Remote working may be a distant dream for workers a decade ago, but nowadays, it is the future of work, said Andrea Loubier of business news Forbes. Job seekers are drawn to the work from home setup as it provides flexibility and control over their career and personal lives, noted Laura Spawn of CMS Wire, an online news source read by more than three million executives every month.
Remote workers can generally work how, when, and where they want. They can also save money on transportation, business attire, and meals. Some businesses are reluctant to allow remote working not until the COVID-19 forced them to shift to this setup. Those considering telecommuting must be aware of the benefits it brings to employees.
Surveys Detail the Benefits of Remote Work
Buffer, a software application for the web and mobile, surveyed close to 2,500 remote workers about the benefits of struggles of working from home, what remote work looks like from their experiences and the structure of their organizations that enabled them to work from home. 99% said they would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their career (versus 1% of those who said “no”). 95% also encouraged other people to work remotely (versus 5%).
When asked about the benefits of working remotely, they cited having a flexible schedule (40%), working from any location (30%), spending time with family (14%), working from home (13%), and others. However, the respondents struggled with unplugging after work (22%), loneliness (19%), collaborating and/or communication (17%), distractions at home (10%), being in different timezone than teammates (8%), and staying motivated (8%). Some respondents also reported struggling with taking vacation time (7%), finding reliable WiFi (3%), and others (4%).
In another survey by T Sheets, a free time-tracking software, found that 34.4% of respondents felt that their stress has decreased when working from home (versus 30% of those who said “increased” and 35.6% who said “stayed the same”).53.4% said their productivity increased while 8.4% said it decreased. Only 38.2% said their productivity levels have stayed the same. 50.4% said their free time increased whereas a smaller percentage of respondents said it either stayed the same (31.6%) or decreased. Further, most respondents said remote working had positive impacts on their mental health (83.6%), physical health (75%), finances (83.8%), career (79.8), family life (88.4%), social life (71.2%), and life goals (85.6%).
27.6% said working from home allowed them to look after their kids whereas over 22% cited watching their pets as a benefit of remote working. When asked how they would rate remote working, 35.2% said “love it” or 5, 38.8% rated it 4, 22.2% rated it as 3, 2.2 gave a rating of 2, and 1.6% answered “hate it” or 1.
What Are the Benefits of Remote Working?
1. Increased Productivity and Efficiency
A traditional office setting can be distracting to some people, so telecommuting may help bolster their productivity levels. Remote workers are not being lazy, pseudo-professionals without real jobs. Remote workers can be as productive as those working in offices. With increased efficiency and autonomy, remote workers can work during hours they find most productive. Reduced workplace distractions also enable remote employees to be more efficient.
2. Reduced Costs and Employee Turnover
Not only can it reduce one’s costs on transportation or food, but businesses can also save money on office space, equipment and travel reimbursement, and other on-site business operations. To illustrate, America’s insurance giant Aetna said that it managed to slash 2.7 million square feet of office space, helping them save $78 million. How much is the average cost of onboarding a new employee? Deloitte, a multinational professional services network, estimated that it could be in the $4,000 range depending on the employee’s role.
3. Decreased Carbon Footprint
In the UK, for instance, the average person spends 60 to 80 minutes going to and from work, said Loubier. As we endeavor to reduce our carbon footprint, remote work will help organizations go green and improve their workers’ well-being. When companies establish remote work policies into their business plan, potential customers or even applicants will think that the organization they are applying to is responsible and environmentally-conscious.
4. Greater Access to Job Seekers
Telecommuting removes geographic barriers, leading to more diverse workspaces. Job postings, job applications, and interviews can be done in a virtual environment. This method prioritizes an applicant’s aptitude, casts a wider hiring net, and to address skill gaps such as being fluent in multiple languages.
5. Better Disaster Preparedness
It is prudent for companies to create a remote work contingency plan in case of a natural disaster, a local or national emergency, or an outbreak in the community. During the pandemic, for example, non-essential staff could telecommute or be assigned to another flexible workspace. From there, they could leverage collaborative technologies like online meeting software and instant messaging. Formulating a temporary work from home plan can help employees feel protected, helping business operations remain stable throughout the pandemic.
Taking Breaks Is Another Benefit That Every Remote Worker Should be Aware Of
For attentive leaders, another benefit of working from home is taking breaks as part of the “new” normal work day, said Douglas Quenqua of Business Insider, a fast-growing business site. For example, Deborah L. Mack, an incoming director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, reached out to her staff to say, “Be gentle on yourself. There may be days where two hours of productivity is all you can manage. And that's okay.” Gauri Munuswamy, head of sales at Mercato, was reluctant in letting her team work remotely, as she only offered it as a reward for salespeople who have managed to achieve their goals. Since the pandemic, she has reflected on reconsidering her stance on telecommuting.
Munuswamy said, “I've always had this fear that people working from home just wouldn't be as productive.” However, she added that employers need to trust their employees to do their jobs and learn to self-manage.
Remote work is convenient for employees, as they don’t need to travel to get to work. On the same vein, telecommuting helps people work from the comfort of their homes without compromising job stability or their health. Employers are encouraged to let remote employees take breaks to maximize their productivity.