Editor’s note: The Rumpus October blog post covered how employers could use remote workers. This November blog is written from the viewpoint of Paulette Senior and the (remote) Rumpus editorial team.
I have worked at Rumpus for more than three years, always working from home (WFH), and knew from the start that our CEO was at the forefront of business trends because she early on had a remote work policy (RWP). Here’s why.
From a 2018 study, when only 37% worked for a company with an RWP, employees from the other 63% of companies said:
- 52% said they were frustrated and wanted to WFH
- 46% said whether or not a company had an RWP was important when considering a job
- 40% said they would consider taking a pay cut to WFH
Fast-forward to 2022, after COVID accelerated WFH, and the numbers have certainly increased. According to the American Community Survey published in September 2022 by the U.S. Census Bureau, WFHers tripled from 5.7% (9 million) in 2019 to 17.9% (27 million) in 2021. Another study released in 2020 showed that 8% worked full-time from home BC (before Covid), increasing to 35% by May 2020. And, 70% WFH at least once a week.
Before we go into the “official” pros and cons, these are my favorite points about WFH:
- Working my own hours — “According to my sleep patterns” is an important addition here. As a former newspaper journalist, I loved working those crazy night hours (4 p.m. to 1 a.m.) and then “relaxing” at the bar across the street once the presses were rolling, but now as a “mature” woman, I love working in the early morning hours.
- Creating my own environment — I love working in my own, quiet—emphasis on quiet—study, surrounded by my favorite things collected over the years, family photos, and reminders of my much-loved alma mater. If I get lonely, I call in Lizzie the dog to keep me company. She never agrees with me!
- More production — According to the 2018 study, 57% of WFHers said they were more productive, 38% said equally productive, and 4% said less productive. I’m definitely among the 57%.
One “official” pro was not having to worry about your attire—pajamas are apparently the de rigueur remote office uniform—but I do miss getting dressed up for the office each day, and most of all, having no reason to buy more shoes! For which, I add, my husband is grateful.
Officially, from several studies, the top pros, as well as mine, are:
- Better work-life balance — True, but discipline is required, to not work too much, or too little, because “no one will know.”
- Improved morale and job satisfaction
- Reduced stress — You don’t even have to worry about the weather or getting to the office late!
- Time saved — No more long commutes, endless meetings, or time wasted gossiping at the water fountain—which could be a con for some.
For me, the top downside is missing the face-to-face interactions and the camaraderie. The study also listed:
- Interruptions from family and friends who do not understand you are “really” working
Two serious considerations are, according to another study:
- Invisibility — Many WFHs feel that they get forgotten when it comes to promotions and raises. That is not the case at Rumpus, so it doesn’t have to be that way.
- Less pay — Freelancers generally are paid less.
But, you say, I’m running a veterinary practice that is not so conducive to WFH, and that’s true. However, flexibility is key to WFH. Your RWP doesn’t need to cover every day or every employee. Your customer service representatives could easily book appointments from home, and other team members could work remotely part-time for administrative duties like updating client education materials, chart auditing, and inventory management. (See 7 Ways to Use Remote Team Members).
The most important statistic that I found was this—22% of WFHers said they were happier and more productive.
So, studies, and my personal experience, show that despite the few downsides, WFHers are happy employees, and happy employees are productive employees and an asset to every business.
Ask your team members how they would prefer to work! When they no doubt say, “Remotely,” develop an RWP, ensure you establish the need for everyone to be flexible, and—most importantly—establish a culture of trust.
However, if you are not yet ready to join the “new normal” with WFHs because you need to develop a RWP, you need Rumpus Writing and Editing. Our (remote) writers and editors can customize any policy, or other written document, you need. Contact us to join the WFH revolution.
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