5 reasons to start working remotely
02 June 2018
Technology empowers us to work remotely. Tell your grandparents that your co-workers are in a different city from you and they will be amazed. Tell them that you can choose to work from home, from a café or from another country without this impacting your job in any way – and they will be even more amazed.
But should you work remotely? Naturally, there are pros and cons of working remotely and therefore it's not the best option for everyone. In this week's blog post, we will go through the reasons why you should work remotely. But to have the complete picture, please remember to check out also our next article (coming next week), where we go through the reasons why you should not work remotely. Having realistic expectations is a key to making the right decision.
1. Be more productive
Some people may think that if you are not in the office, you are not productive. But in fact, this statement is very far from the reality. Multiple research studies have confirmed that people achieve better results when they work remotely. One of the top studies on the subject was made by Ph.D. Nicholas Bloom from Stanford University. The research concluded that working remotely makes people 13% more productive than working from the office. This can hardly be a surprise when you consider that remote work is simply allowing the team members to work from their preferred physical location. Given that most people want to be successful in their professional lives, it's natural that they choose physical settings that allow them to do their jobs in their best possible way.
2. Freedom of location
Remote work allows much more flexibility. The benefits of this are many: no time spent commuting, you can be closer to your family or you can travel the world. The magic is that you don't need to sacrifice your career in order to achieve those benefits. Being able to work from anywhere is clearly a plus. When you work remotely, you have the freedom to make good decisions for yourself about the physical place of work. Confirmation for this can be found in the fact that remote workers report less distraction at their workplace compared to office workers (e.g. this study). Similarly, remote workers are more engaged in their work (e.g. this survey).
3. Save time and money
Everybody hates the daily commute, especially in the morning. The traffic is stressful, it's boring, not to mention all the wasted time and money. In the UK, The Royal Society for Public Health estimated that the average person commutes for 56 minutes per day, which impacts negatively the physical and mental health. In the US, Citi has estimated that the average US commuter spends about 200 hours per year driving back and forth to work, which costs approximately $2,600/year. For bigger cities, the number goes even higher: Los Angeles ($4,160), New York ($3,640). I think those numbers are unacceptable! By working remotely, instead of commuting 200 hours per year, you would commute 0 hours per year. There is no commute when you work from your home or the Starbucks next door and that's the beauty of it.
4. Improve your health
The extra time saved in commuting and being more successful at work directly affects your health. For example, studies report that 45% of those who start working remotely are getting more sleep than before, 35% are getting more physical exercise than before, and 42% get to have better health than before. Remote work is also better for your mental health: studies find that working remotely results in improved life satisfaction and less stress. The companies also benefit: fewer employees leave their company, which can only be a good sign of healthy workplaces.
5. Make the world a better place
This report would not be complete if we do not mention the positive externalities of working remotely. By reducing the traffic, remote jobs decrease the greenhouse emissions by 54 million tons per year. When fewer people rush to the office at the same time, less infrastructure will need to be built for dealing with the inevitable congestions. Fewer people working from the office also means that society will need to build fewer office buildings. On a global basis, those environmental benefits add up quickly. Remote work also enables people to be productive citizens, which could otherwise not be able to be part of the labor force and the community. Putting all those reasons together, it's not a surprise that most governments are actively supporting the growth of remote work.