The drawbacks and benefits of teleworking: a new way of working in the digital age

31/08/2023 | Santander Universidades

The healthcare crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic has meant everyone has had to adapt to drastic changes, and working life has been no exception. 

Lockdown in the wake of the first wave led many companies to roll out teleworking across the board, to the extent that, for example, more than 16% of Spanish workers had to work from home during that period, according to a study carried out by the National Observatory of Technology and Society (ONTSI in Spanish). 

In fact, currently, one in four employees works remotely, an increase of 74.2% in this work mode with respect to pre-pandemic data, according to the report Teleworking in Spain, by the Bank of Spain. Among the companies that have implemented this working model, 45% are in the new technologies and IT sector, e.g., web or software development and e-commerce, as noted in a study by Factorial.

Thanks to companies' digital consolidation, over this last year teleworking has been cemented in the jobs sector, despite the ingrained thinking that physical presence is required to guarantee employee productivity. So, having reached this point, what are the drawbacks and benefits of teleworking?

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The benefits of teleworking

Some 93% of employees don't want to return to the office following the pandemic: the fact is that teleworking offers many advantages, often meaning that staff aren’t keen on returning to onsite jobs. To mention a case in point, did you know that at Apple there were a series of resignations after returning to blended working because some employees wanted to continue to work remotely? Here are the main benefits of teleworking: 

  • It facilitates work-life balance: teleworking offers a clear advantage to employees with children. The fact they don't have to travel to a workplace where they remain for most of the day gives the worker more time to be with their family. 
  • More flexible schedules and increased productivity: workers can tailor their office hours to their own needs. 

A recent report by Adecco points out that the traditional view held by some companies - which claim that presenteeism and productivity are synonymous - is false. Instead, what actually determines a worker's productivity is their results and not the number of hours worked. In fact, according to the aforementioned study by Factorial, 36% of workers report that their productivity has not been affected by the implementation of teleworking, with some 35% saying that it has actually improved.

Besides, working from home leaves time for the worker to deal with any unforeseen events that may arise, whether it be attending to something urgent, a sick relative, etc., without posing a serious problem due to neglecting their work obligations. The fact that the worker can arrange their office hours to suit them means an increase in productivity, since the actual time dedicated to work will be totally focused on getting through tasks. 

  • Saving time and money: not having to go into the office in person saves time for the employees, especially if they live far from the workplace. This also eliminates many stressful situations, such as delayed public transport and traffic jams, and means you can devote more time to your personal life, in turn increasing your quality of life. 

Meanwhile, teleworking implies financial savings for any workers whose company doesn't cover subsistence or travel expenses. In this regard, according to Global Workplace Analytics, remote working results in an average savings of $10,000 per employee.

  • Environmentally friendly: during the pandemic, the reduction of commuting had an extremely positive impact on the environment. Did you know, for example, that during the first lockdown, CO2 levels in the city of Barcelona were reduced by 51%? Teleworking removes the need to commute to the workplace, which in the case of people using their own private transport, means a significant reduction to their carbon footprint.

The drawbacks of teleworking

Despite the benefits of teleworking, working from home can also negatively affect both the company and staff. Some of the drawbacks are: 

  • Work-life balance: balancing work with family life is one of the main benefits of teleworking, but the reality is that 2% more women than men have opted to work from home, according to the same study by the ONTSI. Such data might seem innocuous, but in actual fact women choosing to work from home in order to spend more time with their families can see them shouldering most of the household chores due to being at home. 

If this is the case, it would also be important to take measures not to widen the gender gap in the workplace - something that has long been fought for - and ensure equal opportunities.

  • Feeling isolated and finding it difficult to work in a team: the lack of a proper workplace, as well as face-to-face relationships with colleagues, can cause workers to feel isolated. This can in turn lead staff to feel emotionally detached from their company, which implies a loss of engagement and rapport.

Moreover, although there are many tools with which to keep connected virtually, the inability to conduct face-to-face meetings makes it difficult to sustain a positive team mindset. 

  • Difficulty disconnecting from work: with teleworking, the space for work and the space for free time blurs into one and the same, which can cause difficulties in disconnecting from work. 

In fact, a study by the Hays Employment Guide shows that 54% of Spanish workers saw their working day extended during the pandemic, and believe that this is down to teleworking.


As you can see, this type of work has both positive and negative aspects, so, in order to regulate teleworking, on 9th July 2021 the Law 10/2021 on Remote Work came into force in Spain. This law aims to establish a balance between the disadvantages and benefits of teleworking as mentioned, as well as guaranteeing that workers enjoy the same conditions that they would have if they went to work in person.

Against this backdrop, there are companies which, taking advantage of the benefits of both onsite and teleworking, have opted for a hybrid model, which combines face-to-face and remote work. One example is the multinational HP, where staff only need to be in the office one day a week. The company has also offered them a bonus to set up a good office at home.

If the company you work for offers you the opportunity to work from home, it's important to understand your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to choosing one option or the other, striking the balance between the pros and cons each presents. You might realise that, with teleworking, you will have more time, or that you need to improve certain skills in order to adapt to this new way of working.

That's why, as part of this aim to boost employability and likewise help people to progress, overcome the challenges of the 4th industrial revolution, and grow in an inclusive and sustainable way, Banco Santander is committed to three key concepts: lifelong learning, reskilling and upskilling. To support this commitment, it has created the Santander Open Academy website, a unique and pioneering global programme. 

If you would like to keep growing personally and professionally, head over to the Santander Open Academy website, where you'll find 100s of opportunities to train together with internationally renowned institutions. Access training in technology, languages, research, investigation, soft skills, internships and female leadership, which will help you to improve your employability or refocus your career.

Do you want to become a lifelong learner and increase your job opportunities? The Santander Open Academy website has plenty of options to help you achieve your goals. Check out the website and remember: you can sign up for as many courses as you like. Make the most of this opportunity!


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