15 Feb 2021
When the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in around the world, employees and companies had to adapt to working from home. It all happened quickly but once everyone settled in, employers began to understand how working remotely worked, and its pros and cons.
The big question remains though: Will companies require everyone to go back to working on-site or was the pandemic a crossroads to finally convince employers that working remotely is the way to go for the long haul?
We’ve rounded up six reasons why working from home is looking to be the future for many industries.
Though not everyone is more productive at home and home environments vary, a Standford study found that employees who work from home are 13 per cent more productive compared with their in-office counterparts. Unfortunately, office environments can sometimes create “false positives” that lead to favouritism and bias. Coming in early and leaving late might look like more work, but actual performance is a much better indicator of productivity. When employees work from home, proof of productivity is strictly output and outcomes.
Not only does working from home cut down individual employee's commute costs, it's a huge time saver. From the time saved in commute, employees can focus on priorities such as getting enough sleep, working out or eating a healthy breakfast, all of which contribute to productivity and burnout prevention. Research shows that more than 30 minutes of daily one-way commuting is associated with increased stress and anxiety, so ditching the commute can support your mental and physical health.
As mentioned, employees can save money from not commuting to work, but companies can also save costs as well. For example, if employees are no longer driving to work, companies can let go of parking spaces and other utilities or even office real estate itself. Companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Shopify and Square are allowing their employees to continue to work from home despite lessened COVID risks, and according to Flexjobs, US employers are saving over $30 billion per day in doing so.
Working from home supports a number of sustainability initiatives from responsible consumption to sustainable cities, economic growth and preventing climate change. One of the cheapest ways for us to reduce the carbon footprint is to reduce commuting. According to the State of Telecommuting in the US Employee Workforce report, the 3.9 million employees who work from home at least half time in the US reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalence of taking more than 600,000 cars off the road for an entire year. Remote workers also have the same potential impact on air quality as planting 91 million trees.
As working from home has been shown to lower stress levels, employees tend to be happier and more loyal. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 72 per cent of employers say remote work has a high impact on employee retention.
Thanks to the Internet, you can be virtually connected to the office whenever you need to and with communication technology such as Slack or Zoom, the only excuse employees have to be out of touch with their co-workers is the same excuse for being incommunicado at the office: effort or lack thereof. The concept of working from home was perhaps impossible 20 years ago, but in the digital era, we now have all the tools to make remote working possible.