Working from home is becoming more and more compulsory as the world learns to deal with COVID-19. Those who have the possibility to work from home already are, as businesses begin to look at remote working options as the most viable way to comply with health and safety regulations and keep their workers (and their families) healthy.
However, even without something like a global epidemic, webinars and remote work is more and more becoming the norm for office jobs in the 21st century. So, what are some of the benefits of a home office? And how can both employees and employers’ benefit?
A few reports have shown that when workers are given the chance to work remotely, their company loyalty increases. Why?
It’s all about a company having trust in their employees and offering them flexibility. Letting employees work from home when they have a bit of a cough or a runny nose is healthier and more comfortable for everyone involved, no one wants to be the office sniffler or nose blower, or be the person who sits right next to them pretending not to see or hear anything (we’ve all been there, let’s be honest).
Parents with young children will also appreciate the greater flexibility that comes with working at home when their children can’t be away at school or if a babysitter for Junior can’t be found. As employees are given the chance to work remotely, they gain the sense that their boss or company trusts them to do their work away from the office, that paired with greater job flexibility results in greater company loyalty.
Increase your productivity
A study conducted in 2013 by BMO Canada found that employee’s productivity increased by 65% when they were allowed to work from home rather than at the office. The same study cited that the quality of work produced by telecommuting workers increased by 58%.
Solitaire Bliss, a gaming company improved their employee engagement by 26% with remote work. And there are quite a few other example studies around which cite evidence that working from home helps to bring up worker’s productivity and well-being, which in turn helps a company work better and more efficiently. If a happy wife is to a happy life, then a happy employee equals a happy company, right?
When employees work from home, the office doesn’t need to supply all the snacks or pizza or food delivery it might receive, and workers can save some extra money on public or personal transport. A piece of research done by Global Workplace Analytics stated that companies can save an average of $11000 per half-time telecommuting employee in the office. This figure is based on savings that come from increased productivity, decreased real estate expenses, reduced employee absenteeism and turnover. Employees in the US saved from $2500 to $4000 annually just by telecommuting half the time. Working from home pays off for everyone, pun intended.
Decrease your carbon footprint
We all have to do our part to slow the growth of climate change. Working from home can be one such option – it cuts the need for a (potentially) long commute, reduces the environmental cost of running an office which is filled with multiple computers, printers, fluorescent lights, etc. According to some sources, the energy consumption of office equipment can be up to twice of what is consumed at home.
Most likely, you can get by working with just a laptop from home, and only being plugged in when you need to be. Research conducted in 2019 by Global Workplace Analytics found that if the workers who can and want to work from home will do so just 50% of the time, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to the entirety of the workforce of New York State taking themselves off the road. On the other hand, if those telecommuting to work would suddenly begin driving to work instead, 91 million trees would have to be planted to offset those emissions.
Team management and communication
Nowadays there are many communication platforms which can be used for remote team management. Many companies already use platforms such as Slack. Slack has apps that help with just about anything, from buddy onboarding to standup meetings. These platforms are essential for easy communication between workers and facilitate teamwork while away from the office.
The key here is that all employees communicate as clearly as they can with each other and need to be precise with the information which they’re asking for or giving, since a lot of context can get lost (and asking a desk neighbor for some info can’t really be done).
LiveWebinar is another tool that can be used for team communication – our company team has been using the LW platform as a virtual office, working together and staying in touch while everyone works from the comfort of their own homes. In this way, keeping a sense of “we’re all in this together” becomes much easier, and communication becomes clearer as well.
Time is money
Many studies have been conducted concerning the impact of commuting on the overall health of workers, and the results are well, unsurprising. A study done in the UK found that the average workers’ roundtrip commute takes an hour, and 55% of those surveyed say that their commute increases their stress levels. Studies done in the University School of Medicine in Saint Louis and the Cooper Institute in Dallas respectively found a positive correlation between the length of a commute and an increase in blood pressure, another study found that driving more than ten miles (some 16 km) a day correlates with raised cholesterol and blood sugar.
What’s saved in time is also made up by productivity at home, and a happier worker. Some studies have also shown that commuting make people unhappy, and who can blame them? Choosing between sitting down at home or in a local coffee shop versus standing in a packed bus or train for an hour seems like a no brainer, don’t you think?
It's all in the balance
One of the main complaints people who work in offices have is that striking a work-life balance can be very difficult to achieve and to maintain. When working from home, people generally work in set hours as they do in the office, and once their work time is up, they don’t need to waste time on an exhausting commute home.
Maintaining a good work-life balance is all in the name – keeping these two elements balanced is important for maintaining good mental health and positive wellbeing. When working from home people get the chance to spend their free time on their interests, hobbies and with their loved ones.
During the hardship of COVID-19, social distancing is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and our community. Working from home is one such way to protect ourselves and those around us who are more vulnerable. By not commuting to and from work, and staying at the office all day, we reduce our exposure to others, helping to decrease the potential risk of passing on anything.
To sum up, working remotely is an option that seems to be becoming the norm in many companies, both bosses and employees find benefits in this solution (a true win-win!). In the times of COVID-19 working from home is the best option and privilege we have, so let’s take full advantage of the situation we’re in. Just remember to wash your hands.
“Working from home can be just as efficient as working at the office”.