The world has been impacted in so many ways by the onslaught of COVID-19. One of the largest impacts has been on businesses and employees. Companies had days to swiftly move from an in-person office workspace to set up their employees to work remotely from home, a process that can typically take weeks to implement. Despite this fast transition, several companies have discovered many benefits of working remotely. There are definitely challenges, however, in most cases, the cons are outweighed by the pros. Even as businesses are transitioning back into the workplace, many companies are now offering a blended approach to their employees.
Remote Work Benefits for Employers
Money talks. Employers are finding ways they can save money by moving some if not all of their workforce remote. Office space is expensive and incurs overhead costs every day. Rent, insurance, utilities, parking, and employee incidentals are all bills that can be cut significantly by reducing or eliminating the in-office workplace.
Employers have also found an increase in work productivity with their employees at home. Typically remote workers spend more time logged in to work than they do in the office. Instead of commuting to work, employees are getting up, logging in, and actually working. Having their work available to them at all times allows them to engage in work at all hours of the day and times they might not have otherwise.
Employees tend to take fewer sick days and are less likely to long for vacation when working from the comfort of their home. A typical cold may have an employee call out sick, however, when already working from home, these symptoms don’t seem as daunting when not faced with reporting to the office. This also helps lessen the spread of germs throughout the office which often causes multiple employees to call out sick.
Employers now have access to the best of the best. If working remotely is an option, employers can hire anyone from around the country or even the world. When the location is not a factor, employers can search for the most qualified applicants to fill positions.
Remote Work Benefits for Employees
There are countless benefits for employees when considering working remotely. Some of these benefits are also benefits for employers, such as not having to commute to work and being able to apply for any job no matter the location. The time saved from not commuting to work is so valuable not only to working families but to all professionals who commonly spend hours in a car traveling to and from their workplace.
The money saved in gas, tolls, and car maintenance walking from their bedroom to their home office is a great benefit to employees. Working remotely gives employees the ability to set their own schedules and work when they are the most productive. Some early birds are up at 5 a.m. already crossing items off their to-do lists. Others are night owls, burning the midnight oil as they knock out tasks late into the night. This scheduling flexibility also benefits their employers as they are getting the most production from their employees.
The flexible schedule also allows for balance in hectic family lifestyles, dropping off and picking up children from school and practices, participating in extra-curricular activities and sports, attending routine medical appointments, etc. Being able to be an active participant in the family increases an employee’s happiness tremendously. Moreover, a happy employee works harder and is more loyal to their company.
The health and wellness of remote employees is a major benefit. Employees that work from home experience less stress and anxiety than those that commute into the office. Remote employees no longer have to worry about what to wear to work or even stress over fighting traffic to get to the office. The stress relief of working from home is, indeed, immeasurable.
The ability to customize the home office has increased the individual employees’ work production. The distraction of office politics, noises, and interruptions is minimized. Those who work from home report better relationships with co-workers and employers. Employees working remotely also report more physical activity throughout the day and eat healthier meals at home than they do when traveling to and from work.
Lest we forget that employers are employees themselves can also take advantage of the same work from home benefits as their employees. For instance, Insurance Office of America (IOA) Chairman and CEO Heath Ritenour used his time quarantining at home to launch professional and personal blogs for both himself and his father, IOA co-founder John Ritenour. This just goes to prove that when employees and employers no longer have to deal with the formalities and rat race that the traditional in-office working environment requires, they can finally find time to get a lot of work done that has been sitting on the back burner.
Remote Work Benefits for the World
There are actually real benefits to the world that have been noted with the increase in remote work. To put it plainly, there are fewer cars on the road which leads to fewer gas emissions in the environment. Less traffic leads to a reduction in traffic accidents and loss of life. Less time in a formal office space also saves on electricity, water, and paper usage which all impact our energy resources.
Remote Work Challenges to Overcome
Employees need to organize their office space at home and create a schedule to minimize family and pet distractions. Employees might also have to find solutions and create boundaries for family members to respect their work time. There is a danger of feeling isolated and alone when working from home. It will be important to continue to schedule virtual meetings to interact with co-workers. Team building opportunities, even virtually, are still an important component in creating a positive workplace culture.
Technology is faster and easier than ever before, however, it isn’t foolproof and sometimes doesn’t always work the way it should. Having backup plans and practicing flexibility with changing platforms to get the job done will help alleviate this problem. Communicating solely through email can be problematic as tone can be misconstrued and implied meanings without facial expressions can be difficult to process. This is yet another reason for regularly scheduled virtual meetings.
As the world is changing with the help of advanced technology in response to a global pandemic, companies are also changing how they operate, possibly for good. By incorporating work from a home model, businesses are changing the game for employers and employees alike.