40 Benefits Of Working From Home I’ve Experienced

Benefits of working from home I’ve worked from home for most of my career, over a decade as I write this. I’ve also run a fully remote company for nearly a decade. So I’ve experienced the benefits of working from home as an employee and on behalf of the company.

I haven’t experienced all of these benefits of working from home all of the time, but I have come across all of them at some time. 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 or that your company will experience all 17 benefits when it goes fully remote.

Within this list, you’ll find your own handful of work-from-home benefits that contribute to a happier and more prosperous job, company, and life.  

 

23 Benefits of Working From Home For Employees, Individuals

 

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.

See Also: The Future Of Remote Work In 16 Steps

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.

See Also: Working From Home With Kids? The Necessary Products & Tools

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.

See Also: Best Websites for Remote Work and Side Gigs

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.

See Also: How To Be Productive When The News Is Causing You Anxiety

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).

See Also: What Is Geoarbitrage?

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.

 

Looking to improve your home office?

Here’s everything you’ll find in my home office right now. I’ve honed the list over a decade working from home.

Product

What I Have

Price

Laptop

Macbook

Office Chair

FelixKing Ergonomic

Desk

Fully Jarvis Standing Desk

Monitor

Dell S2421H 24 Inch

Wireless Keyboard

Apple Magic Keyboard

Wireless Mouse

Apple Magic Mouse

Laptop Stand

Nexstand

Webcam

Logitech 4K Pro

Video Conference Backdrop

Voodrop (Customizable)

 

16 Benefits Of Working From Home For Employers

1. Happier employees

In a 2019 study, OwlLabs found that “full-time remote workers say they’re happy in their job 22% more than people who never work remotely.”

In the previous section, we talked about the benefits for individuals on your team: no commute, more time for friends and family, healthier breaks, less exposure to illness, fewer distractions, and more. If your employees capitalize on only a few of these great benefits, you will have happier and more productive workers. This trend has already started to play out as a result of COVID-19 as more and more companies have announced that they’ve become remote-first companies.

2. Better employee retention

Happier employees are more likely to stay with the company. In the same OwlLabs study, “Remote workers say they are likely to stay in their current job for the next 5 years 13% more than onsite workers.”

3. Lower (or no) office space cost

As a fully remote company, you have no cost of office space – one of the top expenses for nearly every business. As a part-remote, part-office company, you may half have of your previous costs tied to office space. Removing office space is one of the easiest ways to increase profitability, and therefore, the health of the company.

4. Lower (or no) office supply costs

On top of the cost of office space, utilities and office supplies go away. To be fair, employee reimbursements for home office WiFi, phones, desks, office chairs, and more will likely go up as a result. But undoubtedly, the savings are worth it.

5. Lower salaries (potentially)

Buffer, Nectafy, and other remote companies have implemented transparent salary calculators. One part of the formula is an adjustment for standard of living based on where each employee lives. An employee in San Francisco or New York might get paid a slightly higher salary than someone in rural Oklahoma. The idea is to be able to compete to attract good employees wherever they live. But a benefit on the flip side can occur if you were a company previously located in an expensive city. By going remote, you can attract talent from anywhere. That may bring down your average cost of salaries.

6. Increased profitability

If your office space and utility expenses are gone, office supplies are reduced or removed, salaries are potentially lower over time, and productivity has a chance to go up… there is only one likely outcome: increased profitability.

7. Expanded talent pool

A company with a central office can hire within, at best, a 50 mile radius of the office. That limits your access to talent. When you start to hire anywhere in the country or the world, the quantity and quality of job applicants go up. The result over time is a more talented team, just dispersed.

8. More diverse team

This one is similar to the “expanded talent pool” benefit.

Remember I mentioned this benefit in the employee section? 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.

Being a remote company inherently allows for diversity.

9. A focus on the right metrics

Without selecting and measuring the right metrics, managers often 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 use the crutch of “time at desk” anymore. Therefore, they need to find new metrics to measure productivity, quality, and performance. Inevitably, those metrics will be better than the amount of time at your desk metric.

10. Better managers

Number ten (a focus on the right metrics) is what will drive better management. Without seeing people at the desks, without in-person meetings, without drop-bys at the cubicle, managers need to find more structured ways to measure output and improve communication. In that scenario, the result is better management because there is less of a reliance on feel and touch and more on quality of work, happiness of employees, and more. Put another way, poor managers (who don’t have measures in an office) will eventually be weeded out at remote companies because they no longer bring anything to the table.

11. Work-from-home as a benefit in hiring

We outlined the 23 benefits of working from home here. To most people, the ability to work from home or remotely is a benefit offered by the employer. Traditionally, job applicants would analyze benefits like health care, vacation time, retirement programs, and office perks. Add to the list: the ability to work from home (partially or full-time). That benefit could quickly jump up the list of importance for job applicants.

12. Communication meritocracy

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 (chat, email, and shared documents). That opens possibilities for different personality types to contribute because the format is a better fit for other personality types. The best ideas are more likely to win out over the most forceful ideas.

See Also: The 21-Person monday.com Review

13. Fewer office politics

When working from home, you don’t have to share a parking lot, refrigerator, bathroom, and water cooler. I remember more than once my lunch was stolen in an office with 100 people to one refrigerator. The in-between maneuvers like calling a last-minute meeting, stopping by a desk, flattering a boss, and spreading rumors are harder to do in a remote setting. They don’t go away completely, but they are harder to pull off. With all of this in place, office politics are much reduced with everyone working from home.

14. Hiring for specific metros

If a company had no work-from-home program, it’d likely have one office (and be limited to hiring in that city) or a number of offices (and be limited to hiring within those cities). When a company starts to embrace working from home, it can hire wherever it wants. Not only does that increase the overall talent pool, but it also allows for strategic hiring in certain cities or regions. This is mainly about salespeople. If a company previously only had an office in Boston, but sold into the New York market, salespeople from Boston may have to travel frequently to New York. By allowing employees to work from home, a company could hire salespeople within each of their most important metro areas.

15. Increased productivity

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.

16. No office-wide illnesses

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.  

 

Looking to improve your remote company’s operations?

I’ve managed a fully remote marketing agency for most of my career. We backed into it at first since we had trouble hiring into one small office south of Boston. The first few years required a lot of effort around what to measure and how to communicate as a fully remote company. But by putting in that work, our profit grew by 4.5x in our first five years as a fully remote company. Here are a few resources I’d recommend:

About the author

Henry OLoughlin

Hi, I'm the founder of Buildremote. I have worked from home for a decade and run a fully remote, four-day work week company for eight years. I've made all of the mistakes running a remote company. I hope if you read my site, you'll be spared.

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