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The Pros and Cons of Remote Work and Combating Loneliness Among Telecommuters

Today’s small businesses rarely look like the quaint mom-and-pops of 50 years ago. From basement-run carpentry workshops to home-office design studios, small-business headquarters can be anywhere their employees are, from the living room to the local Starbucks. For some small businesses, remote work is essential for balancing the budget. Office spaces are expensive to rent, and with tools like instant messaging and video conferencing to keep employees connected, there’s no reason to waste money on the square footage. Plus, most folks would rather work from home anyway, for a variety of reasons. That’s according to a recent study of 500 remote U.S. workers by TSheets by QuickBooks. Among those surveyed, 67 percent of respondents said they work remotely sometimes, while 33 percent said they work remotely daily. Respondents were asked to rate their experience in relation to everything from mental health to productivity. Remote work pros and cons As with any work arrangement, telecommuting has its pros and cons. For instance, working from home means a shorter commute — approximately the time it takes to get from your bed to your desk or sofa, or wherever you set up shop for the day. Conversely, working remotely can be a bit lonely, as it’s tough to get the same human interaction with co-workers from a solitary home office. Nevertheless, among employees, the option to telecommute is a popular one, regardless of its cons. According to another recent study, 57 percent of workers would like the option to work from home. If you’re considering a telecommute position or thinking about instigating a remote work policy for your employees, here are a few of the pros and cons you can expect, based on survey responses. Pros: Increased productivity Better physical health Better mental health Cons: A constant need to prove productivity Difficulties with self-motivation Loneliness Despite the fact 53 percent of respondents said working outside the office allowed them to be more productive, most felt their workmates had an unfair perception of their productivity. When asked what their concerns were when working remotely, “people think I’m not working” was the second most popular…

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