The modern workplace is undergoing a transformational change. With the proliferation of technology, new work models are emerging, and among them, remote work is gaining increasing importance. Remote work, also commonly known as telecommuting, is when an employee is allowed to work from home or any location outside the office. Remote work has been growing in popularity in recent years, and as a result, organisations are transitioning to remote work environments, or remote-first culture, where remote work is the norm, and having a physical office is just an option. In this article, we explore the advantages that remote-first culture brings to the modern workplace and why it is becoming such an attractive proposition for employees and employers alike.
Improved Work/Life Balance
Remote work empowers employees with the flexibility to work according to their lifestyle. A remote-first culture allows them to work from home while taking care of their personal commitments, such as taking care of children or aging parents. The traditional work model of 9-to-5 no longer suits every employee’s needs or situations. For instance, an employee may prefer to work early in the morning, take the afternoon off to attend their child’s soccer game, and then work later in the evening. Remote work allows for this flexibility, and thus provides the employee with a better work/life balance.
Having a better work/life balance has numerous benefits. It has been linked to lower stress levels, improved health and a better mental outlook. Employees who have a flexible work schedule that allows them to work according to their lifestyle are more productive and less prone to burnout.
According to a survey conducted by Buffer, remote workers report they have a better work/life balance than their office-based counterparts. The survey found that 81% of remote workers who were surveyed agreed that remote work provides a better work/life balance compared to working in the office.
Remote work enhances productivity levels. According to a survey conducted by Airtasker, remote workers work an average of 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts. The same survey revealed that remote employees work 10% longer compared to their counterparts working in the office. The increased productivity is due to fewer interruptions caused by co-workers, fewer meetings and reduced commuting time.
With the advent of communication and collaboration tools like Zoom, Slack, Trello and Google Drive, remote teams can collaborate efficiently and virtually eliminate communication barriers. Additionally, remote work allows employees to work in a setting that they feel most comfortable in- which can increase focus and creativity levels.
Remote work can lead to significant cost savings for an employer. Offices become a necessary expense, with rent and utilities costing a substantial amount each month. When the organisation operates on a remote-first model, it doesn’t require a physical location, which can free up a lot of funds that the organisation can direct towards other business activities.
Without spending time commuting, employees can also save money on transportation and other costs like dry cleaning, gas, or transit passes. Additionally, when working remotely, employees are less likely to get takeout or spend money on unnecessary purchases while out of the office. By avoiding these costs, remote workers can save anywhere between $2,500-$4,000 in a year, contributing towards personal financial security.
Access to a Larger Talent Pool
A remote-first culture allows an organisation to access the best talent, regardless of their location. For example, if an organisation is based in the UK, but someone from the US is the best fit for a particular role, the organisation can still hire them, while they work from their home in the US. The access to a larger pool of talent means that the organisation can hire the best people for each role and create a diverse workforce. This, in turn, leads to innovative ideas and strategies for the organisation.
Improved Employee Retention
Remote work has been found to be an attractive option for employees, allowing them to achieve a better work/life balance. Remote work can reduce employee turnover and improve retention levels, which can save a significant amount of money for organisations. Additionally, organisations that offer remote work opportunities for employees can increase engagement and the commitment level of their employees.
According to a report published by Owl Labs, organisations that offer remote work opportunities are 24% more likely to have a happy and productive workforce. The same report also found that 72% of remote employees say they are happy with their job.
Finally, remote work can provide environmental benefits by reducing carbon emission levels. As per Global Workplace Analytics’ study, if those who could work remotely did so just half the time, it would be equivalent to taking the entire U.S. workforce off the road, amounting to a savings of 119 billion miles, 54 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and over $20 billion in time and energy. Additionally, many organisations that have a remote-first culture can save energy by not having to power a physical office space. This can help reduce the company’s carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner environment.
Remote-first culture is increasingly becoming the norm in modern workplaces, and it is an attractive proposition, particularly for employees who are looking for better work/life balance, cost savings, and increased productivity. For employers, a remote-first culture can lead to a larger talent pool and employee retention, which improves their bottom line. And while it is expected that remote work will be the future of work for many in the years to come, it is important that organisations establish clear communication channels, work expectations, and collaboration tools to ensure a smooth transition towards a remote-first culture.