Remote work is the new normal. According to a 2020 report by Gartner, 82% of companies plan to allow remote work.
With more than 10 million Americans working remotely most of the time, and even more regularly “working from home,” as we call it, we begin to wonder: what are all these people actually doing? What benefits does remote work bring that couldn’t be achieved in an office setting?
The following eight interesting benefits of remote employees may surprise you! They’re just one reason why this once burgeoning trend is here to stay.
1. Remote Work Allows Employees to Engage Better with Their Families – Whether their kids or aged parents need them for support, family members can be a distraction for employees. Requiring that they come into the office at the same time every day discourages them from taking care of their families.
Working remotely allows this to happen. Rather than needing to sit at a desk for 8 hours per day, every day, employees can work when and where they need to take care of themselves and their loved ones. This allows employees to engage more meaningfully with their families and more appropriately address any needs that may arise during the workday.
2. Remote Work Encourages Diverse Teams – it’s only natural that having an inclusive team leads to better results across all segments: customers, clients, community partners, and company associates alike. By allowing remote workers who are more diverse in their locations, as well as those who are more diverse because they’re women or people of color, you open up the world to finding and engaging with a much larger talent pool.
3. Remote Work Puts an End to Travel Fatigue – Even if you love traveling, it can be exhausting to spend hours every day on trains, planes, and automobiles. Getting into work each morning is exhausting enough; requiring travel leads to experiences that are even worse than this daily grind! Now that remote work is so prevalent, there’s less need for employees to be present at the office all day long just because they have to be “there.” Instead, they can drive their own schedules from home or any other place where they don’t have to face the strain of travel.
4. Remote Work Allows Employees to Live in More Affordable Cities – The most expensive cities in the U.S. are also among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas: Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, and New York City (the top three according to Forbes magazine). If you want to live, work and play in these cities, it costs a lot of money. Forbes reports that housing is 74 percent higher than the national average in New York City alone!
Many employees who would love to live and work in such cities can’t afford a decent place to live without spending all their income on rent or mortgage payments! They also can’t enjoy a robust social life if they don’t have any disposable income available after rent and other basic bills are paid.
Remote work offers employees an opportunity to live in a more affordable city, while still being able to work for the same employer. Want to live in Austin, Texas but don’t want to give up your job? Live at home with your parents (or some other family member) and telecommute instead of paying $1,200 (the average monthly rent for one-bedroom apartments in Austin). You’ll save money on rent without giving up your livelihood!
5. Remote Work Allows Employees to Become More Self-Directed – As digital natives who grew up using mobile devices and the Internet from a very early age, Millennials prefer independence over strict management from employers over previous generations. Yet they still want to be in a professional environment where they can learn and grow; these aren’t mutually exclusive concepts, either!
Remote work allows them the independence that Millennials crave while also giving them opportunities to learn from experts inside and outside of their organization. This is a great way for employers to tap into the new value proposition of remote work without losing control over the direction each employee takes within your company’s structure.
6. Remote Work Improves Productivity – With fewer distractions at home, as well as fewer interruptions from coworkers stopping by each day, employees are better able to focus on what matters most: finishing projects efficiently and effectively. Since you’re not watching how many hours an employee spends sitting at one desk, there’s no reason for them to come into the office at all. They can work just as effectively from home!
7. Remote Work Evaluates Performance Based on Results – When you’re working from home, there’s less pressure to manage your time based simply on when you arrive or leave each day. Instead, employees are evaluated based on their results: how they use their time and what they produce in that time frame (even though whether they use it productively is still important!). This creates a check-and-balance system within the company: employees will produce more because their work isn’t dependent on being present in the office during certain times of the day. Therefore, they aren’t penalized if something comes up and they have to miss work for a day or an afternoon.
8. Remote Work Improves the Employer-Employee Relationship – When employees experience benefits like more time with their family, living in lower-cost areas of the country, and working when they want to work, it builds loyalty to them as individuals rather than just employees. As your organization grows and expands throughout the year, it’s not uncommon to see turnover among old employees who are replaced by new ones more interested in remote work opportunities.
There are many ways to enjoy the benefits of remote work, and many people who will benefit from its implementation. Those who have resisted it in the past have been able to see that they’ve been missing out on a huge opportunity for organizations to grow profitably while at the same time improving how employees feel about their jobs. With Millennials leading the way, this trend is only going to continue!