Many employees have been forced into working remotely in the current climate, much to their dismay. But others have been wanting this change and flexible lifestyle for a long time. Only to be thwarted by assumptions from their employer about productivity and retention.
Working remotely doesn’t only apply to staff that work from home; it includes freelancers, contract workers, and international employees. There is also a hybrid opportunity where workers can split their workweek between the office and home.
Rather than looking at the negativity of working from home, let’s spend some time identifying the benefits of this work.
Flexibility and Autonomy
There are going to be people who love the freedom of remote working—being able to plan your day to suit both work and home. Having the flexibility to attend appointments during the day, spend time with family members without asking permission, or fit in with other team members.
It has been shown that when employers allow this kind of freedom, it builds trust and brings satisfaction resulting in retention and increased productivity.
For some, getting to work can be expensive even if you use public transport. Then there is the cost of parking (if you use a car or motorbike) lunch, coffee, snacks, obligatory food offerings/donations in the meal room, clothing…. the list goes on. Childcare costs can also be reduced remarkably as parents can spend more time at home with less reliance on babysitters or creche to fill the gaps between home and school time.
Yes, some employers give benefits that reduce these costs, but generally, working remotely decreases these costs substantially. This style of work allows for more disposable income for the individual or family.
As well as saving on commuting, remote working allows employees to manage their own schedule. For many bosses, it is about getting the work done, not about when the work is commenced or done. As long as the time you’re working doesn’t affect other colleagues’ schedules and you can meet deadlines. You should be able to shine at whatever time suits you.
Remote working has made us masters at virtual meetings. There may have been some tooth cutting at first, but attending your meetings remotely saves everyone travel time and it often dissipates the idle chatter that infiltrates face-to-face meetings and blows out time schedules.
People have now been given the freedom to work from anywhere. Employees don’t necessarily have to be bound to a city or even a country. This is particularly useful for people who have spouses who have been based in another location.
It doesn’t matter where you live; as long as you have a good internet connection and meet your deadlines and scheduled meetings, you could technically work from any location.
Traditional offices are noisy and distracting – phones buzzing, colleagues chatting and constant interruptions. Sometimes this type of environment is great socially for those who work well in that type of situation, but for others, it isn’t easy to manage. Some people need silence to focus and be productive. Working remotely can allow you to manage disruption levels successfully.
The other advantage is setting up your workspace to your needs. You can set up your desk where and how you want it. You can have it as cluttered or uncluttered as you want. You can even listen to music if that helps your productivity.
Health and Wellbeing
Working remotely gives people the advantage to not come into contact with sick people – a definite benefit in the current times. It can also be positive for mental health. Some people are less stressed and more relaxed working in their own environment. They also thrive on managing their health and wellbeing schedule from home, rather than from an office for 8-10 hours a day. Another benefit is being able to take a break when you need one, not when it has been designated by others.
Working from home can often allow people to feel in control of their personal and life schedules. Being able to prioritise and fit in the important elements of life can lead to a better work/balance…enhancing health and well-being and mental health. It is the best way to get to the important family or community events that office workers usually miss.
Working remotely can allow you to personalise your own office space or area. You can pick the café or workspace you prefer to work from on a daily basis if that is how you work. Also, remote workers can make their work environment as bright, uncluttered, and free of distraction as they please.
The pandemic was a definite catalyst for the explosion of remote work. But it is not the only reason to work from home. Focusing on the negative aspects tends to increase frustrations and thwart the potential this type of work can deliver.
Are you working from home or thinking about it? Then don’t miss the following article: How to stay focused when working remotely