Working From Home Versus Working Remotely: Key Differences

Working From Home Versus Working Remotely: Key Differences

Working from home and remote work

The past year has flipped working life on its head, forcing employees to adapt to an entirely new work environment. This has predominantly included the move to online. Whilst some have elected to work from home, others are choosing to work remotely. Despite sounding similar, these are different things, and have come with contentious questions around productivity and efficiency. In this article, we’ll explain the differences between working home versus working remotely.

Working from home denotes a temporary situation, where employees will work from home due to sickness, care-taking or a pandemic. However, remote working suggests taking on a work environment that is entirely outside the office, as a permanent solution. Remote working also means anywhere outside ‘home’. For example, it might even be a small studio office, a coffee shop or a boutique open-work space. There are both benefits and downsides to WFH and remote work.

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Working from Home: Upsides and Downsides

It may be that an employee needs to work from home that day due to care-taker responsibilities, or a mild cold. For this reason, WFH is a great option for your workers to give them some flexibility in their schedule. It is not allowing for a complete adoption of remote work – but rather the temporary option.

The issue with a possible WFH option for employee is distraction. Without the self-starting/time management skills of a permanent remote worker, employees’ efficiency may decrease dramatically. Distracted with the admin of being at home, or a crying child, getting that report done may not be top of mind. Remote workers on the other hand are more seasoned to these challenges, leaving productivity less of an issue.

Remote Work: Upsides and Downsides

Working remotely as a permanent option for certain workers comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. Time spent on getting ready for work and commuting can rather be replaced with maximising performance through streamlined productivity. Additionally, without the distraction of other employees, the white-noise of an office, or the call of the coffee shop downstairs, home may actually be more productive. 

However, even if your employee has mastered the art of creating a work environment from their home, the permanency of this setup comes with its own unique challenges. For example, without regular face-to-face meetings/run-ins it is easy to become estranged from your team. This may lead to creative blocks, minimal innovation, and a lack of collaborative thinking with little to no accountability checks and balances. For some industries or workplaces, these may not be huge issues, allowing remote work to take precedence. However, for most, collaboration and team work is integral to productivity and innovation.

To read more about the impacts of COVID on the workplace, and other employment and HR concerns, click here.

What will work look in the future?

COVID has changed many things – including the way we work. It isn’t ridiculous to assume that some pandemic adapted habits will stick. For example, Facebook recently announced that they will partake in a move towards ‘remote work’. Over the next 12 years, the tech supergiant is planning on moving 50% of employees into remote work plans. As discussed, this may come with major benefits like higher productivity and morale as workers gain greater flexibility and responsibility. However, it may also bring loneliness, distraction and creative blackouts to companies. Employees may be unable to balance work and home life, and be too far from their peers to collaborate and innovate. Ultimately this may plague companies with lacking efficiency and productivity, as well as the creativity, ingenuity, loyalty and camaraderie that comes from working around like minded peers.

Either way, the adoption of work from home and remote work has completely transformed the corporate sphere – whether we like it or not. On top of that, COVID has forced our temporary WFH to become a permanent ‘remote’ solution – begging the question, have we developed the skills necessary to master the art of remote work? And if we have, what will work look like in years to come?


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