Remote vs. Office Working: What tips the scales for you?

4 minutes

Although many Workday® professionals have seen a change in their work pattern (remote/hy...

Although many Workday® professionals have seen a change in their work pattern (remote/hybrid/office-based) since the pandemic, remote vs. in-person working has always been a fierce debate. Some professionals might have been practising remote working for decades, but for many, it’s still a new concept. With more organisations facilitating a return to the office, you might be asked to change your work pattern. Aneel Bhusri, Co-CEO of Workday®, previously talked about how Workday® are encouraging a flexible return to the office, where this is safe for employees.  

For those who enjoyed being fully remote, this could be a troublesome idea. For those who preferred the office, this is a welcome change. If you’re considering what’s right for you, it can be a difficult decision, particularly if you know there are organisations out there who could offer you the flexibility your current employer doesn’t. What are the pros and cons of remote working, and what tips the scales for you?

The Pros 

Working from home (WFH) can offer you the work/life balance you need.  With the possibility of more flexible hours, school runs, leaving the house at lunch time, and adaptable start and finish times, remote working can give you the work satisfaction you’ve been craving. If there are times of the day where you’re more or less productive, remote working could allow you to chop and change your hours to suit this. This can be constrained by certain things, such as needing to work international hours or in blocks. However, you’ll have more freedom to decide when you can be most productive, and still attend meetings and work your contracted hours. 

It's easy to get caught up in conversations and struggle to focus over background noise in the workplace. WFH, in the right context, can lead to fewer distractions and getting through your workload faster. Of course, if you’ve got the kids at home or the dog barks at everyone who passes the window, this might not apply. However, if you set the right boundaries for your home office, you might find you get more work done with fewer interruptions. 

From a monetary stand-point, the extra cost of WFH to your household bills is unlikely to rival the commuting costs that you can slash by working remotely. The rise in energy bills in the UK has also resulted in the rise in the price of petrol/diesel and public transport. The extra time you spend commuting in the morning could also be spent how you choose, whether that’s extra sleep, starting work earlier or getting things done around the house. You’ll find that cutting out a (potentially stressful) commute could help shape a much happier work day. 

Talking of stress, WFH can improve your mental health. No commuting, no office drama, and more time for self-care. People with flexible work options, including remote working, report better work/life balance, better support at work, less stress, a better sleep schedule, and more time for exercise. The impact of having a flexible workplace can be integral to a better quality of life.  

The Cons 

Spending little time in the office, and limited face-to-face interaction with your colleagues, can affect workplace relationships. Even with the technology available to us, communication over video-call or online work communication platforms doesn’t allow you to read body language and pick up on social cues. Emails and Teams chat messages can be misconstrued. Spontaneous collaboration doesn’t happen as often when you’re not physically in the same space as someone. Not being able to turn to someone from your desk and ask them a quick question could mean you spend more time trying to find an answer independently, which could affect your overall productivity for the day. There’s no lunch with colleagues or a spontaneous drink after work when you’re working remotely. This can mean it takes longer to form relationships, and you may never reach the same depth of relationship that you would if you saw them regularly in the workplace. All these factors need to be considered, and how important workplace relationships are to the work you are doing. 

Through deeper relationships and presence at the office, you might reach a better understanding of the business and its culture. You could still grasp this if you’re WFH, but it might take longer, and you might not reach the same understanding as you would if you’re physically with your team on a regular basis. The first month in a new role can be integral to the rest of your time with the company, so on-boarding remotely can leave you feeling unsupported and detached from the organisation and your colleagues.  

Although you might get a better work/life balance when working remotely, you can also blur the lines between your work life and personal life. Having your workspace in the same vicinity as the place you normally relax can have a negative impact on your ability to enjoy your time at home when you’re not working. Careful consideration needs to be taken for where you set up your home office. You need to set some WFH boundaries, so you can step away from your desk, shut off from work and still relax at home.  

Better mental health is associated with more job flexibility and remote working, but it can be quite isolating if you are fully remote. If you know you’ll be craving the human interaction you’d get at the office, you’ll need to ensure you still leave enough time to socialise with family, friends and colleagues. This can be integral to your mental health and overall quality of life.

When considering the remote vs. office working debate, it’s clear that it comes down to individual preferences, so you need to consider what will be right for you. Hybrid working can create a better balance than fully remote or office-based, giving you the best of both worlds. Most employers have embraced flexible work patterns since the pandemic, if they weren’t before, particularly when cloud technology, like Workday®, is available.  

Are you lacking this flexibility in your current role? Focus on WD are a global specialist Workday® recruitment consultancy, so one of our consultants will be able to help see if there’s something else out there that offers you the flexibility you need. Get in touch for a confidential discussion.

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