Knowing you can work from anywhere, anytime, remote work was a full-on work movement even before the coronavirus pandemic forced many to work from their homes.
According to an estimate in Forbes, in 2018, 50 percent of the U.S. workforce was projected to be remote; across the pond, Europe’s remote workers have grown from 7.7 percent to 9.8 percent in the past decade. Providing employees with the flexibility to work where and when they want cuts across all industries and company sizes. In fact, many of today’s top companies offer full, half, or partial remote work. Working remotely doesn’t always mean “from home,” either; it can apply anytime an employee works off-site—whether that’s at a coffee shop or a coworking workspace.
Long story short, working remotely allows for increased flexibility and autonomy for employees. According to Inc., nine out of 10 workers who currently work remotely plan to do so for the rest of their careers. Technology such as videoconferencing software, collaboration platforms, and cloud services keep people connected and allow them to have meetings and complete work from anywhere, anytime. It’s not just employees who benefit, employers are starting to look at remote work as an important part of hiring and keeping the best talent, staying competitive in their field, and even saving on business costs.
Now we’ll look at the benefits of remote work for both employees and employers.
1. Working remotely gives you the right work-life balance
This one is kinda a no-brainer. For many businesses, even as short as 20 years ago, working remotely would have been nearly impossible. Without the right technology, an employee had to go to the office to get their work done. The downside to these new advanced technologies? Blurred lines between work and home life. So maintaining a healthy work-life balance is top of mind for so many employees. The ability to balance these two things has become the key to feeling happier and more productive while at work. Saving time that would otherwise be spent on a long commute allows employees to have a better work-life balance and adds hours back into their lives.
2. Remote employees are free
It’s obvious that the advantages of remote work help keep employees happy, engaged, and fulfilled. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report,
“The optimal engagement boost occurs when employees spend [around] three to four days working off-site.”
Need to take a trip to visit family? Or be home in the afternoon to attend a child’s sports game? A traditional employee would need to request time off in order to do so. But a remote employee can still clock in from home or a regional headquarters at their destination, as well as check-in, as needed. From working from home to traveling abroad to being in the office one day a week or three, employees enjoy the freedom of remote work.
3. Being remote promotes employee well-being
With no commute, no lunch rush, and no long hours in the office away from family or friends, working remotely can improve the health and wellness of employees by reducing stress and limiting exposure to potentially sick coworkers. But employers shouldn’t skip a wellness plan in the remote workplace; inclusion in company wellness programs, such as access to the gym, is just as important for those with a flexible work schedule.
4. Increase in productivity
Employers today are dealing with an important question: “If I don’t see my employees working, are they?” The ability for employers to trust their teams, even when they work out of the office, could be key to driving more productivity than ever before. Data shows that when employees are able to skip the extra coffee breaks, a long commute, and any other distractions to focus on their work, productivity is bound to happen and is almost assured. For example, in Stanford University’s two-year remote work productivity study, the researchers followed 500 employees after dividing them into “remote” and “traditional” working groups. The remote working group results not only showed work productivity boost equal to a full day’s work but also fewer sick days and a 50 percent decrease in employee attrition.
5. Working remotely saves your company money
Having fewer employees in the office also reduces costs for a business. How? Imagine a traditional office space. Do you see a busy, energetic work center, or are you imagining some of the desks sitting empty, waiting to be filled with next year’s hires? That ghost town effect is real—and could be costing your company thousands in wasted spending on utilities. With fewer people in the office, companies can lessen their space allowing for more workspace usage. That same Stanford study of remote workers allowed the participating company to save nearly $2,000 per employee on its office space rent just by using the space more efficiently.
6. Offering remote work makes your business competitive
Regardless of what you sell, your mission, or your business goals, it’s the people who bring business success. Those aspects of great employees make the ability to attract and keep top talent is a key differentiator in today’s competitive business world. Remote work can play a huge and positive role in this area. In fact, 35 percent of employees would change jobs if it meant the ability to work off-site full-time, according to Gallup. Companies that offer a flexible working arrangement, such as full, half, or partial remote work, could make the difference for a candidate making their next career move.
What to consider before going remote
By now you’ve seen that remote work offers more flexibility and happiness for employees, as well as increased productivity and cost savings for employers. Before breaking into the world of remote work, businesses must take a look at their current office culture, team sizes, and business goals. On the other hand, before accepting a role that includes remote work or asking their managers to allow them to work remotely, employees should consider their own work-life boundaries. Employees may want to ask themselves, “Will I do well as a remote worker? Will I be able to detach from all of the distractions at home? Will I have the right tools to work remotely like internet and a comfortable place to work?”
More than a simple workplace trend, working from anywhere at any time is the future of work. Technology is going to become more advanced and bring us all virtually ever closer together. It will continue to connect us as employees and businesses across the world. We all may not be physically in the same room, but work can be just as effective, if not more so, than traditional work. It’s time for employers and employees to embrace the new world of work and to consider the benefits of working remotely.