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What Are the Pros and Cons of Distributed Work?

Tuesday September 15, 2020

Close up of a laptop with several remote employees video conferencing on the screen

Early into the COVID-19 pandemic, a McKinsey survey revealed that 54% of executives believed the shift to distributed working would be here to stay, while only 23% expected the change wouldn’t stick.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) research found CEOs expect 65% of the workforce to follow a hybrid remote model after COVID-19—and 18% are expected to be fully remote.

Why are things not reverting back to the way they were before the pandemic? One of the reasons is that remote working brings meaningful economic benefits to employees.


Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of remote working.

Benefits of Remote Work

In North America, Global Workplace Analytics estimated a typical employee can save $2.5-4K/year by working at home half the time.

These savings consist of:

  • Travel, parking, and food: Remote workers save on expenses such as lunch, gas costs, and parking. These savings are net of additional energy and home food costs.
  • Commuting: A half-time telecommuter saves the equivalent of 11 workdays per year in time they would have otherwise spent commuting. Extreme commuters save more than three times that amount.

In Europe, BCG estimated hybrid remote working could save employees €1.5-4K/year (€5-10K/year for fully remote workers).

Employees also value other benefits of remote working. Some of the top benefits employees report include:

  • Wearing casual clothes (69%)
  • Personalized workspaces (49%)
  • More time with family, friends and hobbies (47%)

The extensive benefits of remote work mean that remote work likely isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Challenges of Remote Work

Remote working isn’t without challenges. BCG highlights four of them:

  • Threat to productivity: With the right tools and strategies, remote work can improve productivity. However, 24% of managers believe that it’s difficult to drive team productivity in a remote environment.
  • Diminished team spirit: 39% of managers have a harder time helping their employees connect and engage with one another in a virtual workspace.
  • Onboarding challenges: 51% of managers have a much harder time maintaining workplace culture, especially when onboarding new employees.
  • Less innovation: Approximately 10% fewer managers of virtual teams feel they can drive innovation compared to in-person teams.

The good news is that these challenges can be overcome.

Maximizing Remote Work With Teamraderie

Each team’s context is unique, and our research shows purposefully-designed virtual experiences help distributed teams improve workplace culture, boost team spirit, increase productivity, and enhance innovation.

Check out our comprehensive list of experiences perfect for remote and hybrid teams, or take our quiz to find the best one based on your specific needs.

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