Now that 2020 is rounding up and coming to an end, it’s important to take inventory and consider the changes and events that defined this year. From a business perspective, almost none are more prominent than the collective migration out of the work-place and into the virtual office. In this post, I’m going to list off the pros and cons of this work environment and then give some perspective on how these pros and cons can be integrated into the post-covid work-environment.
While some employers might like the peace of mind that having all employees in the same area brings, research shows that over 75% of workers prefer a virtual work-place. This can be chalked up to several factors, one of which being the freedom of personal-time that workers can enjoy under this system. While in-person work-places encourage knocking out work all at once in one sitting, some workers have different styles of productivity that is harder to accomplish in this set-up. Having the ability to interchange between personal life and work-life while exceeding at both is a positive note that the virtual work-place has provided for workers.
Month by month, companies spend over $500 per employee on office space. This can be a steep cost for startups and smaller companies that could spend just between 50-100$ per employee by using a virtual work-place. While this is, of course, a small fee for many organizations, it can be a fantastic way to save money.
Extended Talent Pool
The reality of hiring in the past was that your talent pool was limited to your location. Today, however, many people find themselves living and working in two cities across the country. While this may be inconvenient for the need to travel for larger physical meetings, this is still a win-win for both the company and the employee. The company is able to recruit a more diverse and qualified candidate, while the employee is able to apply to a broader number of jobs in their desired field. This flexibility can only be advanced by the integration of virtual workplaces at your company.
Unfortunately due to covid and the quarantine that has come with it, many people have developed feelings of social isolation. Due to an inibility to see friends, family, or work-mates there has been a national shortage of socializing. This is also one of the biggest criticisms of working in a virtual environment. It can difficult for those with a high need for socialization to operate happily and productively.
Reduced ability to collaborate
Collaboration is essential in the modern work-place. Being able to utilize the skills of several employees for the same project allows for a greater level of unified ability at your company. The key components of a work-place that can efficiently collaborate are creativity, culture, and relationships between employees. This can be complicated with virtual work-places as your employees may have a difficult time developing these relationships. There are ways to combat this, such as employee outings (in non-covid times), but regardless risking your offices ability to collaborate effectively is a risk that must be acknowledged.
By using these pros and cons, as well as your own personal experiences, tailoring your work place to match your needs, as well as those of the workers in the company, is extremely advantageous. It’s also important to mention that the answer doesn’t have to be black and white. A hybrid work-environment, if done properly, can also lead to a high functioning environment that yields positive results.