In addition to the wave of change taking place in workplaces around the world, there is also burgeoning understanding about the impacts of working from home – most of which are largely positive.
For generations we focused on clocking in and out of the factory floor or dedicating decades of our lives at the office. It was once assumed that freelancers who were particularly successful were edge cases, exceptions to the rule whose style of work was incredibly difficult if not impossible to replicate on a broad scale. With the emergence of fully remote organizations who function, quite successfully without a headquarters, we’re finding that the opposite is in fact true.
The rapid advancement of technology coupled with increasing globalization means that our work is happening everywhere. This surge of globalization has proven the hypothesis that good work can be done anywhere, in or out of the office.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about twenty-three percent of the workforce in the US works remotely at least part of the time.
One of the biggest benefits to working remotely is a decrease in stress. Employees who work from home universally laud the advantages of removing the stressful commute from their daily lives. Psychology Today reports that commuting times have been on a steady increase (at least in the US) for some time now and that’s projected to get worse as people continue to make the return to already densely populated cities. Commuting stress is associated with increased blood pressure, musculoskeletal problems and higher levels of anxiety to name a few. Leaving this draining activity behind seems like a win for almost everyone.
In addition to the relief of missing out on stressful and long commute times, employees across the board who work remotely have reported that when not in the office their environment is less stressful. It could be the feeling of having too many “eyes” on you or the constant interruptions at your desk by your co-worker who just can’t keep his latest family drama to himself. Either way being in a place where you can get in touch with your focused zen-self is a significant destressor that can contribute to serious productivity.
However, to be clear, it isn’t all deep work and peaceful mornings, there are unique challenges faced by those in remote work. Candidly some industries are better suited for remote work – especially where the technology is sufficiently developed to allow for lots of collaboration.
BETTER LIFE BALANCE
You’re ready to reclaim your time and take charge of your productivity but life in the office makes that a real challenge. Bombarded by interruptions and putting out emergency fires prevents you from being able to focus and means you end up taking work home overnight.
That yoga class keeps getting pushed back. The evenings you wanted to spend with your kids are getting eaten up by everything that’s left over.
Remote work makes you focus on what matters, when it matters most. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any fires. It does mean that you can set real boundaries by tracking your working time and producing within those hours alone. It means going to that soul-cycle class in the afternoon, or being able to pick your kids up everyday after-school instead of being stuck in a meeting that’s gone on too long.