Remote work is the ability to work from anywhere,—especially from the comfort of your home—and at any time. This practice has been going on for a while now. However, the coronavirus pandemic has made it popular and almost mandatory for many businesses.
Forbes estimated that over 50% of US workers were projected to work from home in 2018. In Europe, the amount of people working remotely has grown from 7.7% to 9.8% over the past 12 years. Remote work provides employees with the ability to work from anywhere and has cut costs across many industries. Today, almost all office positions offer the option to work remotely. Working remotely does not necessarily mean “from home.” It just means that the employee is not working from the company’s office.
Remote work ensures that employees have autonomy and flexibility. In fact, 9 out of 10 remote workers plan to stick with this model for the rest of their careers. Working from home has been made easy by technology such as video conferencing, cloud services, and other collaboration tools that keep workers connected. They can easily join meetings, work on the same files, and complete projects from anywhere and at any time.
Just a few decades ago, employers were not very receptive to the remote work idea, as they felt they needed to always monitor their employees. However, as technology advanced, it became possible to monitor workers who were working remotely too. Also, the coronavirus pandemic made remote work mandatory for many businesses if they wanted to stay active. That’s why employers had no choice but to embrace the transformation, along with the help of tools that made the transition easier. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of remote work for employees and employers.
Benefits of working from home for employees
Working remotely has always been a dream for many people whose jobs did not offer such an option. With the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home became a reality, and lots of people started to see its benefits. Here are some of the benefits of working from home for employees:
Better Work-life balance
The dream of every worker is a balance of their work and personal lives. An excess of work may cause burnout and a severe decrease in productivity. That’s why the ability to work from home gives employees the opportunity for a happier, more balanced life. This was not even possible a few years ago. Now, a huge percentage of the US workforce is practicing some form of remote work. It helps save time, which employees can use for their personal lives.
Research has shown that working remotely keeps employees engaged, fulfilled, and happy. The best engagement boosts happen when workers spend about three to four days a week working away from the company office. It gives them the freedom to visit friends and spend time with family without needing to go through the whole process of requesting time off. All this can be done without missing a second of their actual work time. This amount of freedom increases employee satisfaction and productivity.
Working from home gives people the option to work from anywhere in the world. They are not tied to any specific city, which may otherwise not even be their preference. For couples, the transfer of one partner will not affect the employment status of the other. The two can just move together, knowing that one of the partners is able to work from anywhere.
Going every day to work by taxi, tram, bus, or car can be very costly, especially if you also factor in other expenses like lunch, snacks, parking fees, clothes, and so on. Working from home can help employees save on these little daily expenses, which add up to a sizable chunk by the end of the year.
Lower stress levels
Just the thought of getting through all the traffic, arriving late to work, and even meeting with that one annoying colleague can bring about lots of stress. Workplace stress can come from many origins, especially when the workload is becoming unmanageable. However, being in an environment that you have made conducive for your own work style, such as at home or by the beachside, can help to reduce stress.
Company offices may be sometimes noisy and distracting. Lots of things are happening at the same time —meetings, friendly discussions, phone calls, etc. While it’s great for social interaction, all of this can be very distracting, making the environment not conducive for work. However, working from home typically involves fewer distractions, which are more within your control.
A happier, healthier work life
Going to work every day and sitting in an office is not a very healthy way to spend your time, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping social distance is one of the best ways to stay safe. Working from home helps you to do that.
Also, your mental health improves when you are around people or things you hold dear, and working in that type of environment can be very relaxing. Employees can be motivated to work hard and be more productive when they get to work from home.
Remote work advantages for companies
Companies are now the ones pushing for remote work because it may be the only way to keep their businesses afloat. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about rules for social distancing, which aren’t possible to follow in crowded places. So, at least for a time, employees could only work from home. But even once some of these restrictions were relaxed, remote work continued because it’s also beneficial for businesses in the following ways:
Employers can save a lot of money by letting employees work from home. Even if you are still renting a workspace, your workers can hot desk and save on space. The amount of money you will save depends on if your business is completely virtual or not. But in general, remote companies can save on the following expenses:
- Bills (electricity, etc.)
- Cleaning costs
- Building maintenance
Companies don’t always need to spend money on expensive tech for employees, either. This is because most workers already have the equipment they prefer using most.
Wider pool of talent
When selecting office workers, businesses are severely limited by geographical location. Many people are not willing to relocate, even when enticed by great offers. Some candidates may even decline an offer if the office is far away from their home but in the same city.
Remote work solves this problem, because the employees do not even have to leave their homes in the first place. All they need to do is open their laptops and start working.
With the possibility of employees working from home, employers now have a wider talent pool to choose from. It increases their output and chances of success.
Reduction in absenteeism
Many people may take a day off work just because they can’t decide what to wear or don’t want to get caught in traffic. Also, even when they feel a little bit unwell and could still work, the journey to the office is something they would not do.
However, working from home can prevent all these reasons for not showing up, because you don’t need to dress up or even move away from your bed to start work. Although remote teams certainly still need to allow for employee sick days and PTO, working from home can significantly reduce absenteeism and the rate at which employees take days off.
Makes businesses more competitive
One of the most important factors behind the success of any business is the people. Your employees are the ones who nurture the product, ensure the efficiency of your business processes, and much more. That’s why your ability to attract and retain top talent is key in today’s competitive world.
Offering a remote-work model can help you get the best talent, not only because of a bigger pool of candidates, but also because more people are willing to work remotely. It offers a sense of recognition and trust between the employer and employees. This is an important factor in ensuring loyalty among workers. According to Gallup, 35% of workers are willing to change jobs if it means the possibility of working remotely. So, offering remote work opportunities has become a bargaining chip for employers.
Equals an increase in productivity
The time when employers used to worry about employees working out of sight is long gone. This is due to increased trust on the sides of both parties, and also the possibilities of remotely monitoring worker productivity. Plus, employees are able to avoid long commutes, extra coffee breaks, and many other distractions if they are working from home. It significantly increases productivity and reduces employee attrition.
What to consider before embracing remote work
As we have seen above, working remotely offers autonomy and flexibility for employees while saving costs and increasing worker productivity for employers. However, it’s important to first assess the current business goals, work culture, and team sizes before making the decision to go remote.
What work expectations will managers set with their remote teams?
It’s important that companies ensure the presence of all rules and equipment so that their employees are comfortable working remotely without any problems. They also need to ensure that team-building exercises are not neglected. They will help keep employees engaged and in line with the company culture. As long as you can stay consistent with these two objectives, remote work may be right for your team.