1. No commute
The average one-way commute time in the United States is 26 minutes. That is 52 minutes per day, and 4 hours, 20 minutes per week. If you were to remove that average commute time, you could replace it with a half day of work, more sleep, more time with family, an entire week’s worth of workouts, and more.
2. More time for family, hobbies, & fitness
By saving nearly an hour per day on an average commute, you open up a number of possibilities. Plus, your time opens up in other ways: You take less time getting ready for work and you spend less time making it look like you are working. We all know from about 3 PM onward on a Friday, people in an office are more likely to be making it seem like they are working than actually working. That can go away at home.
3. More social time with people you choose
Many people say the social interactions in an office are a benefit. And that can absolutely be true. But those are social interactions with people you didn’t specifically choose to socialize with. They are your coworkers. From home, you can make more social time for family and friends. It’s a way to spend more time with people you choose rather than just people from the office.
4. Healthier breaks
People need lots of breaks in order to do good work. In an office, though, there can be an undercurrent of measuring who’s taking how many breaks and how often. It quietly encourages people to hide breaks by staying at their computers but doing something else (like Facebook, Instagram, or reading the news). When you need a break at home, you’ll take one that really helps: Do some pushups, have a snack, take a quick walk. Those are restorative breaks.
5. Less exposure to illness
You know when Bob comes into the office with a cough. And then Jane has it next. And before you know it, the entire office is sick. In many companies, there is a culture of “toughing it out” and coming in if you’re able to work. But that culture alone spreads illness quickly. For remote workers, disease has a tough time spreading over Slack.
6. Flexibility for errands
Here’s one I never understood: if your local post office closes at 5 PM, how are you ever able to send a package if you work in an office? It’ll always be closed by the time you get out of work. Working from home allows you to take care of some errands or chores here or there at times when other people can’t. You have to believe me that grocery shopping at 10 AM on a Tuesday is better than 6 PM.
7. Fewer distractions (if done right)
According to a Udemy survey, 70% admit they feel distracted when they are in a workplace, with 16% percent saying that they’re almost always distracted. At home (if done right), those distractions can be avoided. However, if you have kids running around or a TV show you are addicted to, it can be more distracting to work from home. If you are committed to getting focused work done from home, though, you will simply have fewer coworkers distracting you.
8. Flexible schedule
In Buffer’s 2020 State Of Remote Work, “ability to have a flexible schedule” was listed as the biggest benefit to respondents. If managers empower their employees to get their work done in their own way and don’t micromanage, your entire day opens up. If you’re a morning person, start working at 6 AM and be done by 3 PM. If you’d rather do a 9 AM workout class and work a bit more after dinner, do that. The schedules can be less rigid when working from home.
9. Asynchronous communication
According to Doist, “Asynchronous communication is when you send a message without expecting an immediate response.” In other words, work and discussion don’t need to take place at the same time for everyone. Buffer, a fully remote company, has built great processes around asynchronous communication. “Async” builds a culture with fewer distractions, more time for deep work, and inclusive decision making (you don’t have to be in that meeting to be involved in the outcome).
10. Your own workspace
You’re either assigned an office, a cubicle, or a desk within an open floor plan in an office setting. At home, it’s your choice and therefore likely a better fit for you. You have more flexibility to make it a space where you can focus.
11. Flexible work spaces
Some people need a change of scenery. At an office, you have very few options: your desk, a sitting area, or a conference room that’s not in use. At home, you could have a dedicated office but also sit outside at the right time of day. You could work at a cafe for the morning and a library in the afternoon. Simply having that flexibility is a benefit, whether you choose to use it or not.
12. More time for “Deep Work”
I highly recommend Cal Newport’s Deep Work book. It’ll challenge you to think about how you go about your work. In an office, there are a number of people who can interrupt your deep work periods. At home, as long as you manage your own distractions in the house and turn off digital distractions from work (like soul-sucking online meetings), bigger periods of time for deep work open up. You may end up working less yet making a much larger impact on the success of the organization.
13. Increased Productivity
A study done by Stanford found that employees who work from home are 13% more productive than in-office workers. That 13% could be the difference between a business barely surviving vs thriving. And it could be the difference between an employee feeling underwhelmed with their work vs. fulfilled in their work.
14. More diverse teammates
I work for a company with people from Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Nebraska, South Carolina, Connecticut, New York, California, Texas, and Utah. I live in San Diego. At my previous job, I worked with 600 other people who lived in San Diego! With a remote team, I’ve learned a lot more about the country and world through my coworkers. And we all bring different perspectives.
15. More talented teammates
The company I work for had an office south of Boston. The idea was to build out a team there. The problem was we couldn’t find any talent, so we backed into the remote (and work from home) idea as a way to find more talented people. When our job opportunities went from within thirty miles of a small town in Massachusetts to the whole country, we simply found better people. And working with better, more talented people is a benefit for everyone.
16. Even playing field for winning ideas
In an office setting, the most outgoing and driving personalities often lead decision making. If the main skill in driving a decision is to call and lead a meeting, and ask the team for approval of your idea, type A personalities are more likely to win. In a fully remote setting, more communication takes place in written form. That opens possibilities for different personality types to contribute. The best ideas are more likely to win out over the most forceful ideas.
17. Focus on quality of work, Not quantity
Without selecting and measuring the right metrics, managers will fall back on how much employees sit at their desks as a measure of output. That’s not the right thing to measure – it’s rarely tied to true performance. At home, managers can’t physically see if people are at their desk. That incentivizes managers to measure the right things because the crutch of “time at desk” is gone.
18. Fewer (or no) office politics
I work for a completely remote company (everyone works from home – there is no central office). I’ve worked there six years, and seriously, there are no office politics whatsoever. I’m sure there can still be office politics with a remote team, but I guarantee there are fewer.
See Also: Orbital’s Top Remote Retrospective Ideas
19. Live where you want
If you work in an office, you need to live somewhere close to that office. Your work is tied to the location of the office. If you work from home, you can live virtually anywhere. Therefore, you could work for the cool company that grew in a major city like San Francisco, but do it from the mountains of Colorado (where you are the happiest).
20. Travel where and when you want
Not only can you live where you want, but you can also pick up your computer and travel more frequently without it impacting your work. My wife and I traveled for three months one year and about six weeks per year now. We can take time off but also work other weeks and not be confined to a certain amount of time in one location.
21. Lower cost of living
A study done by Upwork found that “the price (of housing) to income ratio in the top 15 metros is, on average, more than double the rest of the country.” If all of the best paying jobs are in the biggest cities, you will earn more but also need to spend a lot more on housing. Work-from-home opportunities even the playing field geographically. You don’t need to be in the most expensive cities for the best jobs, and therefore, you can save more.
22. Increased savings
According to Global Workplace Analytics, “Average savings are $2,000 to $6,500/year/person for half-time telework.” There are a number of areas you are likely to spend less money (and therefore save more):
- Gas: No commute means fewer miles on the road
- Car maintenance: No commute means less wear and tear on your car
- Transportation: The expense of public transit goes away
- Parking: If you paid for parking near the office (likely in cities), that goes away
- Wifi: Good companies should reimburse your home Wifi
- Lunches: With you own refrigerator just steps away, you are less likely to go out for food
- Wardrobe: At a minimum, you’ll save on dress pants – a dress shirt and gym shorts are just fine for Zoom
23. Home office deduction
Some people who work from home can qualify for a home office tax deduction. That’s an additional way to save money through lower taxes.
I’ve worked from home for most of my career. I haven’t experienced all of these benefits all of the time, but I have come across all of them at some point. So keep in mind, that I’m not saying all 23 of these amazing things will happen to you when you start working from home. You’ll find your own handful of benefits that contribute to a happier job and life.
Comment below with benefits I missed. I’d love to add those!