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The Benefits of Remote Work on Employee Happiness, Productivity, and Health

Let’s consider the modern worker. They expect a lot more from their workplace: more choice, more control, and more flexibility about how, where, and when they work. In fact, as business operations...

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Let’s consider the modern worker. They expect a lot more from their workplace: more choice, more control, and more flexibility about how, where, and when they work. In fact, as business operations slowly return to normal, remote workers are now threatening to quit rather than go back to a full-time office environment, and some for good reason.

While the remote work setup has been met with skepticism on the part of some employers, it’s clear that it is now the preferred option for employees. It’s a viable alternative to the traditional office setting, allowing workers to take control over their schedules and their lives. Sorry, managers -- it's not about you. It's about the employee.

Remote working affords employees schedule flexibility, a better work-life balance, as well as a more relaxed work environment. These can only translate to productive and motivated employees who efficiently help you attain your business goals, and the numbers support this. Decades of Gallup research shows that when employees are happy, healthy and more engaged, their performance soars.

From its effect on overall employee well-being to operational performance, this guide unpacks the immense benefits to employee health, happiness, and productivity that accompany remote work.

Remote Workers Have Better Work-Life Balance

Remote employees have the unique advantage of not needing to be at a certain place at a particular time in order to work. Having this level of control over their schedule enables them to complete their tasks at a pace most comfortable for them while allowing time for personal errands, hobbies or rest. According to a survey by FlexJobs, 73% of workers reported a better work-life balance since they started working from home.

More Opportunities for Activities Outside Work

A home-based work setup eliminates “time drains” such as commuting, workplace interruptions, watercooler chitchat, and the like. As a result, remote workers can accomplish their tasks faster and have more personal time than their office-based counterparts.

A 2019 study on the potential impacts of the flexible working culture shows that remote workers get 105 hours of free time solely due to the fact that their commuting time is reduced or eliminated entirely. Remote workers can leverage the extra time to pursue things that make them happy outside of work. Want learn how to play your favourite instrument, speak a new language, or taking online classes to turn a hobby into a side-hustle? With remote work all of these things are possible.

Less Burnout

In a world where a hustle culture and hyper-productivity reign supreme, employee anxiety and stress levels are at an all time high. This need to constantly be on the move coupled with long working hours, daily commutes, office politics, and other workplace stressors can lead to burnout.

According to Indeed’s Employee Burnout Report, more than half (52%) of employees today report feeling burned out, while 80% said the pandemic contributed further to workplace burnout. Remote working arrangements can help to reduce this. Home-based employees can limit daily stressors because they no longer need to deal with frustrating commutes or constant office meetings, for example. The takeaway here is that they can better control their work environment. It’s hardly a surprise that 97.6% of employees report wanting to work remotely at some point in their career according to Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote Work survey.

More Time for Family

Daily commutes eat up precious time that families could be using to spend more time together. Having breakfast, spending time with kids in the afternoon, or cooking dinner together – that all gets harder the more time you spend at work or being stuck in traffic jams on your way there.

Among the top benefits of working remotely is that it gives employees the flexibility to spend time or take care of their families. A 2020 survey by the Pew Research Center revealed that 38% of employees who have recently experienced this work setup say it has become easier for them to balance their work with family responsibilities. The work-life balance afforded by teleworking has allowed workers to spend more time with their children (46%) and their partners (42%).

Working Remotely Leads to Productivity

Much of the research indicates that remote workers are more productive than on-site workers. Gallup discovered that engagement climbs when employees spend some time working remotely and some time working in a location with their coworkers.

Engagement should not be viewed as a feel-good exercise, a perk for leaders to dole out, but rather as a strategy that can improve KPIs and better business outcomes. Engaged employees are more enthusiastic, energetic and positive, feel better about their work and workplace, and have better physical health.

The shift in office setups during the pandemic has proven that working 9-5 every day in an office cubicle does not always equate to higher productivity. Sometimes, all an employee needs is a quiet, distraction-free work area to accomplish more tasks in less time. By working from home, employees gain access to this kind of space and reap the following benefits:

Fewer Workplace Distractions

Workers of all ages have reported experiencing distractions while at the office. According to a 2018 Udemy Workplace Distraction report revealed that the leading office distractions are:

  • Chatty coworkers (80%)
  • Office noise (70%)
  • Feeling overwhelmed by changes at work (61%)
  • Meetings (60%)
  • Social Media (56%)

Meanwhile, a more recent report by Mopria Alliance showed the activities that took up the time of office employees included personal communications (8.4 hours per week), checking email (7 hours per week), and unplanned conversations with colleagues (7.8 hours per week). It also revealed that more than half of office workers get distracted by playing games and watching videos while at work.

The data reinforces the notion that not all traditional offices make for efficient workspaces. Giving employees the option to work remotely will allow them to choose their preferred environment, allowing them to control and limit potential distractions.

Flexible Hours

An employee’s work hours can have an impact on their overall performance. After all, some people function better in the morning while some work better at night. Then there are workers who have personal responsibilities, medical conditions, or family obligations which could make sticking to a strict work schedule difficult.

By providing flexible remote working options, you enable employees to build their optimal work schedules. As a result, you can reduce instances of absenteeism and allow them to perform at their best. This is backed by Gartner’s 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey in which almost half of remote workers say that schedule flexibility has helped them become more productive.

More Energy

Remote working means being able to avoid long commutes. According to the latest data from the US Census Bureau, the average one-way commute in metropolitan areas in the country took approximately 27.6 minutes in 2019 — roughly five hours in one workweek. This time spent on the road along with the attendant stress associated with commuting could mean employees are drained even before they begin their work day. This impacts engagement and productivity.

With the grinding commute eliminated, working from home keeps employees sharp during work hours and enables them to direct all their energy towards accomplishing their assignments as efficiently as possible.

Working From Home Contributes to Overall Physical and Mental Health

The impact of working from home on employees goes well beyond performance. It can also improve their overall health, with 45% of teleworkers saying it’s better it for their health and well-being.

Reduced Stress

No matter how much you enjoy your job, it can still be a source of stress especially if you work in an office. Going to work can mean rushing out of the house and getting stuck in traffic in the morning and by afternoon, you’ll have to deal with house chores and family responsibilities. This balancing act between work and personal obligations can make it difficult for you to concentrate on work and consequently considerably raise your stress levels.

Working from home allows you to address this problem. Eliminating your commute and the distractions that you would normally get in an office setting allows you to focus on your work while being able to fulfill your obligations at home.

In fact, the Centre for Economics and Business Research noted that 70% of employees agree that teleworking can reduce anxiety. Additionally, their research also found out that this work set up can improve employees’:

  • Personal well-being (73%)
  • Mental health (71%)
  • Physical health (68%)
  • Job satisfaction (69%)

However, even as data proves the positive impact of virtual workspaces, employers should still be wary of its negative effects. According to the Royal Society for Public Health, 29% of remote workers felt that it was bad for their well-being as it made them feel less connected to their colleagues and it made it difficult to relax at home.

Access to Healthier Food

When working from the office, food options are usually limited to vending machines, snacks, or fast food. Bringing in prepared lunches can be a hassle.

WFH employees have easy access to their pantry and kitchen, making it easy to prepare and eat healthy and balanced meals because you can prepare fresh food every day. This means canning chocolates and chips and fuelling your body with fruits or nuts. According to CoSo Cloud 42% of all remote workers eat healthier than they did in an office-based environment.

More Time for Exercise

Remote employees save a lot of time that they would normally need to get ready for work and commute. A run in the morning before work, a pilatus session during the lunch break or a sparring bout with mate in the afternoon, with the time saved and a flexible schedule, there’s ample opportunities to stay active.

Teleworkers clock in an average of two hours and 44 minutes of exercise every week, according to Airtasker. This is 25 minutes more than the two hours and 19 minutes that office workers will allot for physical activities.

Hire Happier, Healthier, and More Productive Remote Workers with Helpware

COVID-19 spurred a global shift to remote work, and although pandemic-related restrictions are slowly being lifted, remote work is not going away. The majority of the workforce does not want to return to 100% in-office work, with recent studies finding that the majority of workers want to work from home at least three days every week post-pandemic.

Working from home allows workers to be happier, healthier, and more productive and the benefits extend to businesses too. Many enterprises have seen an increase in worker productivity as workers spend time previously used for commuting and travel on productive work and on well-being activities that in turn promote productivity. It also enables savings on office rental fees, equipment procurement, maintenance costs, and other overhead expenses. Plus, it can broaden your talent pool and help you get access to professionals from other parts of the country or even the world.

Helpware can help your business reap the immense benefits that remote work offers. As a business process outsourcing partner trusted by companies across the globe, Helpware can build customized teams for your customer support efforts and back-office tasks. We can handle everything from recruitment and training to KPI monitoring and performance management. With these BPO services, you are assured of getting the most out of a WFH setup.

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