5 Reasons Why People Want to Work Remotely
At first, the transition to remote work was scary. For many employees and employers, it was unchartered territory and the rapid change was fueled by pandemic-era fears that had upended life as we knew it. But as the dust settled, both sides seemed to be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The conversation surrounding remote working quickly turned from a have-to to a want-to. As the weeks turned into months, it became apparent that remote work was more than a temporary solution. In fact, it’s probably here to stay. According to a recent Gallup survey, nine out of ten workers plan to maintain some remote work flexibility. Let’s dig into why so many people are eager to work remotely. Recently it does seem companies are bringing employees back to the office. So it will be interesting to see what happens as employees go back. Here are a few reasons that Remote Work has resonated so much with society.
Work-life balance has been an important topic in Human Resource circles for a few decades now. Initiatives like flex time and unlimited paid time off, paired with the encouragement to use this time for mental health days proved to be a drop-in-the-bucket compared to the balance that remote working was able to provide.
The goal has always been the same: reducing the stress of the workforce in order to improve productivity. As more families became dual-earners, the stress of raising a family and maintaining a household began to compete with the commitment of building a career. Upwards of 73% of remote workers believe that this change has had a positive impact on their work-life balance.
The bottom line is that it’s nearly impossible to do it all. Working remotely provides families with the flexibility they need to shift focus as needed throughout the day in order to keep up with the kids, housework, and their careers.
Instead of subscribing to the traditional 40+ hour workweek, many professionals are using remote work to redefine their work-life balance. And employers who support this initiative are focusing on outcomes instead of time spent with butts-in-seats.
Remote work removes geographical boundaries for employers and employees. While many employers are finding a bigger talent pool, employees can benefit from securing a better opportunity without relocating.
We first saw this trend as remote workers funneled out of silicon valley and NYC in favor of more affordable locales. And some companies answered that trend by slashing salaries to match the cost of living needs which inarguably cost them talent as those workers then felt free to find new opportunities willing to pay them what they were worth.
Alignment with Personal Values
Remote workers save on average, 40 minutes per day or 3 hours and 20 minutes per week by skipping the commute. Not only does this save time, reduce stress, and contribute to the work-life balance, but it also helps the environment. The EPA estimates that transportation accounts for up to 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, working remotely is a big step towards aligning with personal sustainability values, and companies that embrace remote working are showing their staff that they agree.
One of the biggest reasons that employers were reluctant to embrace remote working was the fear of lost productivity. Many employers were sure that the newfound freedom would be taken advantage of to waste time or misuse company equipment. But after a few months, it was apparent that the opposite was happening.
Working remotely helped employees be more productive. In fact, 94% of employers reported that productivity levels had stayed the same or even improved with remote work. Here’s why:
Distance from Office Politics
Happier Employees Leads to Less Turnover
Control Over Environment
This all adds up to two important productivity conclusions. The first is that remote employees are almost always willing to give more to get the job done and the second is that remote employees are more adaptable. A change-friendly workforce is the key to maintaining an agile, competitive company.
There’s no place quite like home when it comes to comfort. Both introverts and extroverts can find the right balance with remote work. For introverts, the distance from others can be comforting. In a remote work environment, there is no expectation of social pleasantries or small talk. For extroverts, there are healthy ways to interact in a virtual world while still maintaining a quiet and focused working environment.
The Takeaway on Reasons to Embrace Remote Working
Many employees are embracing the notion of remote work on a permanent basis. It turns out that many find the arrangement to have a positive impact on their lives. From personal comfort to finally achieving a work-life balance that keeps stress levels low and employees productive, there is a long list of pros for remote working. Many people are choosing remote work for the flexibility and opportunity that it provides. The current state of technology is erasing the geographic boundaries that once limited career opportunities and both employees and employers will be better for it.