March 2017 – Working from a remote base, such as your home, is becoming more popular with today’s increasing level of connectivity. However, remote working has many disadvantages since “work” is dynamic and involves more than just the processing of a set list of duties. Intrinsically, going to a place of work is a social experience where you learn from and mentor others to accomplish certain tasks that simply cannot be done by oneself.
Nature has shown us that it is almost impossible to survive entirely on your own and that it is far better to surround yourself with others. The work environment is no different. Increasingly, reports from studies conducted to uncover the impact of loneliness on remote workers, (Perspectives on Psychological Science), are pointing to a rise in mental health matters, such as anxiety and depression, as well as physical health issues. It seems that by people having more ways to connect and work remotely, social isolation and loneliness is on the rise. These feelings of isolation, in turn, lead to increased absenteeism due to ill health, a decline in work productivity and ultimately a reduction in the organisation’s turnover.
In addition to loneliness as a disadvantage to working from a remote office, there are a number of other drawbacks that remote working presents.
Although working from home, may seem attractive, it is fraught with distractions. Demands from children at home, the temptation to catch up on your favourite TV series or to test out the latest computer game, the irresistible invitations from stay-at-home friends to lunch – all these require a high level of self-discipline.
Work-Life Balance and the Sacrifices
When you work both for yourself and from your home, extended working hours will creep up on you – especially since your clients can reach you virtually 24 hours a day, every day. It is vital for both your health and your relationship with your family, to have a dedicated office separating your business life from your personal one. Having a dedicated office will also help you to regulate your working hours, and give them some normal semblance.
Lack of Team Work
As an employer, you may have noticed that your employees, who work remotely, are not as engaged and community-orientated as the rest of your office-bound workers. It may surprise you to note that large tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple have built their offices in such a way as to discourage remote working and to encourage their employees to interact more frequently with each other. These tech giants understand that a closely-knit team, created through regular and informal networking in the office, is a happier one and has a higher level of job satisfaction – which ultimately leads to increased productivity.
For a company to be healthy, its employees need to understand its boundaries and how things are done. It is not possible to put everything on email. Narratives must be told, and these can only happen on a face-to-face basis. Intricate communication networks are formed through having conversations in the office, which aren’t always possible when you are working remotely. A Technology Review report, which analysed patterns representing the degree of engagement between people conversing, came to the conclusion that informal, face-to-face meetings were a more efficient way to spread information tailored to increase worker productivity, than formal meetings.
Negative Impact on Innovation
Remote working can result in missed opportunities to network and interact with others. You are far more likely to come up with an original idea when you are surrounded by other like-minded business people, than sitting on your own in your remote office. Remote working is not for everyone – nor is it for every organisation.
At The Business Exchange’s offices in Sandton, Morningside and Rosebank, we offer a variety of fully-furnished and stylish office space – available in configurations ranging from private offices to shared office spaces and co-working areas. Whether you want a full-time office or just a place for a few hours a week where you can network and socialise, we have flexible packages to suit every entrepreneur.
For more information, please visit our website.