Office Culture: Should Companies Allow Virtual Workdays?
The virtual workday is becoming more common in today’s fast-paced workforce, where many of your employees may have to do tasks outside of the office or simply work better from their home offices. Below are some pros and cons of virtual workdays to help you determine whether they are right for your company.
Pros of Virtual Workdays
- Reduces overhead costs – Your business won’t have to purchase as many desks if you instate a desk rotation. For example, you could allot 5 desks to a team of 10 people with the understanding that half of them will be taking a virtual workday on any given weekday. Your utilities may also go down if you have fewer people in the office running computers.
- Higher productivity and job satisfaction – When your employees are allowed to work from home certain days of the week, they are able to avoid commute times and costs, allowing them to begin work earlier and increase job satisfaction.
- Good work/life balance – When an employee is productive during a virtual workday, he or she can start work immediately in the morning (instead of spending an hour to get to work), choose to work through the day and finish their tasks early. When their job for the day is done, your employees are then free to spend time with family, do chores, run errands, etc. even if the workday isn’t over.
- Flexibility – If you have team members who have to be out of the office to do tasks for their job anyways, the option of virtual workdays provides a convenient layer of flexibility so they can get their jobs done. For example, if someone has to oversee production at a warehouse that’s right beside his or her apartment, it would be more efficient to take a virtual workday and work from home in-between hourly warehouse visits.
Cons of Virtual Workdays
- Lack of human interaction – One of the most authentic ways for coworkers to bond is in person, during shared moments in the office like by the water cooler or out to lunch. If your company has a limited number of virtual workdays, then your employees still have a good chance to interact with one another, but depending on how schedules work out it’s unlikely to have everyone coordinating in the same space on the same day.
- Communication confusion – Sometimes it’s easier to just walk over to a desk and chat with someone directly, instead of having to send multiple emails trying to describe what you need done or if there’s an issue. When you have virtual workdays, there’s a chance that someone you want to speak to personally isn’t in the office that day, or vice versa.
- Unreliability – For virtual workdays to be successful, you must have employees who are responsible and reliable. You have to be able to trust these employees to get their jobs done without any supervision, and still produce high-quality work similar or better than what they would produce in the office. One of the dangers of virtual workdays comes when you hire unreliable employees who will waste their time during these virtual workdays and shirk their responsibilities.
A closing note: if you decide that your team is ready for a virtual workday or two during the week, be sure to invest in good collaboration and project management tools to keep your entire team on track and informed.
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