Many companies transitioned their office operations to a remote work set-up following the spread of COVID-19. Working remotely is not an entirely new idea: Before the pandemic, those who are part of the gig economy are rarely required to report to the office, while some companies already have a remote or hybrid set-up in place.
Forbes, in 2018, also projected that 50% of the workforce in the US was set to adopt a remote work set-up — the COVID-19 outbreak merely sped up this transition. Many employees now prefer to continue working remotely and job seekers even consider such a set-up when applying for a company position.
The ongoing popularity of remote work pushed employers to adopt either a hybrid set-up or a complete work-from-anywhere operation. Still, there is debate on whether or not remote work is beneficial for organizations in the long run.
Here are some benefits that come with distance working to understand why workers prefer working remotely and why more companies should offer this flexibility.
As the term suggests, remote work allows employees to work from virtually anywhere — at home, in a coffee shop, or even from another region. It doesn’t matter as long as they have proper equipment, strong internet connection, can be easily contacted, and get the job done in time. It also allows companies to widen opportunities for diversity and inclusion.
Parents can work without worrying about leaving their children who may be left alone, people with disabilities can comfortably manage their tasks, minorities won’t have to stress about code-switching while interacting with their colleagues, and those who live far won’t have to worry about moving or allotting a transportation budget to report to work.
“Are my employees really working if I’m not there to watch over them?” is probably the question that hesitant employers have in mind in regards to the issue of remote work. But it turns out, a complete work-from-anywhere operation can increase productivity among workers.
A two-year study of 800,000 employees at Fortune 500 companies found that productivity has increased by 47% since they started working from home. The study measured employee productivity from March to August of 2020 and compared that data to the same six-month period in 2019.
Results show that productivity has improved while working from home. This outcome is thanks to the elimination of prolonged (and sometimes, unnecessary) in-person meetings and the hassle of daily commuting.
Reduces Costs for Business Operation
Working remotely also saves both employees’ and employers’ precious financial resources. For workers, they won’t have to think about spending money for lunch and morning coffee, especially if their office doesn’t provide these necessities for them.
On the other hand, remote work allows employers to use their office space more efficiently and save on real estate costs. Allowing employees to work wherever they please also reduces the company’s spending related to computers, phones, electricity, heating, air conditioning, and other necessities needed for in-office operations.
What’s more, employees are less likely to report late in a remote work set-up since they won’t have to spend time commuting and dealing with traffic on the road — thereby helping their employers cut financial losses.
Better Work-life Balance and Higher Morale
Another advantage of working remotely is that it provides a better work-life balance and increases the morale of employees. Eliminating lengthy commutes and occurrences of overtime allow workers to have more time not only for work but also for themselves and their loved ones.
With these extra hours, employees can do the things they want without affecting their work-life; whether that’s spending more time with their families, pursuing hobbies and interests, or even taking on a freelance gig. Having a shot at a proper work-life balance increases their morale, which can also boost their job satisfaction and overall productivity.
Less Work-related Stress
The inconvenience of everyday commuting, along with issues that can only stem from an on-site set-up, can take a heavy toll on the mind and body. However, remote work can reduce, if not eliminate, the effects of these stressors.
Working remotely allows employees to rest and recharge properly so they can be more productive and focused while working. It also allows them to steer away from unnecessary office drama and politics that could otherwise distract them from their tasks and disrupt their progress and growth.
Higher Employee Retention Rate
With increased productivity, better work-life balance, and lesser stress, employees become happier at work — and when they are happy, workers are more likely to stay in the company longer. That means employers won’t have to find a replacement and spend resources training them, therefore ensuring a smooth and continuous operation.
Remote work offers a plethora of benefits both for employers and employees. But to make it work, both parties need to trust each other. Companies need to have the confidence that their workers will maintain the productivity expected from them, while employees need to have faith that their employers will not develop unrealistic expectations regarding their work.
It would also help if companies provide proper employee recognition to boost the confidence and morale of their workers even more. On the other hand, employees can further improve their remote work experience and productivity by developing healthy work habits.
About the Author
Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management and travelling are translated in his works.
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