10 Surprising Work From Home Benefits for Companies and Employees
It was John Lennon who famously said that life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans. And for all the tumult of the past few years, there’s one thing that holds true—one way or another, we still have to bring home the bacon. But when it comes to how—or more specifically where —we get the job done, times have changed.
After global events altered our lives forever, one of the biggest adaptations that has stuck with us is in the way we work. Working from home has become the norm for many of us—despite being a relatively new concept for a lot of industries.
By 2025, we can expect 36 million of us (22% of the workforce) to be working remotely, with even more employers adopting a hybrid work model. Of course, the pandemic has played a major role in this shift, with the number of at-home workers leaping from 6% in 2019 to 33% by May the following year.
With the lines between home and office having blurred forever, both workers and their employers may have valid concerns about life after the office. Yet, there are also plenty of benefits of remote working. (Bye, bye, rush hour! See ya never, suit pants!)
We’ll take a look at the ways employees and employers can equally benefit from remote or hybrid work models—today and in the years to come.
5 Benefits Of Remote Work For Companies
1. Fewer Sick Days
If someone is feeling under the weather, getting ready to go into an office can feel a little daunting. And if facing the morning winter commute is too much, a sick day may happen. Working from home, however, allows the employee to work at their own pace in an environment that’s comfortable to them—if they feel well enough to work. Research found seven out of 10 people worked while feeling ill since the rise of remote working.
Having the option to work remotely can also stop the spread of illnesses—something that launched working from home into the spotlight to start with—and can therefore ensure the workforce stays strong.
However, despite more employees working while showing symptoms of being ill, some employers have implemented new benefits for sick leave. 25% of organizations added additional paid leave or time off for illness, as well as more personal days being offered to employees.
2. Larger Talent Pools
One of the biggest benefits of remote working for a business is that it unlocks new talent. A company restricted to an office in the heart of Manhattan, for example, could only attract those who were living locally, able to commute or planning on moving nearby.
By opening up the talent pool to virtual workers, you can welcome great talent into the business who might not have been able to relocate. It means businesses can hire the best candidate for the jobs based on the person’s skills, qualifications and suitability for the role, rather than whether they can get into the office for a 9 a.m. start.
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3. Opportunities to Invest in Meaningful Benefits
Remote work offers employers the chance to reimagine employee benefits. By moving away from ping-pong tables and office snacks—as valued as they are—companies can shift to more meaningful benefits that employees care about.
98% of corporate leaders say they plan to offer new or expanded employee benefits because of the pandemic, focusing on benefits their employees say they want, like:
- Child and senior care benefits
- Mental health support
- A more flexible work schedule
These benefits help companies increase employee engagement, boost loyalty and attract top talent.
For the vast majority of employees, meaningful benefits are so important, they even trump a higher salary. 80% of employees say they’d prefer additional benefits to a pay increase while 88% of survey respondents would prefer a job with a lower salary and a flexible schedule over a job with a higher salary and a fixed schedule.
4. A Smaller Carbon Footprint
Climate change is one of the most pressing matters of our day and many employers are scrambling to reduce their carbon footprint and increase sustainability. To those companies, we say, good news! Remote work is one of the most effective ways to do just that.
Employees working from home won’t have a daily commute, meaning there will be fewer cars on the road—and fewer emissions out there polluting our air. In fact, key air pollutants fell to unprecedented levels during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, with particulate matter falling by up to 40% in many parts of the world.
While the practices of early COVID-19 lockdowns are unsustainable, there are plenty of ways remote work can continue to have an eco-friendly impact. Nearly 40% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions come from residential and commercial buildings, along with a major portion of our country’s energy use and building materials. But remote work can drastically reduce the need for paper documents, electricity, water usage and other practices that harm the planet. A win for our planet is a win for everyone.
5. Major Cost Savings
There’s no denying this one: both employers and their employees save big when they make the switch to remote work. A recent BambooHR survey found that the typical worker spends 32% less on work expenses when working from home compared to working in the office.
Savings on gas and/or public transportation are a major factor here. But there are less obvious savings, too. When workers aren’t spending money on lunches out, nice work clothes and those random trips to the store on the way home, the change quickly adds up.
Likewise, employers enjoy serious cost savings when they allow employees to work from home—especially if the company is based in a major metropolitan area. By hiring workers in cities with a lower cost of living, employers can spend less on wages without sacrificing talent. Upwork estimates that employers in the top 15 most-costly metros could save up to $37,000 annually per employee by hiring remotely.
But these savings aren’t reserved for companies in expensive cities—or fully remote employees. Based on conservative estimates, Global Workplace Analytics reports that the typical U.S. employer could save $11,000 per half-time remote employee. Companies can save on rent, utilities, cleaning services and even reduce their tax burden by switching to a remote or hybrid work model.
5 Benefits Of Remote Work For Employees
1. You’re No Longer Alone
Once upon a time, remote working was exactly that—remote. As far as some of your colleagues were concerned you might as well have been on Mars. Things are different now. We have a wealth of communication channels at our fingertips and we’re (for the most part) comfortable and adept at using them. The likes of Zoom, Teams and Slack have made it easy for employees and their employers to keep the lines of communication open. It’s a win-win. Businesses can feel confident their teams are still connecting and working collaboratively, while employees working remotely don’t feel isolated and lonely.
Hybrid working also offers employees the flexibility to prioritize the place they enjoy working most. Where some might choose the office four days a week to take advantage of the traditional workplace life, those who prefer carrying out tasks from home can opt to do more days in that environment. When it comes to WFH vs remote working, a recent survey found only 11% will go back to the office full-time. The times are changing.
2. You Can Create the Perfect Workstation
In an office, employees have no control over what color to paint the walls, how to decorate their space or what temperature to set the thermostat to. Optimum comfort is always in question, especially in shared office spaces. In fact, that temperature debate alone has long been a battleground among office workers.
A 2018 study found that one in five employees (19%) have secretly adjusted the office temperature during the summer months (13% to make it cooler and 6% to make it warmer, just so you know).
So how does this affect employees? The same study revealed that half of workers (46%) said their office is either too cold or too hot—with over half saying that their productivity is impacted when the office is too cold and 67% saying that sitting in an office that’s too warm affects their ability to perform effectively.
Working from home unlocks the ability for employees to create the perfect working environment and workstation for themselves: whether it’s a standing desk by the window, having the air-con on high, or placing pictures of the family around a brightly-painted room. And hybrid workers can take advantage of this arrangement too, knowing they won’t have to work in the same environment five days a week if they don’t want to.
3. You'll Race Toward Pressing Deadlines In Comfort
Jobs have deadlines. Whether it’s a project that needs to be submitted by the end of the week or a pressing email which needs to be sent by the end of the day, deadlines are inescapable.
But having the right environment can help you pin a task down. Meeting a deadline while working from home can be more comfortable and done with ease. If a worker knows they’re an early bird, they may wish to start a little earlier to meet the deadline and then finish earlier. Or, if they’re a night owl, they may choose to work a little later and then finish early the following day.
A recent study found that over nine months of working from home, productivity increased by 13%. This was attributed to several factors including:
- Quieter environment
- Fewer sick days
- Fewer breaks
Employees shouldn’t be working over their expected hours often as this misses the point of a flexible work-life balance. However, when a deadline needs to be met—whether it’s because time was taken out to see their child’s dance recital or a family member was sick—an employee knows they can work at the most convenient and comfortable time for them.
4. You Can Work from Home—or Bora Bora
For many digital nomads, wherever they lay their laptop is their home. Without the ties of a physical office, many fully remote employees are taking advantage of the freedom to work from anywhere—whether it be their hometown, the suburbs or the beaches of Bora Bora.
A 2021 study from FlexJobs revealed that the ability to move was one of the biggest reasons workers wanted to stay virtual. Study respondents cited a host of reasons they’d be tempted to move, including:
- Better quality of life
- Lower cost of living
- Different climate
- Change of scenery
- Closer to family or friends
- Access to better schools.
Relocations from big cities to midsize and small-metro areas rose by 23% in 2020, with remote workers citing affordable housing, proximity to family and retirement as the top reasons for their move. Many of these workers maintain their big-city salaries even after moving to a more affordable area, increasing their disposable income—and making remote work vacations to Barbados, Bermuda, or another exotic destination more plausible.
5. You're More Likely to Achieve Work-Life Balance
The modern world can be hectic at the best of times. Flexible work practices like remote and hybrid work models are proven to be positively associated with work-life balance, especially for women looking to maintain a career after childbirth, or for the parents of preschoolers.
These patterns ring true for the majority of employees who started working from home during the pandemic. According to a 2021 Gallup poll:
- Only 6% of employees working from home would prefer to be fully on-site
- 9 in 10 remote workers hoped to continue working remotely.
Workers who said they prefer remote work cited the following as the top three benefits of remote work:
- Lack of commute
- Improved wellbeing
- Greater flexibility to manage work and home life.
Another study by talent agency Robert Half revealed that 60% of working professionals said their work-life balance had improved without a commute. Since the average daily commute clocked in at about 55 minutes in 2019, many workers have gained back an hour of their day to spend as they please. Now you can spend rush hour pitying those poor souls stuck in traffic while you make a start on dinner.
How to Maintain a Positive Remote Working Environment
Even good things can have their drawbacks. Working in your slippers is wonderful, but comfort sometimes comes at a cost. To take full advantage of all the benefits of remote work, there are some things to consider.
Promote Healthy Work-Life Hours
It can be easy for employees to skip their lunch because they feel comfortable. While this might not be an issue when done on the odd days, when done regularly it can skew the work-life balance. This can trigger poor job satisfaction and burnout, leading to time off. Instead, promote healthy conversation around the need for breaks and how they can be factored into the working day.
Simple ways to have a break from the desk:
- Take 10-minute screen breaks when needed
- Go for a walk at lunch
- Eat your lunch away from the desk.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
To prevent anyone from feeling lonely and isolated, keep communication a priority. Whether it’s encouraging employees to video call 10 minutes each day to have a non-work-related chat or planning weekly manager one-to-ones. If any team member shows signs of becoming distant, try to reach out sooner rather than later to support their mental health.
There’s no denying that there are more temptations at home: it’s where we keep all our favorite things after all. It’s okay to enjoy these temptations in small doses and they can be easily factored into the working-from-home life.
- Use the commute time you’ve now got back to watch an episode of your favorite show
- Prep dinner at lunch to save you time in the evening
- Vacuum the living room during a screen break
- Tell friends and family you can meet them as soon as you’ve finished work, now that you don’t need to commute home first
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Encourage Employees To Find The Perfect Working Environment
Whether it’s fully remote or hybrid, encouraging the team to find a space that works for them is essential.
If hybrid is an option, ensure employees have a laptop so they can easily move between workstations. If working fully remotely, consider providing each team member with the correct office furniture. A desk, chair and extra screens (if needed) should be provided to ensure they can do their job to the best standard without being hindered. Don’t forget, the kitchen table is meant for mealtime, not filing reports.
Promote Team Days
WFH doesn’t have to mean never seeing your team in person again. Regular team catch-ups and team-building exercises is a good way to keep morale high and teams motivated. If getting together in person isn’t an option, organizing virtual team get-togethers can be a good way to build a positive work environment without breaking the budget.
Embracing The Work-From-Home Benefits
Remote and hybrid work models are here and they’re proving very popular. In a recent survey, 76% of respondents said that their companies had made the move to a hybrid working model. There are plenty of reasons for this, and with thoughtful planning, companies and their employees will save money, enjoy greater work-life balance and positively impact the environment.
So next time you’re tempted to groan about another Teams meeting, think of the extra cash this arrangement is putting back in your pocket—and cherish those comfy sweats that would never slide in the office.
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