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Pros and Cons of Being a Virtual Employee

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Wouldn’t it be nice if going to work didn’t involve a long, stressful commute? For more and more employees, that’s the dream and the reality.

According to the website Flexjobs, 35% state the number one benefit they’d start a new job for is the ability to work remotely full-time. As such, this “benefit” has become increasingly common within the past few years. It can be a great option for some, but there can be drawbacks to this lifestyle as well. Here are some pros and cons to consider before making the commitment to work from your home office or favorite coffee shop.

Home Office

© Flickr user Zach Beauvais.

Disadvantages to Telecommuting

Distractions. If there are a million things to draw your attention away in your home office, this might not be the route for you. It’s important to acknowledge the divide between work and life. A way of getting around this pitfall is setting aside an area in the house that is your private work space, where others know when you’re in that space, you’re on the clock.

Missing out on office culture. Another downside is the lack of face-to-face communication. Many important conversations can happen during a casual visit to someone’s desk. Each company has its own culture, and when working remotely engaging can be difficult if you’re not making a conscious effort to stay involved and make site visits a few times a year.

Overlooked for promotions. When you’re not being seen everyday or around the office, some believe it can be a reason you’re passed over for the next opportunity. To counteract not being in the office, be more vocal about your work and make an effort to talk to team members about the work you’re doing.

Office

© Flickr user Andy Davies.

Advantages to Telecommuting

Flexibility. This is the clear number one on the list, and best of all, it means different things to different people. You might decide to work at your most productive time of day. For the parents out there, it can mean being able to stay home when your children aren’t feeling well, or need to be picked up at off hours from school or daycare. It can also better mesh with traveling, personal appointments, and so much more.

The Environment. A seemingly small, yet still important factor to working remotely is how beneficial it can be for the planet. Americans spend an average of 25.5 minutes commuting to work one way, equaling around 100 hours a year according to ThoughtCo. This drive time is having a major impact on the environment. Remote workers have the luxury of not needing to make this commute everyday, and reducing their carbon footprint by staying home.

Saving money. In addition to that long drive time, it’s important to consider the amount of money spent on gas. You’ll also save money by eating at home instead of going out with your co-workers a few times a week, or taking an afternoon walk and grabbing a coffee. These purchases add up over time and can make a big dent in your bank account. Working from home also means you don’t need to spend money on a whole new wardrobe. Remote working means money saved!

Employer advantages. Businesses are also going to save by hiring remotely. This includes office space, furniture, supplies, and more. Those funds can be put towards spending more on employee salary; enabling the company to afford more experienced talent. Lastly, hiring remote workers means there’s no limitation geographically on the talent pool. This provides employers a chance to hire the most qualified people anywhere in the world.

The Times Are Changing

Sara CarterBig companies are accepting this trend, such as Xerox. Their work from home program includes over 8,000 employees. They encourage this type of work due to lower commuting costs, a more comfortable work environment at home, and a better work/life balance.

Whether you’re an employee or employer looking for reasons why or why not to work remotely, it seems pretty clear the positives outweigh the negatives. As long as employees have a good work ethic and are self-motivated it’s worth considering remote work as a future endeavor.

Sara Carter is an experienced tech expert who writes with her colleagues onEnlightened Digital, to share her passion with others around the web. After 15 years in the industry, her goal is to bring information on all technology to the masses. Her philosophy is to create each article so that anyone can understand the content, whether they are a consumer or a technology expert. Check out her site at Enlightened-Digital.com.

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