Work from home is important as remote employees are more productive, working 16.8 days more per year then their office based counterparts. Working from home also helps reduce the commute that employees have, saving them time whilst also saving organisations up to N13,000,000 per year per employee in keeping them in the office.
A recent study by Survey Monkey and CNBC in which they polled over 9000 employees found that more than 44% of employees are happier working from home in their current roles than they were when working from the office.
Now bear in mind that the majority of people polled were just recently working from home due to the pandemic and a lot of them for the first time so any shift in their work patterns are likely to lead to more job satisfaction.
That being said, with a sample size this big it’s unlikely that a change in work habits can account for such a large increase in job satisfaction.
By working from home, you will be more satisfied on a day to day basis, creating a huge boost in productivity and your work ethic when compared to normal.
Stronger employee value proposition
The world of work is changing rapidly.
Technology and automation mean that jobs that used to set you for life such as truck driving will soon
To add to this, employees are more picky about the companies they want to work for, with millennials and Generation Z wanting strong values and a good work life balance, finding the best talent possible is proving a more difficult challenge than it used to for the HR team.
One of the major reasons why working from home is important is that it stretches the employee value proposition for an organisation.
An employee value proposition (EVP) is the benefits the employee will receive when working for said organisation and is something that organisations use to compare their offering to their competitors.
With the massive generational changes that are now in the workforce, having a stronger EVP strategy is vital for the country’s success. So adding flexible working or working from home in the mix will make it easier to attract the best talent out there in a tough marketplace.
Wider employee reach
Another major reason why working from home is important is that it allows organisations and employers to have a wider talent pool to pick from.
I mean let’s face it, say you were based in Detroit and you were looking to recruit a programmer.
In a traditional work environment you would be limited to the programmers in the local area with a lot of the major talent being recruited in Silicon Valley.
You would often have to pay a premium to get the right staff in and they would only usually work during typical office hours.
Working from home now means that employers have a much wider reach of the talent they can choose from, therefore can often pay a lot less then they would if they were working just from their location.
Better work life balance
Easily the biggest reason why employees – myself included love working from home is the work life balance it gives you.
Sadly a lot of us who work in traditional offices are working longer hours than before and taking longer commutes to get to work.
This is eating into more of our time and without the willpower of a Greek God, you may find yourself feeling burnt out at the end of the day.
This can be disastrous for your personal life, as you may not be able to make it to the gym, do any chores or socialise with friends and family.
Working from home allows organizations to give their employees the responsibility to be in charge of their own calendars, managing their personal lives during their break.
Instead of taking a break to catch up over the water cooler for 15 minutes you get the chance to catch up on some chores, go for a run on your lunch break and generally feel more fulfilled that you are getting stuff done.
Don’t just take my word for it, however with a recent study from the Centre For Economics And Market Research finding that employees who work from home have 106 more hours of leisure time per year then their office based counterparts.
I know which one I would rather have!
One of the biggest fears that employers have around their employees is if they let them work from home, they just won’t be productive.
Images of sitting in front of the TV whilst they are meant to be working spring to a lot of managers head as the main deterrent to working from home.
Add the 106 extra leisure hours per year per employee they let work from home isn’t that extra time lost?
Employees who work from home work 16.8 days more per year then their office based counterparts. This averages out to 1.4 days per month of extra work.
All of which takes into consideration the extra leisure hours that people working from home get.
When you find out that the average employee is only productive for around 2 hours and 53 minutes per day any extra productivity should be a cause for celebration and really helps put things into perspective.
Being more productive as an organization means less time spent on tasks meaning larger profits, which after all, every organization wants to grow year on year.
I had to test out the productivity piece myself and so did my own experiment which you can find out more about here:
One of the other major benefits and reasons why working from home is important is because employees show they have happier well-being working from home then an office.
Recent research found that employees who get the ability to work from home are happier and report better overall quality of life then their office based counterparts, with two thirds or organisations reporting a better work life balance from staff.
With 73% of employees feeling disengaged by the workforce according to Gallup, improving employees well-being should be at the top of every HR teams to-do list.
Luckily working from home seems like a silver bullet that can definitely help.
Future proofing the workforce
One of the major reasons why working from home is important is because of the future of the job marketplace.
With future presidential candidates like Anndrew Yang making a case for Universal Basic income and the future of the workforce any many traditional job for life type roles in doubt (almost 25% of American jobs are facing some form of disruption due to automation), it’s important that organization future proof there companies as traditional offices look to become a thing of the past.
Having a workforce that is able to work from home will mean that any organization will be able to adapt to the changing marketplace and leaves less room for external market factors impacting an organisation or even worse, causing it to go into administration.
Better for the environment
Another major reason why working from home is important is due to the environmental impact it can have.
It’s estimated that if every role was done remotely that around 54 million tons of greenhouse gasses would be prevented from entering the atmosphere.
Working from home would also reduce other types of pollution such as noise pollution, fossil fuel consumption paper and plastic wastage.
One of the things I was most excited about when working from home was the amount of commute time that would be saved.
In the past I’ve had roles where I was commuting as much as an hour and a half by bus, coach and train to just get to work – heck there were even a few times when I took a plane!
Working from home nips all that in the bud, allows us remote workers to set our own schedules and so gives us valuable time back that we lost on things like a commute.
It’s estimated that the average American commutes 16 miles per day and takes 27 minutes per journey, which equates to a round trip of 54 minutes. This then adds up to 234 hours per year or 9.75 days lost to a commute.
Independence from where you work
Human beings are funny people.
We have the need to be both comfortable and uncomfortable, the need for stability and instability.
The same goes with an office environment, with it being common for offices, even the most fun looking ones becoming stale after a few months of working in them.
Working from home then gives you a break from an office that you have no inclination towards designing and gives you a much needed time away needed to feel refreshed before you go back to your office.
Feelings of responsibility for employees
Let’s face it, no one likes micromanaging.
We’ve all been in situations when we’ve had managers looking over your shoulder or checking in on you every 5-10 minutes.
Working from home is important as it reduces the need for managers to check in, giving employees feelings of responsibility making them work harder in the process.
I mean ask yourself, who would you rather work for? An organization that checks in with you every two to three minutes, monitors your screen time when you work from home or an organization that lets you be in charge of your on schedule, and gives you the responsibility you need to do.
Improved diversity and inclusivity
Working from home means that organizations can hire employees from across the globe, often paying less then they would normally and saving upwards of $11,000 – $13,000 per year per employee.
One of the hidden benefits however is that recruiting employees from a larger talent pool and on a global scale helps reduce some of the prejudices that people have.
Racism, cultural difference and misogyny are all issues that sadly we have not gone far enough to address.
What better way to challenge your own biases as an organization than employing people from around the world and using their experiences and differences to strengthen your company.
Whilst it seems like the world is becoming more divided than ever, aim to be the change you want to be in the world.
Hiring employees who work from home may just be the key you were looking for.
The most significant and important reason that organizations will allow their employees to work from home is the massive cost savings organizations make in letting their employees work from home.
It’s estimated that working from home saves organizations around $11,000 per year per employee. This consists of everything from heating, lighting and energy costs all the way to the cost of sale of an organisation.
By allowing organisations to allow their employees to work from home also means that they could potentially offer a lower salary to their workforce taking into a flexible work scheme as a benefit to their pay.
Now don’t get me wrong there are still some costs associated for an employer, for example ensuring that you have the structures in place to allow for remote working, such as giving employees laptops (you can find my recommended laptop of choice here), or covering a partial cost of their internet bill, but these costs are far less expensive then they would be in the office.
Your own office
A major benefit of working from home that a lot of people don’t consider is that you can express yourself through your own home office.
Having a designated work space makes the difference in my opinion to an employee who can be more productive when they work from home compared to an employee who does not have one.
Having this space allows you to separate a clear barrier between your work and personal life and frees you from any potential distractions (hello Netflix!)
So what should every office have? Well it really is important that your office speaks to you and that your personality matches up but I’ve found, through my time working from home that every office needs the following (the links will take you to my recommendation food said products)
A desk ( preferably a sit stand desk)
Whilst the design aspects should be up to you, I would recommend using the colors blue and orange which have both been proven to be more productive then traditional colors like white or red.
Control of your own schedule
We’ve all had situations in life when our personal lives take over our work lives and these situations will continue to happen.
Whether it’s a tyre puncture, a death in the family, sickness or just stress and exhaustion sometimes we need time away from work to regroup and recharge.
Working from a traditional office can sometimes lead to difficult questions. One of my friends once had a death in the family and was pressured into not taking time away from work.
Working from home nips this in the bud.
Employers who let their employees work from home and trust them to be in charge of their calendars find that employees repay them taking fewer days off, less sick days and end up being more productive overall.
More time for a side hustle
At the heart of every economy are new businesses, it’s estimated that there are around 627,000 new businesses every year in the US alone. A number which is only going to grow with millennials and generation X further entering the marketplace, who are more entrepreneurial in their nature.
So how does working from home fit into this?
Well the majority of business started out as side hustle when people working full time from home whilst also building a business on the side.
Employees who work full time from home and also start a side hustle are likely to work harder and be more productive for their employer as they try to get their business off the ground.
You avoid office politics
Whilst a bit of office drama can be fun and make things interesting, it’s only a matter of time before you get frustrated with it and want to avoid toxic people and a negative work environment all together.
It’s estimated that toxic work environments are more common than people thought, with only 20% of people feeling as though their managers understood the impact of their actions.
Working from home avoids this all together allowing people to create their own work environment free from office politics, drama and even people.
More time for hobbies
The amount of time people spend at a traditional work is increasing and so is the amount of time commuting into work.
One of the reasons then why working from home is so important is that it gives people the ability to catch up on some of the hobbies they might not have the chance to do due to these tiring hours.
Hobbies have been scientifically proven to have a huge number of benefits including:
Forcing you to take a break from being on the go
Keeping you healthier and active
Can open up your world view
Can have positive impacts on your career.
By having time away from work focusing on your hobbies means you will have more time to reflect and take an eye off work, ensuring when you come back, you will feel even more energetic.
Better relationships with friends and families
One of the biggest shocks I always tell graduates, new to the workforce is the amount of time it eats into your day.
Hanging out with friends till 3 in the morning on a school night or even having the energy to do anything beyond 5pm are a thing of the past when working from an office.
Usually one of the first things to suffer are family and friend relationships as you all slowly start to drift apart due to busy schedules.
Working from home flips this on it’s head allowing you to maintain or strengthen those relationships with people you hold dear.
Having stronger relationships with both friends and family has in fact been linked to things like higher happiness and better quality of life overall.
Employees have higher job satisfaction
A recent study found that 53% of Americans are unsatisfied in their current roles…
They wake up every day going to work feeling as though they are going into a prison and as such have poorer quality of work or productivity of work then if they enjoyed what it is that they do.
Not the case with working from home.
Employees who work from home have been found to be higher in their levels of overall job satisfaction with 60% of Americans stating that they are very satisfied in their current roles. This is important as happier employees are more productive and result in better growth for employers.
Increased job satisfaction in fact is one of the largest reasons as to why people opt for working from home.
It helps reduce sickness
Sick leave is a major blight that organisations have to deal with. It’s estimated that around 141.4 million days are lost in the UK collectively every year due to sick days, with the average employee going on leave for 4.4 days.
In the US this figure can be as high as ten days per employee per year wasting a lot of valuable time for employers.
This is completely different for those of us who work from home, with remote workers taking 2.4 sick days per year.
The reason employees who work from home are less likely to take days out when they are feeling stressed or overworked as they are in charge of their own schedule.
Increased time for fitness
Anyone who has worked from home for any significant period of time knows just how fast you put on weight.
In my first few months working from home my waistline grew by 2 inches and my weight shot up by 10 pounds – not ideal.
One of the reasons why working from home is so important is that it makes you focus on your health and fitness, giving you more time to work out and get healthy.
If it wasn’t for working from home I would be gradually increasing working from an office without realising that I needed to take better care of myself.
Some of my choices of good exercises are as follows:
Going for a brisk walk on your lunch break
Doing a heavy weight workouts before you start your work day
Do a home HIIT workout
Consider starting a hobby such as cycling or martial arts.
Reduced holiday time
In the UK, employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks annual leave per year.
In the USA, the average amount of leave given by employers is around 10 days off.
Whilst everyone needs a break from work to rest, relax and catch up, often at times employees use their days off because they are burnt out from work
Working from home is important as employees take fewer days off when working from home then their office based counterparts. This is because employees have the ability to be in charge of their schedule and can take breaks for a few hours when they feel they need a rest, rather than to work in the hours they know they will be unproductive.
It teaches you to be independent
One major challenge that a lot of us are facing, myself included, is the “youthefication” of adults.
Look at the most popular movies that are out and you will see Disney ranks up there, as bad as it is to say, a lot of us haven’t had the responsibilities needed to grow into fully fledged members of society and dare I say it some of us millennials may even be…spoiled.
Working from home is important as it forces people to take responsibility for their days. Employees are responsible for setting their own schedule, getting their tasks completed by deadlines whilst also communicating with the rest of their colleagues.
This amount of responsibility forces people to become independent in accomplishing what they need to.
It’s trendy and can improve your job prospects.
Let’s face it, no one wants to be left out of the loop.
If you’re anything like me as soon as you hear about a TV show that’s trending, you need to catch up on it.
With more and more people looking to work from home with around 10 million remote workers expected by 2030, saying that you are at the front of an innovative workplace trend has some real clout to it.
On top of this, it makes you more employable, most remote workers have been in there roles for at least the past 4 years and having a history of working from home shows that you are a responsible, hardworking employee – both of which will make you stand out if you decide to switch roles in the future.
It’s scientifically proven to be better
Finally, whilst all these points are well and good there are a number of studies comparing working from home that show exactly why working from home is important, I’ve collated them together in the table below:
Airtasker Employees who work from home work 16,8 days more per year then their office based counterparts. This works out to 1.4 days per month.
Ahmed et al Employees who work from home take fewer sick days than their office based counterparts. 2.2 days when compared to 2.4 days.
Survey MonkeyCNBC Employees who work from home are significantly happier with their roles then they were before by 44%
EPA 54 million tons of Carbon would be saved from being polluted if people would end up working from home
Global Workplace Analytics Remote working is growing rapidly, with a 44% increase in the past 5 years.
A lot of people reading my blog want to know what products I recommend for a home office/remote working. You can find out my recommendations here and learn how I make money whilst working remotely on the side here.