The concept of remote work is not entirely new. In fact, this type of model has been used by several companies for decades now. A lot of content and digital marketing companies have been implementing this. This allows them to tap into a limitless talent pool from different time zones worldwide.
Since the pandemic started, even traditional businesses have embraced this working model mainly out of concern for their safety. It’s safe and at the same time, it’s convenient. Almost all companies and business establishments have resorted to the online world to keep them afloat during this health crisis. This includes allowing employees to enjoy more flexible working arrangements allowing them to still make a living and protect their health.
However, as convenient and as comfortable working from home is, it may have its advantages and challenges that don’t make it a practical solution for all businesses.
Why Remote Work Doesn’t Work for Everyone
Remote work arrangements have helped keep plenty of establishments and companies stay above water throughout this pandemic. However, it’s just not practical for certain groups of people and businesses for the following reasons:
Some businesses require workers to be physically present at the workplace
Let’s start with the most obvious reason: not all businesses are designed for a remote work setup. There may be a lot of jobs that can easily transition into the virtual world but a lot of blue-collar jobs require workers to be physically present. Industries depend on people showing up to the workplace to get specific jobs done. We’re talking about construction workers, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, truck drivers, medical healthcare workers, first responders, and a whole lot more.
Communication gaps are bound to happen
Where services are outsourced, especially when the workers employed are from different countries, there’s always bound to be certain language barriers that greatly affect the communication within the business network. It’s not an impossible challenge to deal with but it will take a lot of work, especially if it involves highly skilled people who are linguistically challenged.
Some people view remote work as stepping stones to something bigger
One of the challenges of employing remote work arrangements is the high attrition rate among employees. Unfortunately, a lot of people look at remote work as a means to an end. A lot of people get into it to help tide them over until a better job opportunity comes along.
This doesn’t go well for businesses, especially if certain positions are often vacated. The number of resources that go into recruiting, training, and tasks turnover could have been put to good use in other aspects of the business instead.
Accountability and management are harder
When most of the world transitioned to working from the comfort of their homes, one of the things a lot of people enjoyed is the absence of managers and supervisors that are constantly hovering over them to make sure they get the job done right.
This mindset somehow translated into a more carefree work ethic for a lot of people who had the misconception that remote work is a field day compared to showing up every day at the office. This has put teams at a disadvantage initially and managers had to act quickly to ensure that workers still exhibited exemplary work ethics even when they’re not physically around. Things may have gotten better for some teams but it continues to be a struggle for others.
Security is a major concern
Even before the pandemic happened, a lot of marketing companies have already been implementing a work-from-home structure that gives them access to a greater talent pool. While this may be a great opportunity for all parties involved, it comes with certain risks. On top of cultural and language barriers, there are also certain legal differences between countries that employers need to observe, or at least be sensitive to.
Certain legal restrictions somehow limit a company from the US, for instance, to take action especially if there has been some sort of fraud or security breach. While you would normally call for the services of an immigration bail bondsman to help resolve sensitive matters regarding the employment of foreigners, it’s an entirely different ballgame when it’s online.
Negative effects of isolation and separation on mental health
Lastly, just as not all businesses are designed for remote work setup, a lot of people are similarly not wired for it mentally and emotionally. While we’re all forced to adapt to the current changes this global health crisis has brought, human interaction and sociability have been taken away from us. To a lot of folks, these are their primary motivators to get out of bed each morning and go to work. The camaraderie and group dynamics that make working in a team are just not the same and plenty of people worldwide are struggling with it. Loneliness and despair creep in which significantly affect a person and his or her performance.
Employers and managers should be more sensitive to this issue and address it as much as they can to ensure their workforce gets ample emotional support at this time.
Remote work is a great solution for most companies and businesses to stay afloat during this health crisis. But adapting to the present changes and being creative and responsible enough to ensure the workplace is safe for those who cannot work from home will help other businesses recover and gain new momentum.