For years, people have clung to the belief that meaningful work could only exist in an office. Sure, there might be that employee who has the “work from home” privileges, but that was the exception, not the norm.
This all changed with the arrival of Covid-19 in the United States back in March. Millions of workers were sent home to work in the interest of health and safety. Suddenly, remote work reached beyond the exception: now it was for everyone.
If you were one of those workers, you might have felt out of sorts at first. The office routines and faces of coworkers were gone. Not only was remote work a physical adjustment, but also a shift in mentality.
Whether you are new to remote work or looking for a job that will allow remote work, you’ll soon discover the amazing benefits of being a remote worker. Here are just a few.
1. Money Savings
Have you ever added up the expenses of going into an office? It is estimated that, on average, people save about $4,000 per year working from home.
It can be a lot over the course of the year. Transportation alone can include gas, car maintenance, public transportation costs, and parking fees.
Then there’s the office setting itself. The job may require a professional wardrobe, and depending on the clothing, may have associated dry cleaning expenses. Not to mention keeping the wardrobe fresh every few years with new purchases.
Not to mention the food. A $4 latte on the way to the office and work lunches – either with coworkers or solo – add up fast.
Remote workers can also claim a home office deduction on their taxes. You can claim a portion of portion some expenses as work-related. These include mortgage interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and utilities.
2. No Commute
In addition to reducing costs associated with not having a commute, there is the time involved. Whether the commute is ten minutes or an hour, it is likely no one’s favorite part of the workday. With a demanding job, it makes the day that much longer.
That’s time you could be spending on something you enjoy, such as your family, working out or a hobby.
There are also health issues associated with commutes. People who have commutes longer than 30 minutes face increased levels of stress and anxiety and greater risk for depression.
Commutes also have an impact on your body, including higher cholesterol, higher blood sugar, and temporary spikes in blood pressure. Commuters can also have backaches from poor posture sitting for an extended period of time.
With remote work, your commute may be as simple as walking from your kitchen to your home office. Maybe some stairs will be involved.
Eliminating commutes also reduces the carbon footprint of an employee. Fewer cars on the road mean less pollution and less congestion. So the benefits are both to you and the planet.
3. Rethink Your Office
Your office in a building may have had a cubicle, a shared workspace, or your own office. In any instance, you likely did not have much choice in the layout or features.
Everyone works differently, and remote work means designing your workspace entirely around you. You choose everything from your chair to the color of the walls.
As workers headed home in March of this year, many found themselves scrambling to create a home office. But another benefit to remote work is that you can keep adjusting: move your desk, change the lighting, or add additional equipment.
You can even think bigger. Remote work means that you are no longer confined by geography. You may have been working a job because it is close to where you live, or vice versa. With remote work, those constraints are gone.
Remote workers enjoy being incredibly mobile. This can include a change of scenery and working in a coffee shop for the day. Remote workers can even travel and take advantage of being connected, literally working from anywhere.
4. More Meaningful Interactions
A big concern from both employers and employees alike is that remote workers will be disconnected. Gone are the “water cooler” interactions and discussions around a conference table.
With large groups of the workforce working from home due to Covid-19, all of these myths were quickly dispelled. Teams quickly learned how to interact with each other using various tools such as video conferencing, messenger apps like Slack, and email.
Remote employees have found ways to have fun and stay connected, whether it is through chat emojis, virtual birthday cakes, or themed virtual meetings.
Remember the thought: “This meeting should have been an email?” It turns out those can be emails when some physical space is placed between employees. Meetings will become more productive when people are more mindful of their time and environment.
Working from home does not need to be isolating. Teams just need to rethink how they can stay engaged with each other.
5. Increased Productivity
As it turns out, the drop-in conversations of an office actually decrease a worker’s productivity. Constant interruptions throughout the day force workers to shift gears and make it harder to focus on work. Office noise can also make it difficult to concentrate.
With remote work, the attention turns to performance rather than appearance. Being physically present in an office does not mean that work is getting done. Work is measured on the results that are produced.
Office politics can also be a huge source of friction. That annoying coworker or office gossip can be more easily avoided.
You will also find that you become more independent. Without a colleague down the hall to ask a quick question, you’ll find answers on your own or make decisions on your own. You’ll learn to rely on yourself as your own best resource.
Remote workers often find that they see their jobs with a fresh perspective. Being able to control their work environments gives them motivation. This then translates to a renewed energy or passion for the work.
6. More Flexibility
Remote work can often lead to more flexibility in how work gets done. Not everyone is a 9:00 to 5:00 person.
Maybe you are a software developer and code better at night. Maybe you are a morning person and like to wake up early to respond to emails. Maybe you work in chunks of time and like to take breaks during the day.
Whatever the case, you end up finding that you can work in the best way for you. Finding a rhythm can also take time. You won’t necessarily know how you can best find your stride on Day 1, especially if you came from a rigid office environment.
Teams will learn to be mindful of each others’ schedules when everyone is in more control of their time. There may be core hours for meetings or expected response times, but you may end up with a lot of control over your day.
This also has a lot of benefits for things like appointments or sick time. Workers often force themselves into the office when sick. They also struggle to schedule doctor’s appointments or errands around work hours.
Appointments and sick time become less of an issue with remote work. Employees can fit their obligations into the workday more easily.
7. Better Work-Life Balance
Above all, remote workers have a better work-life balance. From the time gained from not commuting, to distance from toxic coworkers, to control over the time of day when work occurs: remote workers are happier.
Sometimes employees fear that they will feel like they are working all the time. They fear that there will no longer be a distinction between “work life” and “home life.”
All remote employees have to set their own boundaries. From a designated workspace where “work” occurs or sticking to set hours, there are ways to separate work and home.
But many remote workers find that they embrace the intersection of work and home. They can throw in a load of laundry right before a conference call. They can run out and do a quick errand in the middle of the day.
Overall, employees that work remotely report less stress and higher job satisfaction. Remember, work is something you do, not a place you go.
Remote Worker Teams Are Here to Stay
While Covid-19 will not be forever, the reality is that the remote worker status is here to stay. Employers also found benefits from telework, including reduced overhead costs, increased productivity, improved employee retention, and a better pool of applicants for jobs when the location can be “anywhere.”
Chances are, you’ve already realized that remote work is the way to go. Once you have discovered the benefits of being a remote worker, you can’t imagine going back into an office.