It was around the first quarter of March 2020 that the entire world realized that the COVID-19 outbreak had achieved pandemic proportions. It required immediate and drastic action in the form of quarantine lockdowns which lasted for two weeks to even months in efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
However, because of these lockdowns, the economy shut down as well. As businesses closed – many of them permanently – and jobs were lost, there was only one solution, a solution that has actually been gaining ground over the past few decades and which freelancers have been taking advantage of, namely WORKING FROM HOME (WFH).
Even with the current vaccine rollout, because the pandemic is still far from over, the grand “Work From Home Experiment” remains in full swing. Already, companies and employees alike are seeing the benefits to WFH. Major companies like Twitter, Amazon, and Reddit are making a permanent switch to WFH.
Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Benefits to WFH. You will see why WFH is fast becoming the way of the future.
1) Elimination of commute stress
Perhaps the very first benefit that was noted with WFH is the elimination of the daily commute and the stress comes with it. On average, commuting to and from the office can take 30 minutes to an hour or more per day. Add horrendous traffic and many employers have seen valuable work time lost because employees come in late. Even if they do come on time, employees feel exhausted as a result of the commute. It also increases the risk of health issues, such as increased cholesterol, higher blood sugar levels, and depression. Suffice to say, WFH totally removes the stresses of the daily commute from a person’s work day.
2) More time, increased productivity
When you get rid of the daily commute, this meant an approximate one or two more hours can be added to an individual’s work day. Employers have noticed increased productivity and improved performance among their employees while WFH. The increased productivity can also be attributed to less distractions and lesser stress with the removal of office politics and other workplace stressors.
3) Increased Savings
An unexpected, but welcome benefit to WFH is increased savings on both the parts of the employers and their employees. With the reduced number of people coming into the office for work, employers who are leasing office space have opted to reduce the space size. Companies that do own buildings have taken to renting out office space to other businesses. They have also experienced savings on everyday costs, including office equipment and supplies.
On the other hand, employees found savings on public transport fare and fuel costs (especially if they drive to work). They also saved on costly clothing expenses, dry cleaning, and daycare.
4) Elimination of Geographic Restrictions
The term “work from home” can be considered a misnomer because a worker is not limited to working from his/her own home. They can work anywhere they want. This is especially true for people who prefer in an Internet café or any place outside their home with a strong WiFi connection.
For employers, this meant that they are not restricted to hiring people within their geographic location. They can hire a diverse range of talents from all over the world.
Take note though that while remote work or WFH can enable employees to avoid working in a place with a high cost of living, it may mean a lower salary. Among the policies being considered by employers for their WFH employees is to make salary adjustments based on location. So, if an employee lives in a location with a lower cost of living, they can expect to receive a lower salary.
5) Positive Impact on the Environment
Everyone knows just how bad the air pollution gets during rush hour traffic. Because many people are WFH, greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by as much as 3 million tons and oil savings by $980 million.
6) Improved Sustainability
WFH has helped in improving a number of sustainability initiatives, including climate change and responsible consumption. With the elimination of the daily commute alone and the reduction of vehicles plying major thoroughfares, people have not only noticed a marked decrease in air pollution, but also improved air quality.
7) Improved Work-Life Balance
WFH allows for a better work-life balance because of the flexible schedules. Employees now have full control how best to plan their day. They can set their work hours around times that they are most energized and productive. It is also easier to balance out work against the responsibilities at home, such as caring for kids or any sick or elderly family members. For those who are single, they can now indulge in their personal interests, such as cooking or arts and crafts, with some transforming these hobbies into lucrative money-making ventures.
8) Customizable Office
The problem with the office, especially for rank-and-file employees, is that they have to make do with the furnishings that are available to them. Unfortunately, regular office chairs can put strain on one’s posture and the lower back. Sometimes, lighting may not be adequate for work. With WFH, an employee can customize their work station to meet their specifications. This would include an ergonomic chair and desk, a better computer set-up, direct lighting, and many more.
9) Improved Inclusivity
One of the benefits of WFH that is being projected is improved inclusivity. As mentioned earlier, employers have been hiring remote workers worldwide to increase their talent base. These remote workers come from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. With job performance and productivity being the key factors for longer and permanent employment, employers can hire individuals based on these factors rather than allow their decisions to be hampered by discriminating views on gender, color, and disabilities. However, the matter of inclusivity needs to be further looked into for the long term, beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
10) Happier and Healthier Work Life
WFH employees are reporting that they are much happier now working from home than in-office. They now have more time to indulge in their personal passions. In addition, remote workers report greater satisfaction with employers that allow them to WFH and are more likely to stay with the company and recommend them to their friends and colleagues.
WFH also promotes better health because remote workers now have more time to take care of themselves through a healthier diet, regular exercise, and faster recovery from illness.
These are the Top 10 Benefits to Working From Home. With the COVID-19 pandemic far from over, it is important to embrace WFH as the ideal working situation for the “new normal” in the years ahead.