Although employees may view working from home as the Holy Grail of professional situations, many employers have a different opinion. Though remote working often increases job satisfaction, it also has a number of drawbacks that can compromise business operations. Before you let your workers set up a home office, it is important to consider the potential ramifications of working from home.
In an office environment, a manager has the opportunity to watch employees closely. He sees how hard they work and notices when they go the extra mile for a client or stay late to finish a job. More importantly, managers can also spot potential problems and rectify them before it's too late. When an employee works from home, a supervisor has no direct oversight. If the employee regularly speaks unprofessionally to clients during calls or puts important tasks off until the very last minute, the employer might not find out until after a problem arises. The lack of oversight also compromises a supervisor's ability to assess an employees performance. When managers cannot see employees in action, they are forced to evaluate work based solely on numbers and results. Also, remote workers can present a problem for the human resources department when it comes to training new workers and tracking hours.
One of the biggest downsides to working from home is the lack of in-person contact. Remote workers who maintain a purely virtual presence often have difficulties building and maintaining strong working relationships with colleagues and clients. While working from home, they don't have the chance to participate in the casual conversations or informal interactions that can lead to the development of innovative ideas. Positive relationships are a powerful force in a company. They help create a welcoming corporate culture, increase customer loyalty, help attract investors and assist in building valuable industry partnerships.
An employer who allows employees to work remotely must place a great deal of trust in his employees. He must believe that those who are working from home are reporting their hours accurately and working steadily. If home-based workers do not answer their phones or emails, employees must assume that it is because they are speaking with clients and not watching television on the couch. The extreme trust requirement can lead to high levels of stress and worry for business leaders. A tiny seed of doubt can become a persistent problem, and a single slip-up on the employee's part can undermine the entire relationship. For busy employers, the extra mental preoccupation may not be not worthwhile.
As a business owner, it is crucial to consider how remote workers will affect your company. In some cases, the downfalls can be mitigated by allowing location flexibility only for employees who have put in a certain number of years at the company. However you approach working from home, planning can help you avoid problems and ensure success.
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