A study by Pew Research Center shows that only 20% of Americans worked from home prior to the coronavirus pandemic. During the outbreak, this number increased to a whopping 71%.
According to interviews with thousands of American employees, about 54% want to continue working from home post-pandemic, too. The case is similar all over the world. People want to continue working remotely even after the pandemic is over.
While most companies supported remote working for the duration of 2020 and 2021, very few businesses are willing to make this permanent.
So, this begs the question. Can working remotely hurt your career? Will it stunt your professional growth, lose out on promotions, and raises?
Or will remote working have a positive impact on your job – enabling you to become more productive and profitable than before?
Let’s take a closer look at what goes into determining if working remotely will hurt your career.
The Benefits of Working from Home
As an employee, you will be able to:
- Save time on travel and spend more time with family.
- Reduce your tiredness from commuting and make you more productive
- Have greater flexibility with your work schedule.
- Save money on commuting/travel, eating out for lunch, and work attire.
- Take care of your children and won’t have to invest in a childcare.
- Reduce your exposure to pollution, which is common during travel.
- Give yourself time to workout and cook healthy meals.
- Devote more time to your hobbies and personal growth.
- Move back to a place where housing costs are less.
As an employer, they will be able to:
- Save money by avoiding office space rental, utility bills, and other service expenses.
- Change timings to accommodate more global-level collaboration with cross-country teams.
- Attract top talent who may not be able to work from the office.
- Retain more employees as the benefits of remote working will reduce attrition.
- Benefit from higher productivity as employees will take fewer sick days.
- Experience more employee satisfaction and employee motivation.
The Disadvantages of Working from Home
For you (the employee)
- Not everyone can maintain the discipline it needs to work without manager supervision. This can cause problems with your productivity.
- Younger children, aged parents, or pets may become distractions, affecting your focus on the job.
- Your internet may be slow or technology may be faulty and not up to the needs of your job.
- The cost of internet, cloud storage, software and devices for work may be expensive for some employees (especially in companies where the business does not give access to tools).
- You may begin to feel isolated and bored due to lack of office banter. This may also affect your mental health.
- You may begin to feel less intellectually challenged due to the absence of face-to-face meetings and brainstorming sessions.
- You may find it hard to improve your performance without the presence of a friend, mentor, or supervisor.
- You may fall into the habit of working for longer hours than normal and this may lead to quick burnout.
- You may find it hard to develop important interpersonal skills and collaborative skills because you work alone.
For your company
- There is no guarantee about the data security and network security settings of the employees’ remote work location – your documents and resources may be at risk of getting hacked.
- It is more difficult for your company to monitor and manage employee performance remotely.
- It is difficult to track employee time utilization remotely.
- Your employees may feel demotivated and disengaged due to lack of team interaction.
- Your employees may not collaborate well because of technical incompatibility or the absence of team spirit (due to constant remote working).
- The absence of the right tools, technology, or resources can prevent your employees from doing their best work.
- It can become very easy for employees to bleed work time with personal time and vice versa. Both of which can affect company productivity and employee satisfaction.
Which is better – working remotely or from the office?
Arguably, both options have an equal number of positives and negatives. What matters at the end of the day are the company’s and the employee’s priorities and preferences.
According to interviews with thousands of American employees, about 54% want to continue working from home post-pandemic.
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Can working remotely negatively affect your professional growth?
This depends on the company you work for. Take Google for example. The company recently announced a pay cut for employees choosing to work from home post-pandemic.
The company has stated that they’ve always had the policy of paying at-office workers more than remote teams and this is not a new development.
Similarly, many companies around the world have a history of not promoting remote workers as often or as fast as in-office employees.
The primary reason is “out of sight, out of mind”. Additionally, according to a 2019 paper titled, Get Noticed and Die Trying: Signals, Sacrifice, and the Production of Face Time in Distributed Work, working from the office has better optics than remote working.
For example, there’s a strong perception in the work sphere that employees who work in the office are considered more committed to the job. And that they are more hard-working than employees working from home. This is because employers can physically see these people working every day.
In addition, studies have shown that having both in-office groups and remote groups, can create a sense of “us vs them” or “insiders vs outsiders”. This can affect the team’s ability to collaborate.
This can affect employee productivity, and, because of prevalent perceptions, remote workers bear the brunt of the blame most times.
So, if we consider all of these circumstances, there is definitely a chance that remote working can hurt your career growth. But it all depends on your unique scenario.
Things Aren’t All Bleak
However, we can’t dismiss working from home entirely.
Many start-ups and younger managements have realized the importance and benefits of allowing flexibility to their employees.
More companies are embracing a hybrid model of working where employees are given the freedom to work from home a few days a week, while working from the office for the rest.
Others have teams that alternate between in-office and remote working every few months. Still, more give employees the choice to decide where they want to work from.
You may not suffer from slow or stifled career growth in such flexible companies. In fact, research indicates that hybrid models will make companies more profitable by introducing diversity in staff.
Employers are more likely to reward employees through promotions and raises in these circumstances.
Should you work from home or the office?
Working from home and working from the office are both great options. If you’re not sure which one to choose, consider the following:
- Do you have any dependents who need your help/care?
- Is your job suitable for remote working or not?
- Are you willing to take a pay cut or slower promotion pace for remote flexibility?
- What are you looking for in terms of work-life balance?
- What are your long-term career aspirations?
These questions will help you make the right choice.
An individual life insurance policy can help make your decision easier.
We don’t know what changes the post-pandemic world will bring. Whatever you choose—remote or in-office working—it’s important to protect your financial stability and ensure your dependents are always provided for. This is where it helps to buy an individual term life insurance policy.
Group life insurance that employers offer are rarely enough coverage, and coverage is dependent on being employed. An individual term policy will follow you from employer to employer and coverage can be customized to fit your budget.
At Quotacy, we have life insurance policies for people with diverse needs and life goals. If you’re ready to find the right policy for you, you can start with a free life insurance quote.
If you’re not sure how much coverage you need, check out our life insurance needs calculator.
We look forward to helping you secure your family’s financial future.
About the writer
Director of Creative Strategy
Greg is Quotacy’s Director of Creative Strategy. He has an eclectic past from working on movie scripts to creating ad campaigns for major brands. His love of creative solutions drove him to strategy, and he now uses his powers to help families protect their loved ones. Outside of work, Greg spends his time off the grid hunting, fishing, camping, biking, hiking, and walking his dogs.