As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the world, millions of businesses are being forced to adapt to managing a completely remote workforce. We know that for most of us, this is a highly concerning time, and for some it may be a particularly anxious period, which we talked about in a blog post earlier this week. However, with home-working being brought to the forefront en masse, it’s the perfect time to highlight the benefits that home working can bring to an employee’s working life.
Therefore, below, we’ve outlined 7 key personal benefits of remote working, and the tangible health benefits it provide.
Remember, it isn’t for everyone…
Before jumping into a list of the direct benefits of home working, it’s important to point out that it isn’t, and never will be for everyone. There isn’t a clear answer on whether working remotely increases employee productivity, or not. What makes a person more productive and produce better results differs from employee to employee, and is completely dependent upon their work-style and personality. It should be no surprise then, that academic studies are unable to categorically say that home-working increases productivity across the board. We’re all different, and for some there is nothing worse than trying to work whilst surrounded by home comforts, whereas others may thrive in an environment free of office distractions and background noise.
Fundamentally, sometimes the grass is always greener on the other side. When you’re sat in the office, the chances are that you could think of nothing better than being sat in your cozy living room with your pets. However, when you finally get the opportunity to do so, you might miss the office and your colleagues and hate working from your living room. It’s all about finding the balance which works for you.
Top 7 Benefits of Working Remotely
Answer that phone call, take the dog for a walk, take a break when you see fit and have your lunch when you want it. Working from home gives you the freedom to manage your own schedule with office hours having less of an impact on it. If you’re not constrained to office hours, the freedom is completely yours to choose when to complete your work. Even if you do work office hours, if you have a 10 minute break in between calls, you can spend your time not working doing something valuable; get some exercise, play a song on your guitar, sit outside and get some daylight. These are things especially valuable to your mental health during this current isolation period.
2. No commuting
Nobody enjoys commuting to work everyday. Some of us spend hours each day travelling to and from work. Working remotely cuts this out, giving you ample free time to spend not thinking about your work, saving money on fuel and public transport and cutting your carbon footprint. You’re not only saving time and money, but also the environment!
3. No office distractions
We know some people thrive in the office environment, but it can sometimes be all too easy for some of us to spend half of your day listening to office chatter, staring at the bustling city outside your office window and getting involved in office politics. At home, you’re free to isolate yourself and place your entire focus onto the day’s work, as you see fit.
4. Your own custom environment
At home, you’re in control of your own environment. Set your own noise level, be that working in complete silence, switching on nature sounds, listening to office bustle or even sing along to your favourite songs. Choose exactly where you set up your office. It doesn’t have to be a large desk in your living room or in your study. You can set up your office on your sofa or even work in the garden. The choice is completely up to you to find the environment which increases your productivity the most and best suits your lifestyle.
5. Complete household tasks usually reserved for the weekend
While working in the office everyday during the week, we often don’t get the chance to tidy the whole house, wash the ever-growing mountain of laundry in your basket and mow the garden until the weekend comes. Working from home gives you the chance to complete these tasks during your breaks, meaning the weekend can be reserved for you to spend more valuable time doing the things that you enjoy; just how it should be spent.
6. More time with the people you value the most
Of course, working from home can bring you closer to those you love. This is especially true during the current situation, where children across the world are off school and your significant other or housemates may be working from home too. Even in more ordinary times, you don’t have to send your children to after-school clubs because you’re at home already, you can spend time with your pets rather than leaving them alone during the day, or even just spend more time to yourself.
7. Communicate more effectively with colleagues and Value time with them more
Working from home doesn’t have to be the stereotypically isolated and lonely situation it once was. Modern technology has changed it significantly. It’s so easy to organise a virtual meeting, and because you know you can’t just walk over to your colleague’s desk to ask a question, but have to actually place some thought into a virtual meeting, you will refine your thoughts and communicate more effectively. Furthermore, the contact you have with your colleagues while working remotely can sometimes be more fun thanks to modern technology, even outside of work hours. During the COVID-19 isolation period, EMEA Recruitment have had beer meetings, virtual pyjama parties, and daily catchup calls through our virtual meeting room software EMEA Live.
Ultimately, perhaps the greatest argument in favour of working from home is the benefits it can have on your physical and mental wellbeing. Commuting to work everyday is not only frustrating, but research has found it is actively shortening our lifespans. Uncomfortable temperatures, anti-social behaviour, overcrowding and journey delays due to high traffic have been found to be the biggest contributors to stress caused by commuting. On top of this, commuters eat approximately 767 calories more on average outside of meals per week as a result of their travel times. Working without the commute allows people to cook healthier foods at home, snack less and feel less stressed.
It isn’t just the commute, either. All of the benefits outlined above contribute to a less stressful and healthier life for workers. The more balanced schedule that home-working gives us allows more time and money to do things that enrich our physical and mental wellbeing, perhaps leading to a longer and more healthy life.
The future of remote working
Prior to the current coronavirus outbreak, remote working was already an increasing trend, with it being projected that 1 in 3 workers will be able to work from home by 2022. Of course, the current crisis has pushed home-working into the forefront on a mass scale. Of course, this isn’t an accurate representation of what a future with a higher amount of home-working will look like, and a mix of both approaches to work will most likely prevail. However, we may see more employers in the future look back at this period and look at remote working with a more positive mindset.
Of course, it will never be for everybody, but for some people it may be the difference needed to produce a more productive, less stressful work-life, and therefore as the work environment continues to evolve, the tangible benefits of remote working will most likely continue to become more relevant.
Keep up to date with our progress in working from home and all other things EMEA on our LinkedIn page, including our #MyWeekFromHome series of posts every Friday. Also, make sure to keep up to date on our News & Events page for more updates in the coming weeks.