If you do want headquarters somewhere, you can have that, but it’ll still be much smaller than what you’d need if all your team members were to work from there.
A lack of discipline
Being in an office can be motivating in itself—not to say force you to at least pretend to be motivated. People work, or at least make a conscious effort to do work because other people around them are working, and these other people around them would be able see if they were to slack off.
When you work remotely, none of that social office environment pressure is present. There is nobody to remind or nudge you to get your work done on time. You have to be that motivating factor for yourself
Not everyone is suitable to work in remote
Although one of the advantages of working in remote is accessibility to much more talented candidates, not every candidate is suitable to work in remote. Some people don’t have the experience or the organization capacity needed to work in this way and because of that they feel more comfortable working in office.
There is no point hiring a team with excellent profiles, if then this team isn’t capable of doing the work in remote. If they’ve had a positive experience in the past working this way, is much easier for them to adapt to the position.
There are definitely some distractions in an office as well (especially if you’re dealing with an open office with literally no option to shelter away from everything happening around you), but it can be a lot worse when you’re on your own—especially if you’re not used to making your own routine and don’t have a great deal of self-discipline to start with.
At home you have some different things to worry about. Have kids? As much as it’s nice to be able to spend more time with them, they might not understand that certain times are for work only.
This is one of the greatest challenge to remote work in Nigeria. The power situation in the country is still not perfect. Some days there’s just no power – and if you have tasks to submit on those days, it becomes a really terrible situation.
Although people now depend on generators – but having to fuel it every now and then makes it really costly to work from home.
In an office environment, employees enjoy Internet access that’s way faster than the mobile Internet subscription they do on their phones. This of course, is the same Internet they have have to manage with when they work remotely, except companies begin to provide high speed Internet for their remote workers.
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