Author: Laurene Ekladious
Date of Publication: 17/02/2023
Flexible work offers both employers and employees some advantages and drawbacks. Benefits of flexible work arrangements include greater flexibility, lower real estate costs, higher productivity and greater job satisfaction. However, there are some potential drawbacks of telecommuting too. In fact, remote work can lead to issues with team cohesion, communication and data security.
Overview: What Is Flexible Working?
Flexible working can be defined as a type of work that allows employees to choose where and when to work. Moreover, it can take the form of flexible hours, telecommuting, or a combination of both. This type of work can have many advantages and disadvantages, so let’s see which ones there are.
Advantages of Flexible Working
One of the main advantages of flexible work is that employees can choose their work schedule based on their personal and professional needs. This allows employees to better manage their time and stress. In addition, the benefits of a flexible schedule include:
a major recruiting asset
better work-life balance
The Benefits of Flexible Work for Employees and Employers
Flexible work has some benefits for both employees and employers.
1. Employees benefit from a better work-life balance
Because employees have more flexibility, they have more time to pursue other interests and meet personal obligations. Working from home may also save many employees time, which would otherwise be spent in traveling to the office.
2. Employers benefit from increased attractiveness
Flexible schedules and telecommuting are new working models that can benefit employers by increasing their company’s attractiveness. Because of their increased attractiveness, a higher number of potential, talented candidates may apply for job positions. This means that the more job positions are filled with talented employees, the more the company is likely to succeed.
Disadvantages of Flexible Working
Despite the advantages, there are also some drawbacks to having more flexibility at work or working remotely, including:
1. Decreased sense of belonging
Often due to a lack of contact, team members may feel a decreased sense of belonging to the company. This may in turn decrease their work performance and motivation, and increase isolation and negative mood.
2. Decreased cohesion
Another common disadvantage that may result from remote work is a decreased cohesion between teams and team members. This lack of cohesion can have negative consequences for the performance of employees and the company as a whole. Success may be slower when a company lacks team cohesion.
3. Decreased communication
This applies to communication between employees and/or between employees and employers. In fact, a lack of communication may also result in poor employee supervision and monitoring. Both performance and work quality may decrease as a consequence of decreased (or poor) communication.
4. Challenges of coordination
Similar to communication, coordination between at home and in-office workers may be harder when it comes to remote work. Hence the importance of ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
5. Increased risk of sensitive data being compromised and employee alienation
Sensitive data is more likely to be compromised if not protected properly when working from a distance. This means that flexible working brings along some complex security issues that need to be taken into account.
Another disadvantage is that flexible work can often lead to a higher risk of employee alienation from decision-making processes. Employees input is essential for effective decision-making, so when this is lacking, the company’s success is less likely.
6. The need for training and good planning skills
This point refers to the fact that flexible scheduling can feel uncomfortable to some employees, especially if they have poor management or planning skills. When there are no management or planning skills, performance will be affected.
In addition, when it comes to remote work, training employees on how to use technologies is a must. However, such training may be expensive and time consuming.
It is important that companies find the time to carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of flexible work before adopting it. Apart from that, it is equally important for employers to consider the aspects that allow for the successful implementation of a flexible working model.
In the end, hybrid working is probably the best solution. This is because it combines remote working with on-site working. That way, some people may work 3 days at the office and 2 days from home. During the 2 days at home they may organize other activities and be able to meet personal obligations. Doesn't it sound like the perfect work-life balance?