In 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies around the world to embrace working from home policy, there was a general dilemma as to whether workers would still be as effective working from home. Added to this was the need to provide workers with the needed tools to be effective while working from home.
But like many of these organisations realised a few months after, workers could be effective if not more effective working from home. Even more outstanding was the realisation by many organisations that with employees working from home, operation costs were also reduced.
Furthermore, other than being more productive, many employees working remotely showed improvements in their general wellbeing– since there’s a reduction of stress and mental turmoil in daily life. For workers, especially those in the ever-busy Lagos, working from home spares them the hassle of having to be up early each morning, driving or piling into crowded buses and being stuck in traffic for extended periods. What’s more, they wouldn’t have to repeat same episode at the close of work each day.
For some workers, working from home has significantly improved the time they spend with their families compared to before when some of them barely saw their spouses and kids until the weekend.
Before COVID-19, however, studies had already been conducted on the effect working from home had on employees. In the study, it was found that working from home boosted productivity by 13 per cent.
Seeing also as fewer technology barriers stand in the way of off-site workers delivering in-house levels of production while reducing cost for both employees and employers, remote work has been embraced by groups.
Below are eight reasons working from home significantly improves workers’ effectiveness as well as the enticing never before envisaged opportunities it offers employers.
Better work-life balance
Working remotely comes with flexible schedules, which means that workers can start and end their day as they choose, as long as their work is complete and leads to strong outcomes. This control over your work schedule can be invaluable when it comes to attending to the needs of your personal life.
According to a product marketing manager, Sophia Barron, remote workers have a better work-life balance since they enjoy the autonomy to structure their workday and still have time for activities outside of work.
She said, “Some of these other activities might include dropping kids off at school, running errands, attending fitness classes, having a much-needed date night with your spouse, or even something as simple as helping the kids with their homework.”
Less commute stress
Most Nigerian workers, especially those who have to make the two-way commute each day to and from work, spend a lot of time in traffic. This is even worse for workers who live in densely populated areas. For some workers in Lagos, in a bid to get to work early, they have to leave home sometimes as early as 4am, enduring stressful traffic and still have to deal with the pressures of an average workday, before heading back home, wading through even worse traffic.
These long hours spent in traffic leads to a loss in productive work hours. But wasting time commuting is one of the demerits of getting to and from work. More than 30 minutes of daily one-way commuting has been associated with increased levels of stress and anxiety.
A health communicator, Yvette Brazier, noted that health issues such as higher cholesterol, elevated blood sugar and increased risk of depression, etc were associated with commuting stress. She said, “Ditching the commute helps you support your mental and physical health. The time savings can allow you to focus on priorities outside of work, like getting extra sleep in the morning, spending more time with family, getting in a workout, or eating a healthy breakfast.”
Working from home cuts down drastically the money workers might spend if they have to go to work every day. Fuel, car maintenance, transportation, parking fees, a professional wardrobe, lunches bought out, and more can all be reduced or eliminated from your spending entirely. These savings add up and put more money back into your pocket.
And the savings aren’t just for employees, either. As more and more companies allow employees to continue working from home post-pandemic—such as Twitter, Square, Shopify, and Facebook — they have all witnessed significant long-term cost savings. According to Global Workplace Analytics, a typical company can save around $11,000 per year if employees work from home at least some of the time.
A customisable office
Being able to create a comfortable home office is an excellent benefit of remote work. Whether you simply want a more ergonomic chair or you have health issues that require specialised office equipment, you can set up your home office and make it whatever you want.
For most workers, working remotely provides the opportunity to finally get the right workstation and materials to remain healthy and fit as well as happy. Even simple things such as putting up pictures of your kids and spouse or pets on your desk can significantly improve your work output.
Studies show that many offices lack comfortable workspaces and that this inadequacy affects the health of employees in the long run. According to a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Darryl Robinson, ergonomic chairs are the most appropriate chairs for workers who have to sit a lot. He added that it is essential that people keep their posture right when it concerns preventing lower back pain.
Increased productivity and performance
Working from home usually leads to fewer interruptions, fewer office politics, a quieter noise level, and fewer (or more efficient) meetings. In the absence of a commute, remote workers typically have more time and fewer distractions, which leads to increased productivity—a huge benefit of working from home for both employees and employers. When done right, remote work allows employees and companies to focus on what matters—performance.
In a recent study, it was found that 85 per cent of global companies saw an increase in work productivity after offering their employees’ workplace flexibility options. An Enterprise Account Manager, Matt Munro, stated that balancing work and personal lives could be quite overwhelming; commutes and office hours only add to this frustration. This stress affects employees’ physical and mental health, and in turn, their performance.
He said, “The office is excellent for things such as collaboration, spontaneous creative interactions, and mentoring. However, it is also full of distractions. Working from home gives employees more control over their work and focused employees are more productive.”
A happier, healthier work life
Remote, flexible workers tend to be happier and more loyal employees, in part because working from home has been shown to lower stress, provide more time for hobbies and interests, and improve personal relationships, among other things. In addition to personal health and well-being, co-worker and manager relationships can be more positive without the distractions and politics that come along with an in-office job.
According to a survey by a video conferencing device company, Owl Labs, they found that full-time remote workers reported being happier in their jobs 22 per cent more than workers who do not work remotely. Working from home can also lead to better overall health in a variety of ways: more time for physical activity, the ability to eat healthier, enough time to recover from illness or surgery at home, less exposure to illnesses, ease of caring for a health issue or disability, the option to create a comfortable and ergonomic workspace.
Access to a wider talent pool
With remote work, many employers of labour no longer have to bother about the location of their employees. Seeing as work can be done from anywhere, employers no longer have to worry about missing out on talented workers who do not reside close enough or even in the same city as the organisation’s office space.
This affords many organisations the chance to also employ workers even from outside the country, giving the company a globalised look. As long as the prospective new hire has access to the Internet, they can work from any place of their choosing.
While remote work enables employers to easily recruit the best hands from any part of the country, it also provides another benefit – talent retention. Attracting competent hands is irrelevant if they can’t be retained.
In an era where at the slightest sign of discomfort, most employees would easily ‘job hop,’ remote work offers the most effective and easiest nonmonetary way to retain staff.
In a survey by a scheduling software manufacturer, Condeco, it was found that 52 per cent of surveyed organisations witnessed improved staff retention when they adopted remote working. The study also indicated that companies who encouraged working remotely experienced a 25 per cent lower turnover than companies who did not support remote work.