Remote vs. On-Site Work: Pros and Cons

Remote vs. On-Site Work

The pandemic may be over but remote working (full or part-time) is here to stay! Advancements in technology make it easier and more cost-effective than ever before. Many people are rethinking how they structure their working lives. Before you decide if remote or traditional on-site work is best for you, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons of these entirely different working styles. What are the upsides and downsides to working on-site versus remotely? 

What is remote work?

Remote work is a highly flexible work arrangement based on fulfilling tasks and responsibilities from a location that’s not a typical office. An improvised office may be established anywhere, including in the employee’s home. The most frequent roles that fall under this category include:

  • Programming jobs (and other tech roles)
  • Data entry
  • Graphic and web design
  • Customer service and sales
  • Digital marketing
  • Online tutoring
  • Content writing

The pros of remote work:

  • No or limited commute time: A reduced or eliminated commute time saves money and reduces stress and road rage.
  • Cozy working conditions:  With no need to battle the elements, workers can stay home completing their tasks while in pyjamas and enjoying a cup of tea/coffee!
  • A custom work environment:  Work can be done from a bed, a home office, a desk, a kitchen table or wherever is most convenient. Work from a favourite coffee shop, your best friend’s house or anywhere that has good WIFI.
  • Healthy meals: No need for last-minute unhealthy drive-through options! Make a healthy meal or use a delivery service to have one brought to your location.
  • Fewer distractions: Control communications, answer calls and respond to emails based on your preferences. You can control the environment or move to a quieter place when distractions occur.
  • Increased independence: Less specific work procedures and routines are required. You have the flexibility of working in ways that suit you and increase your concentration and productivity. You may take breaks when/if you need them.
  • Improved connections: With devices, internet connection and the right software, you can connect with colleagues in different locations to work together on projects. Working remotely allows linking across regions. 
  • Reduced expenses: Little or no transportation costs, less need for office attire and reduced childcare costs bring down employment expenses. 
  • Increased productivity: An independent, quiet workspace often increases productivity. Time gained from reduced travel can be used to complete tasks. Breaks are taken when needed as opposed to when required may increase output. 
  • Heightened job opportunities: Working remotely often provides access to more job opportunities. You can apply to companies in different areas without commute barriers and explore international opportunities without relocating.
  • Better work/life balance: Fit in domestic tasks during your breaks. Utilize time saved, by eliminating your commute, for enjoyable personal activities. 
  • Increased motivation: Given ownership to manage your workload in ways that suit you may increase your motivation level.  

The cons of remote work:

  • Distractions: For some, working remotely increases distractions (kids, pets, the doorbell, the laundry pile, TV, etc.).
  • The need for self-discipline: Some remote workers find the task of blocking out their work day and sticking to their schedule difficult. The temptation to take long breaks can be overwhelming. Time management trackers and applications can help you stay disciplined. 
  • Lack of community/isolation: Working remotely may create feelings of loneliness and a lack of a sense of community due to a scarcity of face-to-face connections. 
  • Cost of equipment: Working remotely often requires a laptop/desktop computer, headset, software, other digital tools, a desk and a chair in order to complete your tasks. If these are not provided/funded by your employer, the cost of equipment may be substantial. 
  • Risk of error: Off-site working may increase the risk of errors, no matter how good your communication or response rate is. Planning project timelines and deliverables helps avoid confusion and potential conflicts.
  • Confidentiality: Communicating on the internet with mobile devices poses a threat of data breaches. 

What is on-site work?

On-site work occurs in an office or business location/site. Employees are physically present on the premises during regular company hours.

Pros of on-site work:

  • Limited distractions: Working onsite reduces the distractions you may encounter when you work in your home (kids, pets, the doorbell, the laundry pile, TV, etc.).
  • Easy access to your boss or coworkers is available when waiting for answers/assistance.
  • Team-oriented environment/culture: Collaborative work creates energy in the workflow; positivity, excitement, and fun! Being on-site makes it easier to recognize and understand input from others and give feedback based on performance. It promotes a competitive work environment where employees motivate each other as they strive to do their best. 
  • Time management: For less disciplined individuals, on-site work routines and schedule blocking are helpful.
  • Connections: Working on-site increases the chances of making friendships/relationships with colleagues and/or clients. It promotes interaction after office hours, allowing quicker and easier bonding. On-site work often allows for better understanding among team members.
  • Confidentiality: Working on-site reduces the threat to confidentiality as information can be stored and circulated more securely and efficiently.
  • Productivity: On-site physical meetings are often more efficient than remote communications. You can guarantee participation and avoid distractions. Working on-site helps some workers feel engaged, influencing productivity. 
  • Work/life balance: Working on-site helps some workers separate their personal and professional lives. Work tasks are less likely to be completed in your home, interfering with your family/downtime. 
  • Efficiency: On-site work allows access to equipment (printers/shredders/computers, etc.) and reliable internet connection creating a more efficient work setup. IT support is readily available to help you resolve problems.

Cons of on-site work:

  • Commuting to work involves costs for fuel, parking and/or public transit. It takes time leaving you fewer hours for your own pursuits/interests. 
  • Less-than-ideal working space: Limited natural light, cubicles and neon fixtures make the standard office less than an ideal working area.  
  • Increased anxiety: Office environments are often stressful (fast-paced, frequent interruptions, unwanted human interactions, etc.). Workers may feel under more scrutiny from their manager and/or their colleagues.
  • Distractions: Shared spaces increase distractions (noise of office equipment, conversations around you, movement, etc.).  
  • Lack of flexibility: Routines (commute times, standard breaks, scheduled meetings, etc.) are often set in stone, reducing the flexibility of your work environment. 

Which is best?

Your work environment is a primary consideration when choosing a career or workplace. Understanding how your work environment affects your productivity, satisfaction and happiness helps you choose a suitable option that benefits both you and your employer. You may excel given the flexibility, informality and independence of a remote job. You may need the routine, connections and team orientation of an on-site position. For some individuals, a blend of onsite with some remote time is optimal. When deciding whether to work remotely, on-site or a blend of both, take into consideration the pros and cons of each choice and your individual needs, wants and predispositions. Whatever you decide, enjoy your work!

Looking for a remote job? More interested in on-site work? Do you crave a hybrid combination of the two? Interested in some expert advice and assistance? Call the Calgary recruiting agency, Equation Staffing Solutions at 1-844-367-9618. We are a reliable, innovative, collaborative agency here to support you in your search for a position and/or personnel. Our experience will assist you! Contact us today.