A few years ago, there was no talk of the advantages of teleworking. The option of teleworking seemed to be reserved for freelancers, some particular positions in creative or professional companies that were almost branded as eccentric. There were not a few who imagined working from home as a way to spend the day in their pajamas and alternate distractions with obligations. Nothing is further from reality.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a radical change in this conception, and many people have been working efficiently from home for more than a year. It is not an easy change, and without such an exceptional circumstance, it would not have occurred on a massive scale. But now, with more than enough time to take stock, its advantages suggest that it is here to stay. Probably not the only option, but indeed at least a few days a week for those who decide to do so.
And it is that teleworking brings a series of benefits that many employees will want to continue enjoying from now on. And for companies, it also involves a series of exciting changes.
The first great advantage of teleworking for employees is that it allows them greater freedom, more possibilities to make their schedule more flexible in many cases, and, consequently, it facilitates the reconciliation between work and family life. As has been seen over these months, it is responsible freedom: the work is done satisfactorily, but with the possibility of adapting to the needs of each professional.
Having this freedom on the part of the company has an added effect: it increases confidence on the part of the worker and increases their satisfaction with the job.
Telecommuting saves time and money from travelling to and from the workplace. Avoiding a good number of weekly hours in the car or combining public transport itineraries also reduces stress and accumulated fatigue so that you can perform better.
Working remotely also allows you to prepare coffee, snacks and food at home and reduces the need to invest in more formal clothing to go to the office. At the end of the year, the lump sum can be a significant economic amount.
If the distance to the workplace was a fundamental aspect when choosing where to live, continuous teleworking or teleworking a few days a week allows us to rethink that decision. It is no longer necessary to live in the city centre or a few minutes from a metro stop. Suppose you do not need to make this journey twice a day. In that case, you can opt for more small neighbourhoods, smaller municipalities or even small rural towns -provided they have an excellent internet installation- that is more suited to the pace and quality of life each person wants.
Working in an office requires extra concentration: crosstalk, ringing telephones and constant noise are a source of distraction that is difficult to escape. On the other hand, working from home allows you to choose moments of absolute silence in which you can focus, focus all your thoughts on the task at hand, and increase productivity during that time.
In teleworking, each employee chooses how to design their job within their home’s possibilities. Having more or less natural light, playing music at certain times, having everything neatly organized or living in a chaos of paperwork are individual decisions that no colleague can protest against.
For several years now, various studies have been analyzing changes in productivity by employees who work remotely. These are analyzes carried out before confinement and, therefore, do not include the stress derived from that specific moment. But the results are precise. Research from Stanford University, for example, states that the productivity of telecommuters is 13% higher than that of those who work in the office.
From the business point of view, teleworking also represents a change with positive aspects. From the outset, a lower simultaneous presence of employees in the offices makes it possible to opt for smaller spaces and, in any case, represents savings in maintenance, cleaning or updating of furniture, among others.
The figures indicate that teleworking reduces sick leave and expands the possibilities in personnel selection processes because proximity to the company’s headquarters is no longer essential. This aspect also facilitates greater diversity among the workforce because workers from more distant areas or even from other countries, or people with a disability that could prevent them from commuting to an office every day, can be part of the company without complications.
The higher productivity mentioned above also obviously has very beneficial effects for companies. Additionally, increased flexibility in scheduling increases worker loyalty and talent retention.
The advantages of teleworking are many, in turn, some possible adverse effects. According to an extensive international survey, the feeling of loneliness and the difficulty of disconnecting from work are the most prominent factors. That is why teleworking must have support measures from companies, which must detect if there is any risk to mental health and act to avoid it.