As an ability to work from anywhere at any time, remote work was a global movement even before the coronavirus pandemic forced many to work from their homes.
According to estimates, the number of remote workers is on the rise and is expected to continue growing. 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 to an employee working off-site, from anywhere — whether that’s from a coffee shop or a flexible workspace.
Ultimately, working remotely allows for increased flexibility and autonomy for employees. The majority of 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 projects from anywhere. But it’s not just employees who benefit: employers are starting to view remote work as an important part of hiring and retaining top talent, staying competitive in their fields and even saving on business costs.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of remote work:
1. Working remotely allows for better work-life balance.
Blurred lines between work and home life are becoming a big issue. So, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is top of mind for many employees. The ability to balance these two worlds 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 quality of life, while also adding hours back into their days.
2. Remote employees have more freedom.
It’s clear that the advantages of remote work help keep employees happy, engaged and fulfilled. Need to take a trip across the country to visit family or be home in the afternoon to attend a child’s football 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 or being in the office a select number of days a week, it’s clear that employees enjoy the freedom of remote work.
3. Remote work 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. Inclusion in company wellness programs, such as access to the gym, is just as important for those with a flexible work schedule.
4. Remote work increases productivity.
Employers today are grappling with an existential question for the ages: 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/or any other distractions to focus on their work, productivity reigns supreme. For example, in a remote work productivity study, the remote working group results not only showed a 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 money.
Of course, you’ll see an immediate difference in your bank account when you don’t need to bear the costs of commuting. But you’ll also find savings in other areas. You won’t have to force yourself into a suit and polished shoes anymore if that’s not your style. And you can also save on food costs since you’ll easily be able to make your own lunch and coffee if you work from home.
Having fewer employees in the office also reduces costs for a business. With fewer people in the office, companies can condense their real estate footprint, allowing for more efficient workspace usage.
Considerations for Embracing Remote Work
By now you’ve seen that remote work offers increased flexibility and autonomy, as well as improved productivity.
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, “Can I thrive as a remote worker? Will I be able to structure my days efficiently? Is my company technologically enabled to support my working remotely?”
More than a mere workplace trend, the concept of 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 time zones and continents. With these tools, although we may not all be physically in the same room, work can be just as effective, if not more so, than the traditional working model.