The concept of remote work has been an alluring one in modern workspaces. A quick search on Google Trends shows that terms like remote work, work from home, and telecommute have steadily gained more interest from early 2000s and peaked during the height of the pandemic in March 2020.
The rising popularity of remote work has made employees take note too. As working from office became impossible in early 2020, over 90% of global businesses moved base and switched to remote mode. But is it only a solution for the pandemic or are there other benefits of working from home that you need to consider even after the pandemic has left the society? Before that is explored, take a look at where it started.
A History of Remote Work
Believe it or not, remote work is the default state in which humans worked before the industrial revolution. Only few people like ministers, clergymen, and royals would go to a separate place of work. Others like the potters, blacksmiths, jewellers, and cobblers worked outside their houses all day and knew the benefits of WFH.
As the industrial revolution took place, factories and industries were set up. And people started ‘going to work’. This was a big shift from the traditional money-making practices. As modern offices started showing up in the ‘60s, people became more acquainted to the ‘offices’ as we know them today. But still, the biggest game-changer was the invention of internet.
As technology developed with the help of internet, services like WiFi became widely available and allowed people to work from anywhere with the new found connectivity. The preference for remote work grew slowly and steadily as people started seeing the benefits of WFH, but remote work was catapulted into fast drive as the pandemic hit the world this year in 2020.
Benefits of WFH for Employees
Working from home is one of the most appreciated perks at a job as per a survey conducted by Fractl. There’s no doubt that employees covet the idea of remote work but it is not just a matter of convenience. According to a recent study by Stanford, there are also various benefits of working from home for the employees.
Higher Job Satisfaction
The best thing about working from home is that remote work offers a lot of flexibility to your employees, which is impossible to achieve when working from office. Employees are responsible for their own productivity, they aren’t worried about their superiors watching over their shoulders, and most importantly, they still have time to have a life outside of work. All of this adds up and results in higher job satisfaction among employees. A satisfied workforce is one of the strongest benefits of WFH.
Commuting takes a big chunk out of people’s expenses. Even if your employees use public transport, working from home will save them a significant amount of money. Among other benefits of WFH, as there is no need to step out every day, expenses on food, clothing, cosmetics, etc. will also reduce significantly. Fewer expenses mean more disposable income for your employees, and who doesn’t want that?
Better Work-life Balance
Working from a place of convenience allows you to take care of a lot of small things that you wouldn’t be able to do in an office. For example, taking care of a child while working, preparing a healthy meal, getting in a quick workout in the break time or even just closing your eyes and enjoying music for five minutes are all great benefits of WFH. The WFH experience offers a good worklife balance than otherwise.
As employees save a ton of time on commute, meetings, and even obligatory niceties, all the time that they put into work is now productive. According to a Flexjobs survey, 65% of the respondents mentioned that they’re more productive in a remote environment over an office one and see it as one of the primary benefits of working from home. Moreover, time dedicated to work, is solely utilized for work as employees feel more responsible for their performance when working from home.
Lower Stress Levels
Many studies have found that working from home can impact stress levels positively and reduce them. Experts believe that the reason for this may be associated with working in a familiar and comfortable environment. Benefits of WFH like lower stress levels affect efficiency and creativity at work. A laid-back employee will be able to offer a lot more than a stressed one.
Benefits of a WFH Policy for Employers
So yes, a WFH policy is great for the employees and is widely preferred. But what’s in it for you? With the exception of government mandated remote working, why should you offer WFH? This employer’s guide
may help explain the details.
The truth is that there are just as many, if not more, benefits of working from home for the employers. Remote work, even if partial, can give you a big edge when it comes to productivity, competition, as well as employee retention. So what are these benefits of WFH?
Space Optimization and Cost-savings
As many companies have noticed, expenses have gone down significantly during the pandemic. The cost of office spaces is one of the obvious ones. But there are utilities, snacks, stationery, toiletries, cleaning supplies and a lot more that you save on when you offer a WFH policy. IBM alone has reportedly saved over $100 million in snacks since they started their WFH policy.
This is not the only benefit of WFH, partial WFH can help you optimize your office spaces and let you use techniques like hot desking that’ll help you reduce costs as well as let you use office space efficiently.
With all these feel-good effects and several other benefits of WFH, it is no wonder that employees stay longer with organizations that offer remote working opportunities, even partly. According to Global Analytics Workforce, over 72% of employers stated in a survey that remote working opportunities greatly impact employee retention. And it is no secret that the longer an employee stays with a company; the more loyal they are to it.
One of the biggest benefits of a WFH policy is that you get to pick your team from across the world. There are no location specific restrictions and you can hire the best members for your team without having to compromise too much on your budget.
Progressively more companies are now open to hire for completely remote positions from across the world as they see this as an opportunity to improve the quality and diversity of their teams.
There are several surveys and studies, including institutions like Harvard, which have found that remote work improves productivity in employees. There can be several reasons for the improved productivity such as fewer distractions, little or no commute, and comfortable environment. But whatever may be the reason, if you want to switch the gears on your operations, you may want to consider the benefits of WFH on productivity.
Absenteeism is a big problem when it comes to working in a team, especially if the project requires multiple collaborations. A large amount of absenteeism is tied up to logistical or minor issues such as vehicular breakdown, sudden change in childcare routine, or a minor sickness.
As all of this can be easily averted when working from home, employees prefer not to take leaves for minor issues. When working remotely, there are fewer logistical errors, household responsibilities can be tended to simultaneously, and minor illnesses don’t bother them too much in a comfortable environment. This leads to a more planned workday, and higher availability of employees which all adds up to the several benefits of WFH.
Longer Working Hours
At this point, it might seem like a stretch that there are so many benefits of WFH. But studies have shown that when employees work from home, they put in extra hours. It could be the result of KPIs switching from punctuality to results. But whatever the reason, employees are willing to put in more effort and longer days when given the chance to work remotely.
Several companies like Twitter and IBM have made headlines with their lenient WFH policies. IBM has been offering remote working opportunities for years now, and Twitter recently announced that it will allow its employees to work from home as long as they want even after the pandemic has subsided.
Just a minor change in the policy has earned Twitter a ton of goodwill, and no doubt the preference of potential employees. That’s how powerful remote work can be as a tool. A good WFH policy can bring you good PR as well as great candidates for future positions.
Better for the Planet
Business operations aren’t just costly, they are also a big source of carbon emissions. From the daily commute of all your employees, to the electricity consumed and toilet paper used, your office has a deep impact on the planet. In fact, the highest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. is the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation.
When you switch to a remote mode, you lower the emissions for your organization by a considerable amount. It may be a small percentage globally, but every drop in the bucket counts and is an added benefit of WFH that you can use by adding this to your branding.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the pros and cons of working from home?
No hiring restrictions
Feelings of disconnect
Very little contact with co-workers
Why is work from home good?
There are several benefits of working from home including a better work-life balance, improved performance, lower stress levels, and higher efficiency.
How does working from home benefit a company?
Organizations see a big improvement in employee relations as employees are happier, more satisfied, and more efficient when working from home. Another benefit of working from home for the company is the reduced costs.