Within the past several years, the global workforce has seen a drastic rise in the number of companies employing remote work structures in their day-to-day operations. The rise of remote work can be attributed, in large part, to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced formerly in-office operations to be conducted strictly digitally from the home for many companies and their employees beginning in Q1 of 2020. As the world transitioned to a remote work structure, many companies and employees found the structure to be more beneficial than expected, prompting questions about whether in-office work has become obsolete in the modern age. Among the many unforeseen benefits of working from home, employees and employers have noticed higher productivity overall, increased job satisfaction, and a significant reduction in costs for employers.
Does Remote Work Increase Productivity?
If you find yourself wondering how remote work could possibly contribute to an increase in worker productivity, you’re not alone. A reduction in productivity overall was a main fear of employers in 2020, when many were tasked with making the switch to a work-from-home structure. However, research from Ergotron has shown that remote workers work longer hours than traditional in-office employees. On average, Ergotron reports that 40% of formerly in-office employees work longer hours than they previously had after switching to being fully remote or hybrid.
Another possible explanation for this increase in employee productivity within a remote working structure could be the relative lack of distractions that are common in an office setting. Where traditionally employees have worked with others in the office, most remote employees have the luxury of solitude when working from home, free of others’ distracting phone calls, videos, and chatter.
Does Remote Work Increase Job Satisfaction?
With the rise of remote work structures, people in the field have noticed and studied changes in job satisfaction over the last four years, offering employers an insight into what keeps their employees happy, healthy, and satisfied with their jobs. A study by Tracking Happiness found that more time spent working from home was positively correlated with greater employee happiness, meaning that fully remote workers reported the highest levels of job satisfaction out of all other groups in the workforce. This increase in job satisfaction in remote workers can be attributed, but not limited, to improvements in mental health, cost savings for employees, and a better work-life balance.
Remote Workers Report Improvements in Mental Health
In a study by Ergotron, 56% of employees report an improvement in their mental health after switching to a remote work structure. This is due, in part, to the stress-relieving qualities of remote work when compared to the traditional office setting. When employees are allowed to work remotely, elements such as office politics, gossip, and discomfort can decrease significantly, allowing employees to experience less job-related stress and improving mental health. Additionally, discomfort in the workplace that can be attributed to non-ergonomic office furniture and uncomfortable clothing does not provide a challenge to remote employees, as they are able to fashion a comfortable working setup for themselves and wear clothing that keeps them comfortable, rather than professional workwear that may exacerbate discomfort distractions.
Because happiness and satisfaction at work is significantly correlated with overall life happiness and satisfaction, changes in the workplace and work structure that contribute to increased job satisfaction can have real and lasting impacts on the mental health of employees. Happy and healthy employees tend to be more satisfied with their jobs and have a greater overall loyalty for their company.
Less In-office Costs for Remote Employees
When working remotely, many of the traditional costs associated with working in an office decrease significantly or disappear entirely for employees. Perhaps the greatest of these costs is the cost of commuting to the office each day. Bankrate reports the average yearly cost for employees that commute to work to total $8,466 and the average time spent commuting for the American worker to be 239 hours yearly. When workers transition to a remote working structure, this cost disappears, allowing employees the freedom to save the money they had previously been spending on commuting costs.
Likewise, other costs traditionally associated with working in-office, such as money spent on professional workwear and food purchased throughout the workday, can be mitigated as well. When workers are based at home during their workday, they often opt to save money on both their wardrobe and grocery bills by wearing clothes that they already own or eating at home rather than going out for lunch. This also points to the benefit of convenience, which many remote workers find to be a major upside of the WFH structure, cutting down on both money and time spent grabbing lunch, commuting, or getting ready in the morning.
Improvements in Work-Life Balance for Employees
It is important to acknowledge employees for their work, but it is equally important for employers to acknowledge the lives that employees have outside of their jobs. Remote work allows for employees to have a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to factors outside of their jobs, such as children and family commitments. In employing a WFH structure, employers can offer their employees a greater work-life balance, contributing to increased job satisfaction and reduced employee turnover.
Does Remote Work Benefit Employers?
The many benefits of remote work for employees do not take away from the benefits experienced by employers. When a company is remotely based, employers experience the benefits of their employees being more productive and satisfied, as well as new and unique upsides that function for the overall health of the company.
Remote Work Saves Employers Money
Perhaps one of the greatest upsides of remote work is that it cuts costs associated with traditional in-office work structures. Major costs such as leasing office space, maintenance, and utilities can be erased entirely in a fully remote workplace. Additionally, costs related to employee absenteeism are reduced when employers implement remote or hybrid work structures, as well as the amount of PTO taken by employees.
Replacing employees is an expensive ordeal that employers are faced with, but the cost of hiring and training new employees can be reduced significantly in remote work settings. Because employee turnover sees significant decreases in workplaces that have a high degree of job satisfaction, companies that utilize a WFH structure retain satisfied, loyal employees and decrease the costs associated with replacing them.
Remote Work Allows Employers to Hire the Right People
In a remote work environment, employers do not suffer the same hiring constraints as traditional in-office workplaces do. When it comes time for employers to hire new employees, remote workplaces offer employers the freedom to find the best employee for the position, wherever that employee may be located in the world. Because applicants are not limited by locality, employers of remote work environments are able to select new employees from a much larger talent pool, ensuring that the most-suited person for the job will be brought onto the team.
Working Remotely for 20+ Years—The VAN LEUVEN Company, Knoxville, TN
At our founding in 2001, we knew that there was something special about remote work for employers and employees alike. As a Knoxville-based national marketing agency, The VAN LEUVEN Company has seen the many benefits of working remotely firsthand, and we wouldn’t change a thing. We believe that when you treat your team the best, they will perform to the best of their abilities, rewarding your company with their loyalty.