Remote work is here to stay. By the end of 2021, an estimated 25–30% of U.S. employees will do their jobs outside the office multiple days a week, according to recent research by consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics. The reason, analysts say, is that businesses—and their employees—have found major benefits from the flexible work arrangements, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few to consider:
Productivity and engagement
Forbes® estimates that teleworkers are, on average, 35–40% more productive than their colleagues who work in the office. Data also suggests that they’re more engaged in their jobs.
People want to work hard (and enjoy their jobs), but they also have lives outside of the office. It’s no surprise, then, that 54% of employees would swap their current position for one with more flexibility—leading to 12% less turnover, Forbes estimates. And research from Work Institute, a consulting firm, indicates this can save companies money as well.
Without a commute, parking fees, and food costs, employees save between $2,500 and $4,000 a year by working remotely half-time, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Remote employment benefits businesses too. The same study determined that companies can save an estimated average of $11,000 a year for each employee who works remotely part-time, with most of that savings coming from “increased productivity, lower real estate costs, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and better disaster preparedness.”
More me time
Gone are the days of slogging through rush hour traffic to get to and from the office. Working remotely gives employees time back—54 hours a year, to be exact, which is how much time the average American worker spends in traffic annually, according to a 2019 report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Without a commute, people can use that extra time however they’d like, whether it’s for sleep, hobbies, or time with family.
Health and wellness
Working remotely can make it easier to squeeze in regular workouts during the day. From online exercise classes to walks and runs, there are many ways to keep your body moving between meetings. You and your employees will feel better—and probably work better too.
Sure, employees still have deadlines and calls, but they also have personal and family responsibilities. Working remotely can often mean they can manage their lives—attending medical appointments, picking up children from school, and running errands, among other things—more on their own terms.
For most employees, as long as they have a computer, an Internet connection, and the tools to do their jobs, they don’t need to be in the office. That’s especially good for people in smaller towns, who face limited local career options, as well as those who move often, like military families. Such flexibility also makes it easier for businesses to hire a more diverse workforce instead of one limited by geography.
A remote workforce benefits the environment by reducing your company’s carbon footprint. Maps of Los Angeles show pollution declined significantly during the first two weeks of March 2020—when COVID-19 first forced Americans to work from home—compared with the same period the previous year, The New York Times® reports. Similar drops were seen in the Bay Area, Seattle, and New York City.