Gone are the days of the traditional nine-to-five work schedule. With millennials taking over the workforce, regular notions of what “work” looks like have changed drastically. There has been a significant shift from traditional expectations of the workplace to more alternative career choices.
One workplace trend that is gaining popularity is the idea of telecommuting — or, in other words, remote working. In the U.S. alone, 3.3 million people work remotely — that’s roughly 2.6 percent of the American workforce. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why many choose to work from home, as opposed to coming into the office:
Remote Working Allows for Better Work-Life Balance
Being able to work from anywhere frees up a lot of time that would have otherwise been spent in the office or in long commutes. This extra time promotes a better work-life balance, with remote employees having more time to pursue other interests. As aptly stated in this article on The Startup, “Being remote lets you have more freedom and get things done without mourning about how unlucky you are when Monday comes around or how cramped the subway is.” Location flexibility allows remote employees to pursue hobbies alongside work, explore new places and spend more time with their families and loved ones.
Because they aren’t bound by strict schedules and rigid work hours, remote employees are able to take full advantage of daytime activities that might have otherwise been impossible to engage in. Additionally, remote workers are able to dedicate time to personal wellness goals, and even have better access to nutrition, as they can essentially work from home and cook fresh, healthy meals every day.
Since remote working offers unprecedented flexibility, employees are able to “customize” their workspaces and schedules. In turn, this promotes increased employee satisfaction and boosts productivity so much so that “remote workers were found to be 13 percent more productive as compared to workers who worked at the office.”
Remote Working Can Help Save Companies Money
While remote working is especially advantageous for employees, employers can also greatly benefit from allowing telecommuting. For instance, many leaders in the tech industry, where remote working has become the norm, claim that more remote workers equals less office space and thus decreased overhead costs. Buying or even leasing commercial office space can be an expensive proposition, for big and small companies alike, and remote workers have many options for great workspaces.
By inculcating a remote working policy, companies can save bundles on real estate costs. According to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, companies can save $11,000 per employee annually through reduced expenses on utilities, furniture, and office space. Real life examples of this include IBM, which reduced real costs by $50 million, and Sun Microsystems, which saved $68 million a year in real estate costs. While larger companies will obviously see more savings by offering flexibility, smaller companies too can reduce costs considerably.
Telecommuting also allows companies to avoid other expenses that are a byproduct of having a brick-and-mortar office space. These include electricity expenses, furniture, and interior decoration costs, expenses associated with providing employees with the likes of tea, coffee and snacks, cleaning costs and more.
Remote Working is Good the Environment
As climate change becomes a very real threat, more companies are looking towards ramping up their green agendas. Remote working is one way to do so and is proven to have a positive impact on the environment. How? The obvious answer is that remote working eliminates the need for long commutes, which is turn greatly reduces carbon emissions.
According to an article on Virtual Vocations, the average worker travels 30 miles or less each day for work. This totals to about 7,839 miles per year. With these assumptions, each remote worker can “reduce transportation-related carbon emissions by about 69% or 3.2 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.” Other than carbon emissions, commute reductions equate to a lower amount of traffic and congestion, thereby mitigating air pollution and improving air quality.
Additionally, remote workers use much less energy than what would typically be consumed in an office environment. The same goes for paper, with telecommuters leaning towards email, cloud-based software, and online solutions for work tasks instead of using paper. Digital solutions eliminate the need for widespread paper usage and considering the average office worker consumes about 10,000 sheets of paper each year, the reduction in paper usage is significant. In these ways, remote working can directly benefit our environment and make for a sustainable future.
Aside from providing better work-life balance, lowering company overhead, and helping to safeguard the environment, remote working allows employers to hire and retain top talent, and work with people from all over the world. With all these perks, it’s no wonder that remote working will revolutionize the nature of work in the near future.
Noah Rue is a journalist and a digital nomad, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn't frantically updating his news feeds, Noah likes to shut off his devices, head to the beach and read detective novels from the 1930s.