According to recent research, three in five employees who ended up working from home due to the pandemic, now want to work from home indefinitely, even after the pandemic ends.
COVID-19 caused remote work to become a necessity for many organizations. While it all seemed too sudden, the shift to remote work wasn’t that surprising after all. With the advancements in technology, remote work has been slowly and steadily gaining popularity over the last decade. In fact, it was expected for remote work to become a norm by 2025, the only thing that the pandemic did was bring the change a few years too early.
The pandemic has also made business leaders realize the many job roles that they didn’t think could be managed remotely, can in fact be seamlessly managed working from home, with the support of the right remote work tools and strategies. It also made many realize that the notion that employees aren’t as productive when working from home is entirely false. In fact, remote work, when implemented the right way, can lead to a significant improvement in productivity.
Here are some of the benefits of working from home
Benefits of working from home for employers
1. Limited office space needed
Office rental space can be quite expensive and significantly increase business costs, especially for medium to small-sized businesses. But when you have fewer employees coming to the office, you need lesser space to accommodate them.
By allowing employees to work from home, companies don’t just save up on rental costs, they also save on office furniture, supplies, equipment, utility, and maintenance costs.
In fact, according to a Stanford study, when medium or large companies allow employees to work from home, they end up saving nearly $2000 per employee.
2. Hire the best talent
More than half of employees (54 percent) would readily quit their current job for another job that allows them to work from home A remote work research in 2020 also revealed that more than 40 percent of employees now prefer to work from home permanently. In fact, 80 percent of employees say that they would turn down a job offer if it didn’t allow them to work remotely.
Over 78 percent of companies believe that offering flexible and remote working perks enables them to expand their talent pool.
No matter what your business goals are, it is the people in your organization who drive the company to success. Hiring the right talent on job boards like Lensa in your organization can drive efficiency, lead to growth, and make all the difference. Therefore the ability to attract and retain top talent is one of the key factors for succeeding in the business world.
Offering remote working perks allows organizations to widen their talent pool since they no longer have location limitations when it comes to hiring people. You can hire employees from different parts of the globe as long as they fit the job profile and have the right skills for the job without worrying about whether they can relocate to stay close to the company office or not.
Moreover, when employees know they don’t have to uproot their lives and move to a different city all for a job, they are more likely to take up a job position even if it doesn’t offer them a significant raise.
3. Increased employee retention
Over 73 percent of employees are always open to new career opportunities and 33 percent of them are actively looking for new jobs. Retaining talent has become more and more challenging for organizations across the globe. Before you can even figure out why the employees are struggling with their work at your company, they are already on their way to join a new company where they feel more valued.
A faster and effective way to retain employees and ensure they are happy working in the organization is by offering them remote working perks. Work from home opportunities for employees can play a huge role in their decision to leave or stay in the company.
In fact, over 78 percent of HR professionals state that remote working is one of the most effective non-monetary ways of retaining employees.
4. Fewer employee leaves
When employees work from home and have the ability to create their own flexible schedules, they don’t need to take a whole day’s leave just because they have an hour-long errand to run. Employees can easily get their work done in the morning, go out to run their errands, and then come back to finish up their pending work.
The work-life balance offered by remote work allows employees to take better care of themselves and stay healthy. Employees can sleep more when their body demands it and adjust their work schedule to make time for exercises and other healthy activities.
As a result, employees stay healthier and take fewer sick leaves. Even when employees do get sick, they are less likely to take leaves since they don’t have the fear of passing the germs to their colleagues.
In fact over 89 percent of employees agree that a flexible job that allows them to work from home helps them take better care of themselves. Work from home is appealing to employees for mental health reasons as well with 84 percent believing that increased flexibility at work allows them to better manage their mental health.
5. More work being done
While many managers assume that remote employees don’t work as much as their in-office coworkers, the reality is completely different. According to a survey, remote employees work 1.4 more days every month or 16.8 more days every year as compared to the employees that work from the office.
People who work from home don’t spend hours in the morning commute every day and they are able to start their work quicker. This in turn saves them time, money, energy, and acts as a big morale booster as well.
Moreover, when employees work from home, they are in no rush to leave the ‘office’ or scared of getting stuck in rush hour traffic since they are already at home. Cutting down the commute also means that if remote employees feel like they need to put in an hour extra just to finish up the day’s tasks.
6. Increased productivity
When it comes to working from home, one of the most grappling existential questions that most employers have is — How do I know employees are working when I can’t even see them working?
But the data actually shows that when employees skip their usual drive to work, the long coffee break discussions with colleagues, and other distractions at the office, they are able to focus more on their work. Not to mention, when employees feel trusted by their managers to get their work done on time with minimal follow-ups, they feel more accountable and responsible for the work at hand.
More than 77 percent of employees working from home report higher productivity and they are also 52 percent less likely to take time off from work.
To further corroborate this claim, 85 percent of organizations have already confirmed that they have noticed an increase in productivity after offering greater flexibility to their employees in terms of choosing their work environment.
Benefits of work from home for employees
1. Flexible schedules
One of the best things about working from home is getting away from the rigid and traditional 9 to 5 routine. Employees are no longer chained to their desks and required to reach office at a fixed time every day.
Instead, remote employees get the freedom to set their own schedules. They can set their own working hours and work in the shifts that they prefer.
The idea is to give employees full autonomy over their schedule and focus more on the work being delivered by the employees instead of fixating too much over the number of hours that the employees stay logged in every day. In fact, for employees, the ability to have a flexible schedule is one of the biggest benefits of remote work.
2. Improved work-life balance
At first glance, it can seem rather counterintuitive to bring your work home with you, but when executed and planned the right way, work from home can actually lead to a better work-life balance.
When you work away from the office, you have to deal with fewer distractions which in turn leads to a direct increase in both productivity and efficiency. This means you get more work done in less time. Not to mention, all the extra time that you save after skipping the usual office commutes and long coffee breaks with coworkers, which you can use to spend more quality time with your family or friends.
You can also use daily breaks in your remote work schedule to take a walk with your pet, brew some tea, catch up on news, or watch your favorite TV show so that you can come back to work all energized and reduce the chances of burnout.
3. No daily commute
This is a pretty obvious and yet, one of the most incredible benefits of working from home. Commuting to the office every day and driving hours in bumper to bumper traffic is not just time-consuming but mentally exhausting as well. You leave your house in a good mood, but by the time you reach the office, half of your energy has already been spent dealing with the terrible traffic.
With remote work, you save hours skipping the ride to the office. Reaching your office only takes as long as going from your bedroom to your home office. Working from home also means you can have a long morning ritual or a long breakfast to get ready for the work day and ensure you are always starting work with your full energy.
4. Save more money
There is a lot of money that you can save when you are working from home. You no longer need to burn fuel every day just to drive to your office or buy racks of professional outfits to look presentable at work. More importantly, you aren’t forced to find expensive places to live just so you can stay close to your office in order to save time. You can stay anywhere that fits your budget and your family’s needs, further saving more money.
According to a report, people can save over $2,000-6500 every year, even if they only work from home half the time. That’s a lot of money that you can use for investing towards your future or for spending on your family.
5- Fewer distractions at home
It’s not easy to tell your colleagues to stay away from your desk when you are working on something important because it can quickly come off as rude and affect your rapport with them. As a result, over 76 percent of employees prefer to avoid office altogether when they want to focus on an important task at hand.
But when you are remote and want to focus on something important, it’s easy to set your status as do not disturb and or just go let your coworkers know that you will be offline for a few hours
Working from home gives you more control over your work environment. You don’t have to worry about your coworkers stopping by your desk for just a ‘quick question’ or obligatory socializing. You get to have your own quiet time when you need it in order to focus on important work without getting consistently disrupted.
6. Setup your own office space
Most employees work from a small cubicle in the office with jarring air conditioning and little to no sunlight coming their way. Sitting at the same desk for 8-9 hours with the same view (or worse, no view) can eventually get boring and affect your morale and performance as well.
But when you work from home, you get the freedom to set up your office exactly the way that you like. Whether you like a garden view or a balcony view of the city, it’s all up to you.
You can set up the ideal home office that motivates you to get up every morning and give your best. You can start by finding a corner of the house that gets the perfect lighting, get a work chair that actually supports your back and a desk that is perfect for your height.
Throw in some motivational posters or green plants for an extra splash of color. Better yet, you can even stay in the company of your pets as well as your family while working from home, as long as it does not affect your workflow in any way.
What are the main challenges of working from home?
The risk of getting burned out
With short remote meetings and even shorter breaks during the day, remote employees end up being at least 20-25 percent more productive than their in-office counterparts.
But working too much with little to no breaks can also make employees extremely susceptible to burnout. When you are working from the office, there are routine meetings, team dinners, or seminars that force employees to take a break from their work and come back with a refreshed mind. But that does not happen when you are working from home.
As a large part of the workforce had to suddenly go remote in 2020 with little to no plan, it was reported that employee burnout almost doubled between April 2020 and May 2020. Remote employees that had to manage both home chores along with their work were reported to be 4.4 times more likely to face burnout.
When your personal life and work life both come under the same roof, it can become difficult to disconnect from work as the physical boundaries start to disappear, which can further lead to employee exhaustion and performance issues.
Here are some ways to overcome this:
Create a dedicated home office space that you strictly use for your work only. The idea is to establish physical boundaries between your home and work so that it’s easier for your brain to switch to work or home mode. Not only will this help you focus better at work, but it can also help you in unplugging from work at the end of the day.
- Establish your work timings and share the same with your team. Your team members should always have a ballpark idea of when you start and finish your work so that they don’t end up disturbing you outside of your working hours. In fact, when you are shutting down work for the day, it is a good practice to send a message out to your team to let everyone know you will be unavailable until the next day.
One of the biggest challenges faced by remote employees is loneliness. When you only see your team members face to face on a small screen for a few minutes every day or week, it’s easy to feel isolated from the rest of the team.
And when employees are isolated, they end up lacking access to the things that they need to get their work done. It doesn’t matter whether that is information, documents, or just a small help from their coworkers.
With no way to have informal or non-work conversations, remote teams can also fall short on team spirit and camaraderie. Subsequently, when employees don’t feel comfortable reaching out to their coworkers, it can affect team collaboration and performance as well.
Here are a few ways to overcome this:
Create non-work related communication channels where the employees are encouraged to have casual conversations with their coworkers without feeling like they are disrupting anyone’s work.
Organize virtual team-building activities in order to encourage employees to socialize virtually and get to know each other better.
Is work from home effective?
By now it’s clear that work from home offers benefits to both employees and employers. For employees, it provides increased autonomy and flexibility, and for employers, it provides increased employee productivity and cost savings. Although there are some working from home challenges, they can be easily overcome with the right strategies and tools.
With more and more companies embracing remote work for the long term, it is evident that remote work is more than just a passing trend, it is here to stay and it is the future of work.