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The Pros and Cons of a Remote Workforce

woman at home office, having video conference with co-workers.

According to an Upwork report, the number of remote workers is expected to exceed 36 million by 2025. That is over 22 percent of the current workforce.

Is this statistic a healthy one?

Well, there are a number of factors at play, but an analysis of this question can be largely boiled down to a simple pros/cons list. Here are some of the most obvious.




1. Boosted Morale

According to a grow remotely survey featured by Forbes, 97 percent of employees and entrepreneurs expressed their preference for workplace flexibility. This means that the vast majority of workers prefer working remotely at least some of the time.

It has also been shown that employees are less likely to leave employers who provide work-from-home options, reducing turnover.

2. More Days Worked

In a survey conducted by OnePoll, two out of three Americans felt less inclined to take time off for minor illnesses when working from home. When a fair portion of one’s job responsibilities can be accomplished from a computer in bed, sick leave is a lot less common.

3. Not a Huge Productivity Hit

It may come as a surprise to many, but working from home hasn’t really shown to negatively impact productivity. In fact, the opposite has been true in many cases. In a pre-pandemic study published by SHRM, it was found that, of those who worked remotely at least a few times per month, 77 percent reported greater productivity while working offsite.

In another pre-pandemic study, working from home showed to increase productivity by up to 13 percent

Now, just a few years later, we have seen more technological advancement and more focus on remote workflows. We can reasonably assume work-from-home productivity figures have only benefited.

Working from home hasn’t really shown to negatively impact productivity. In fact, the opposite has been true in many cases.

4. Budget Benefits 

For many organizations, partially remote or fully-remote work environments have prompted them to downsize, saving on workspace costs. This has allowed some employers to reinvest that money into their business and their employees. 




1. Potential Strain on Collaboration

It’s no argument that talking with someone face-to-face is easier and more secure than communicating with miles of distance between parties. Poor internet connections, audio feedback, camera malfunctions, and more can make communication a bit harder. Simply put, scheduling meetings and tying up loose ends can be a bit more tricky in remote working environments.

Addressing the Issue

An organization that allows employees to work remotely needs to button up its communication processes. There is a reason the pandemic lined the pockets of companies such as Slack and Zoom. These remote communication tools work, and with a little bit of strategy, can introduce efficiencies where they never before existed.

2. Accountability Challenges

Keeping an eye on the day-to-day of your workforce is, of course, more challenging in remote environments. For employees who don’t punch in or log time, it can be difficult to know if your people are really giving their best during the workday.

Addressing the Issue

Simple measures can be taken to combat this issue. Having all employees check in via your chat channel at the beginning of the day can let you know who is “showing up” on time each day. For some industries, task management software that allows employees to log work time may also be useful. It is also a good idea to establish productivity metrics for each department and make sure workers are meeting goals.

3. More Casual Workflow

It’s no secret that, when working from home, the bed and pillow begin to tempt as the mid-day lulls roll around. Taking a few extra breaks also becomes much easier when there is no one physically supervising. Working from home can take some employees out of “the zone” and blend home time and work time a little more than is ideal.

Addressing the Issue

While this is one of the hardest remote workplace issues to combat, perhaps employers can evaluate when such a casual environment becomes a negative thing. When work isn’t getting done, quality takes a dive, or communication becomes spotty, only then does it really become a problem. 

4. Quiet Quitting and Double-Dipping

As we have discussed in previous articles, both quiet quitting and double-dipping trends are becoming worrisome, and it’s no secret that some offenders take advantage while hiding behind a diligent work-from-home guise.

While this is a concern, there are solutions that can help employers better vet their employees from the outset and monitor their work behaviors after their hire date. These solutions aren’t meant to impose burdens on employees but rather allow employers to do their due diligence as their workforce is given more autonomy.

Addressing the Issue

Mitigate Double-Dipping with Employment Monitoring

Use Background Screening to Combat “Quiet Quitting” in 2023


Every Organization Is Different

Determining a work-from-home policy is very organization-specific. For some, it works very well. For others, it will never be possible. However, we suggest that if it is a possibility, you weigh the pros and cons, poll your workforce, strengthen communication, follow good screening practices (pre-hire and ongoing), and always keep an eye on performance. The decision will often make itself.

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