The growing trend in the corporate world of BYOD has caused a lot of debate over whether or not remote working is viable for companies. There are strong arguments on both sides of the fence. A recent announcement from Yahoo has brought new light to the pros and cons of working from home vs. working in the office. Yahoo announced that they will be requiring all employees to work on site starting June, which means over 200 hundred remote workers will have to adapt.
One of the biggest issues that arise with remote working is whether or not employees are achieving maximum productivity. With the freedom to essentially work at your own pace, the potential to slack off or take it easy increases. Also, working from home presents distractions such as television, running errands, and even children in certain cases.
There have been several studies that show working from home can lead to more productive workers. The U.K based telecom company O2 experimented by allowing over 3,000 of their employees telecommute. Over one third (36%) of the workers reported being more productive as a result of being able to work from home.
Another experiment from Stanford University compared the productivity of employees of a travel agency. The experiment allowed 200 of the 12,000 employees to work from home. The results showed that the employees who worked remotely took more phone calls, took less days off, and even worked more hours than the on-site employees.
Not all companies have achieved positive results from a remote workforce however. Yahoo’s decision to end their remote working program was partially due to reported decreases in productivity.
The financial pros and cons
There is a financial aspect also involved with remote working. Employees who work from home save money on several work related expenses such as transportation, lunch, and even clothing. Working from home allows employees to potentially save thousands of dollars every year on these expenses.
Companies also have a financial stake in the decision to discontinue remote working programs. More employees in the office can lead to increased utility usage, more office supplies, and other expenses. As noted above however, employees who work from home tend to take less sick days. This means employers who allow remote working can potentially get more production for their money.
Bringing employees back to the office
For companies who have allowed remote working for extended periods of time like Yahoo, chances are employees have become accustom to the work-from-home atmosphere. Making the transition from remote working to being back in the office can be difficult. There are steps that employers can take to make the transition easier.
Employers should consider allowing BYOD since employees have likely already been using their own personal devices for business purposes while telecommuting. Since the employees will now be in the office, managing their business activity on personal devices is a bit easier. With MDM tools, companies can closely monitor mobile assets in the workplace.
MDM is even great for companies that allow remote working. With integrated IT Help Desk Software, any issues that remote workers experience can easily be reported and handled even if they aren’t in the office.
Another area of concern will be mobile security. With all of the potential security threats today, many companies have adopted some sort of mobile device policy for employees in the office. This infographic explains why you should care about mobile security. However, the topic is rarely discussed with remote workers. It is very important that remote workers returning to the office are briefed on, and adhere to the company’s mobile device policies.
There are several other factors that play a role in remote working such as our need for social interaction, ill feelings from employees who are unable to work from home, and others. There will never be a unanimous answer to whether or not remote working is the best solution. The answer will depend on the company and the employees involved.