Remote work is taking the business world by storm. In the last 5 years alone, remote work has grown by 44%, according to Flexjobs. And there are good reasons that remote work is becoming so popular: there are a ton of advantages to it. Here are some of the benefits of remote working, for both employers and employees alike.
1. Cut the commute
Commutes are long, soul-crushing ordeals that many of us have to suffer ten times a week. According to the U.S. Census, the average commute is about 26.1 minutes—that means that most of us are in transit upwards of an hour a day. Just think about how much time could be saved by staying home. Each year, you burn 10 whole days going back and forth from work. Even working remotely for just part of the week could save you a whole lot of time and hassle.
2. Get more done
You’d think that working from home would lead to slacking off, right? Actually, it’s the other way around, especially for “knowledge workers”—people who need time to think on the job—whose best work is often done where there are few distractions. Offices are rife with obstacles to concentration—endless meetings, water cooler conversations, fires to put out. In fact, a two-year-long Stanford study showed that working remotely can lead to performance increases of up to 13%—a little over half a day’s work every week.
3. Save dough
This happens to be one of the biggest benefits of remote working for both employers and their employees: remote working is cheaper across the board. For employers, offering remote positions means cutting down on office space costs, lower turnover, and lower salaries, in certain instances. According to Owl Labs 2019 survey on remote working, 34% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut up to 5% in order to work remotely.
And for employees, between eating out less, reducing dry cleaning bills, and spending less money on transportation, working from home can lead to significant savings. If you’ve ever looked down at your $13 takeout salad and said, I can make this myself for $1.75… you know what we’re talking about. But that’s not even factoring in the ability to live in cities with more affordable housing. Quartz crunched some numbers and found that working from home in certain cities can save thousands of dollars a year, because you can get that big city salary while maintaining your country lifestyle.
4. Improve your work-life balance
Most people aren’t interested in winning the rat race anymore; they want to live life to the fullest—and even for those of us married to our jobs, working is only a small slice of the equation. According to the Owl Labs survey, 91% of respondents said that work-life balance was the top reason they wanted to work remotely. And better work-life balance means not only improvements in quality of life, but it means lower stress levels and healthier habits across the board, like eating better and exercising more. Whether it’s a quick half-hour run between phone calls or spending what used to be your commute time on a yoga mat, you’ll take care of yourself at home in ways you never would at the office. Any office.
5. Get happy
The results are in: remote workers are happier. They report greater satisfaction with their work and at their jobs than their in-office counterparts—by about 29%, according to Owl Labs—in part because their flexible schedules allow them to get more out of life. And as we know, happier employees tend to be more engaged and do better work. Plus, some people even stay at their jobs for longer—another positive that doubles as a benefit for employers.
6. Keep your job
There are a few reasons why retention and remote work go hand-in-hand. For one thing, people don’t necessarily stay in the same place for their whole lives. If you offer remote work options, you’re less likely to lose an employee just because they’re moving to a different neighborhood, city, or country. Same goes for parental leave. Recruiting and training new employees is an incredibly expensive process, so anything a company can do to lower attrition rates, the better.
7. Save the planet
Commuting is a major contributor to carbon emissions—according to the EPA, transportation is the greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. If you’re working from home, you’re cutting down on your carbon footprint significantly. Remote work has been associated with less electricity usage, less paper and plastic waste (think about how much food waste is generated from daily takeout lunches), and even improvements in air quality, not to mention fewer painful traffic jams—one of the perks of having fewer cars on the road.
8. Avoid the drama
You can’t choose your co-workers—but you can choose how you engage with them. And the less time spent in the office, the less time getting distracted by office drama. According to a survey conducted by Buffer, 73% of office workers said getting away from the drama was a major incentive to work remotely. But the beneficial impact that remote working has on communication doesn’t stop there. Remote workers also report that communication across the board is clearer and more efficient, not just in one-on-one daily check-ins, but in meetings, too. This is in part because hybrid meetings require more preparation, and there is more incentive to stay on message.
9. Take credit for your work
With more job freedom comes more independence and autonomy. Remote workers tend to be more self-directed than in-office workers—not just in terms of how and when they work, but in terms of what they’re working on, too. Anyone who’s ever been micromanaged knows that being given a little bit of agency can have a huge impact on your creativity and productivity. In a survey conducted by And.co and Remote Year, 18% of participants said that leading projects without being micromanaged was the primary reason for working remotely.
10. Wander while you work
The greatest perk about adopting a flexible, remote schedule is that you can take your work with you anywhere. That being said, the data suggests that this particular benefit has yet to be fully explored—digital nomads might be more of a stereotype than an actual reality at this point. In a survey conducted by And.Co and Remote Year, only 9% of the respondents said they opted for remote work so that they could live like digital wanderers.
The travel bug hits creatives and marketers the hardest: 11% of those in marketing stated they wanted to work remotely because it allows them to travel, and 65% of creatives said so because of job freedom and the flexibility to work from anywhere.
Why Remote Work Will Work for You
If you’re thinking about starting to work remotely, or asking your boss if you can switch to a remote or hybrid schedule, just remember: you’re not the only one who’s going to benefit from the change. Remote work is a perk for you, but it’s also a perk for your employer. That, ultimately, is the greatest benefit to working remote—it’s good for everyone!—and it’s the reason that we should all be doing more of it.