Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies had fully remote teams. In fact, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 5 million employees, or 3.6 percent of the employee workforce in the U.S., worked at home half-time or more before the crisis.
Other companies have been forced to adopt remote work policies as a result of COVID-19, whether they were ready to or not.
If you’re a business in the latter category, you may be wondering if a remote workforce should replace working onsite, once it’s safe to make that call. If you’re an employee embarking on your own work-from-home adventure for the first time, you too might be weighing the pros and cons of a remote work environment.
Business or employee, here are nine work-from-home benefits to help you decide.
Here are 9 work-from-home benefits
- Lower expenses
- No commute
- Reduced stress and increased productivity
- Better work-life balance
- Fewer distractions
- Improved health
- Flexibility in hours
- No office politics
- Increased happiness
Reduced stress and increased productivity
Better work-life balance
Flexibility in hours
No office politics
One of the biggest benefits of working from home is the money you save. For companies, it means lower overhead spent on big expenses like office space, supplies, and even snacks. Remote work also typically correlates with fewer sick days and reduced employee turnover, resulting in additional savings.
Employees will save money on transportation, food — eating out with coworkers on the regular can get expensive — and buying work clothes you’d never wear otherwise. You can also claim home office deductions on your taxes. And, now that you’re remote, you can choose to live in a smaller, less expensive town if you prefer.
Not having to commute saves time and money. Whether you take the train to work or get stuck in rush hour traffic twice a day, five days a week, eliminating your commute will give you back a big chunk of time.
The added benefit? No commute means minimizing your carbon footprint by reducing CO2 emissions.
Eliminating the work commute is a big stress reliever, and reduced stress can result in increased productivity, which is good for both you and your employer. Working from home also allows you to enjoy a greater sense of control over your time, which improves job satisfaction.
When you’re not bound to a 9–5 in-office schedule, you no longer have to shoehorn important appointments into early mornings, your lunch hour, or post-work hours. This results in fewer work-life conflicts, less frustration, more time for family and friends, as well as the ability to be present for your kids, all of which makes for a happier, more balanced employee.
One of the great things about working from home is far fewer interruptions and annoying distractions. No more impossible-to-avoid overheard conversations between coworkers (including gossip about “the new girl”), phones ringing in the next workspace over, people dropping by to ask a quick question, your boss leading loud tours of potential new clients through the company, or food delivery folks asking, “Who ordered the turkey on rye?”
Working from home means you can focus on your work in peace and get stuff done.
If you work from home, you’ll have an easier time fitting exercise and other physical activity into your daily schedule. You’ll have the opportunity to eat healthier too, as you won’t be tempted by meals out with coworkers, excessive take-out, or getting chips, candy bars, and other not-so-healthy options out of the vending machine. You’ll also reduce your exposure to colds and other illnesses.
For all these reasons, a work-from-home arrangement is also conducive to improved mental health. Need a break to destress during a big project deadline? Step away from your desk and do a 20-minute meditation, take a walk around your neighborhood, or pet your dog or cat, which has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress. And you’ll be able to do this without worrying about your coworkers or your boss judging you.
Many of us have bought into the notion that a 9–5, Monday through Friday work schedule is normal. Yet plenty of people work best later in the day or even into the night. A remote work arrangement allows for good work to happen when employees are at their most productive, rather than forcing them into an arbitrary daytime schedule.
Working from home also allows those who prefer a quiet environment the ability to produce their best work. While open workspaces are meant to foster interaction and collaboration, what they actually do is create higher levels of stress and prevent employees from concentrating.
Office politics and drama can create significant impediments to employee productivity and happiness. You can’t choose your coworkers, and you may end up working closely with someone you just don’t gel with.
While it’s good to learn how to work in a team with different personalities, working from home means you can skip office gossip and subterfuge, competition for the boss’s attention, political infighting and backstabbing, and other productivity killers.
For all the reasons above, remote employees are typically happier employees. And happier employees are more productive, more loyal, and more apt to stick around longer. It’s a win-win for everybody.
For both business owners and employees, it’s easy to see why working remotely — whether COVID-19 forced you into it or you came to it willingly — might be the best alternative work arrangement in both the short term and for the long haul.