Although they were terms that already existed long before the global crisis was generated as a result of the pandemic caused by COVID-19, teleworking and remote work are two words that have been incorporated into our vocabulary in a natural way and both modalities promise to stay in our daily lives for a long time.
Both have been implemented by companies to protect their employees and thus avoid crowds of people at workplaces and prevent the virus from being infected, as well as to make their technological environment safer and more agile.
But, have you ever wondered what is each one for, what are its differences, its advantages and disadvantages? Here we will try to explain it to you in the best possible way.
Definition of telecommuting and remote work
In the case of telecommuting, it refers to working remotely, whether you are at home, in a coworking space, in a different city, on the train, on an airplane or anywhere other than your workspace.
On the other hand, remote work is working online or virtually, from a computer or virtual session through remote access, making use of a user session that is centralized.
But are they the same?
They may have some kind of relationship between one and the other, but telecommuting and remote work are two types of work that have differences between one and the other.
In telecommuting, the employee is always out of the office, so its definition has more to do with its location to other places to continue fulfilling its functions. In this case, he is usually isolated from the corporate technology infrastructure.
In the case of remote work, the employee does not have to be out of the office to fulfill his functions. This term refers more to the technological architecture and user sessions, as well as the way in which you are given access to applications, data and system resources.
Advantages of telecommuting
Although the possibility of being out of the office doing our work may seem like an advantage, either from the comfort of our home or in a place like a heavenly place, telecommuting and remote work also have their disadvantages.
Some advantages of telecommuting:
Yes, in the case of telecommuting, we can take a plane and go to a Caribbean island, with beaches of turquoise blue water and white sands, to fulfill our duties. We can also prepare a space in our home to place a desk with the decoration we want, away from the noise that may be generated at some point and from there also do our work.
In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport says that it is possible to organize effectively to do our work in as little as four hours. That is another of the advantages of telecommuting, which allows us flexibility in working hours. In fact, A Nintex Workplace 2021 study shows that 41 percent of the people surveyed said they are getting their work done in far fewer hours per week.
And speaking of hours, you save time and expense of having to travel from homes to workplaces. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 25 million U.S. workers spent more than 90 minutes commuting every day.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, the average household spent $2,094 on gas and motor oil, while total transportation expenditures reached $10,742. That’s about $29 per day spent on transportation. By the way, did we mention that all this reduces contamination?
Being at home, the employee has more time to share and reconcile with his family. That greater amount of free hours also allows them to dedicate themselves to leisure and relaxation activities that, in the long run, allow them to rest more and be more productive when doing their work. The Nintex Workplace 2021 study found that 70 percent of respondents stated that their experiences working from home have been better and more productive than they initially projected.
It is true that with telecommuting you run the risk of falling into isolation with respect to the organization for which you work and also with who your co-workers are. It is always important to leave a space to socialize and share, however, since these interruptions do not exist, it is possible to fulfill tasks and work functions more quickly.
Even people with disabilities benefit from telecommuting, since by not having to travel, with all that this implies, the barriers that allow them to fulfil their work functions are reduced.
Advantages of telecommuting for the company
Not everything is an advantage for the worker. Organizations that have implemented telecommuting as part of their dynamics have experienced a series of benefits that, in most cases, translate into a significant reduction in costs.
Companies that have begun to apply telecommuting, not having employees within their facilities, have made the decision to become Virtual First companies and have decided to eliminate workspaces that they will no longer need in the future. This is the case of companies like Dropbox, Slack or Zoom.
By not having employees in your offices or headquarters, they do not need to invest heavily in supplies and consumables.
As most of the employees are at home performing their duties, absenteeism and hours or days of paid leave are drastically reduced.
Another advantage is that there is greater attraction and retention of talent, in addition to the possibility of hiring such talent from anywhere in the world.
Being in the comfort of home or in a space where there is greater concentration on the part of the employee, allows them to meet deadlines more effectively.
Disadvantages of telecommuting
Not all that glitters is gold in telecommuting. And is that not all jobs can be done under this modality.
Yes, it is true that when we are at home working we are calmer and it could be believed that we carry out our tasks more easily. But the truth is that if we don’t know how to choose our work environment well, we can fall into unnecessary distractions that could lead to bigger problems such as less effective delivery times for our projects and work commitments.
When we are far from our offices or traditional workplace, and, therefore, far from our colleagues and work teams, the tasks assigned to us and also collaborative functions are reduced.
Being away from the corporate infrastructure also takes us away from the possibility of having a greater sense of belonging within the organization. This in turn translates into greater difficulty when managing and motivating remote teams.
Another disadvantage of telecommuting is the fact that the worker who stays at home must assume a series of expenses that his employer assumed in previous circumstances. The costs of electricity, internet connection and even snacks are now borne by the employee.
Being at home does not mean being less connected to the office. The need is created to implement online communication tools and applications that perhaps did not exist before for the employee and that now they must make use of them to be always available to their organization.
Advantages of remote work
Most of the advantages that we find with remote work are associated with the issue of technology and hardware infrastructure.
The first advantage is that the costs of equipment and hardware are reduced, therefore, consumption within the organization is also reduced.
As there is greater centralization and consolidation of systems, this translates into greater security and protection of the IT environment.
There is a high availability to sessions, applications and files.
There will also be greater agility in the deployment of new users and apps, which also means that there will be better management and control and user profiles.
Remote work needs
More than talking about disadvantages in remote work, we talk about the needs that exist to be able to comply with this modality.
Remote work has created the need for physical infrastructure for consolidation, for the implementation of advanced technological environments and to virtualise resources and secure endpoints.
The most important thing in both modalities is to know how to implement remote work technology environments with secure accesses to guarantee the perimeter protection of the environment, as well as the backup of data generated and modified in the daily activity of remote workers.
It is important to consolidate, centralize and virtualise the resources of the technological infrastructure to facilitate its global effectiveness.
Are you dreaming about working remotely? If you are thinking about what destination to choose, then you should not miss this article: 5 signs you may be ready to work remotely on an island