In this day and age, where technology has become more and
more available for all to use, becoming a “work from home” employee or
“teleworker” is a possibility for many employees. Although this sounds like an
attractive mode for many, it is not always as easy as it sounds, as it entails
a two-way compromise between the employee and the employer. There are many pros
and cons for both sides, and the intention of this article is to explore some
During the recent events that our world is experiencing today
(March 2020) with the COVID-19 Pandemic, many people have been involuntary
pushed into a temporary “work from home” mode, so that some businesses can
still carry operations and so that employees can help with the mandate of
social distancing through the lockdowns and curfews established by the
government. It has been an overnight change
and something many are not ready for, but have had to quickly try to adapt to
without too much planning or even having the right resources in place.
Under somewhat normal circumstances, the following are some
of the conditions typically seen for the teleworker model:
The employer “Pros”:
Cost Saving – no office space required along
with all cost associated with that, only minimal equipment provided to employee
(computer & phone) and a possible monthly reimbursement to employee for
internet/phone bills at home (not all employers do this).
Increased productivity and more work done – very
likely that the average employee has less distractions, more time, work is
always there as employee can and is sometimes expected to work anytime. Most teleworkers do express that they find
themselves working more at home than in the office, as work is always there and
there is usually “no real end to the work day”.
Access to more resources not locally available –
employers can now have resources working on projects with the necessary skills
(some which may be hard to find in some markets) even if they are not
physically located in their geographic area.
The employer “Cons”:
Difficult to manage resources and oversee daily
operations, it is a fact that some employees do not have the necessary
dedication and commitment for the work.
Security of company data, equipment can be of
concern and necessary measurements and controls need to be put in place.
Impersonal work environment.
The employee “Pros”:
Flexibility – work anytime, accommodate family
matters, work from anywhere if necessary
Productivity – no commute time, minimal
interruptions throughout the day, no wasted time in the hallway chatting with
Cost Savings – no need to spend on gas for
commuting, clothes to wear in the office and money for eating outside the house
The employee “Cons”:
No personal interactions, feeling of loneliness
Possible distractions around your home
Need for dedicated space, tools and supplies
How can this all come
together to work for all?
Employer – establishment of rules/policy/guidelines for
teleworkers and possible signed agreement.
Employee – having the right mindset, understanding of the
responsibility, dedication to the work, dedicated work space, and making
everyone understand at home about “work”.
Technology – having the right tools play an important part
in this teleworker model, as it facilitates and allows for this to happen. Some essential items needed:
High speed internet – at home or on the go
Equipment - Personal Computer, Tablet, Phone,
Collaborating Tools – Email, Instant Message,
Online conferences (meetings, screen sharing, whiteboards, video conferencing)
All points mentioned above can be applied to different size
businesses not only large corporations.
Certainly, not all job functions qualify for the “work from home” model,
but many can be adapted to. Overall many companies today are open to supporting
this model and many are finding real benefits from it. Companies
that chose not to support this, may be missing out of the benefits, specially
loosing access to the best qualified resources for their operations, and
potentially contributing to the loose of competitiveness in some cases.
author of this article works in the Information Technology industry in
Corporate America, and has been a successful teleworker working for various
companies and supporting multiple clients worldwide for the past 12 years.