- If you’re able to accommodate remote working, you should clearly do it. And there’s five very strong reasons behind that. In today’s episode, we’ll go through each of those five benefits.
- The first benefit is an improvement in focus. Working remotely from home, there are no distractions. You can go very deep on whatever it is that you’re working on, on a project or a task, and you don’t have to worry about interruptions that typically happen in an office space.
- The second reason is autonomy. By allowing people to choose the possibility of working remotely, you feed into their autonomy. This is an incredibly powerful motivation factor. Daniel Pink wrote in his book, Drive, that when we feel that we have a sense of autonomy, we have some control in our own destiny. Giving people the ability to choose remote working, to not only work in the office, can really light up their sense of freedom.
- The third benefit for working remotely comes down to health. Commuting has many proven negative effects on health, and working remotely can help mitigate these. Remote work also allows one to have more time for exercise, which in turn will have a positive effect on their overall health, mood, and work performance.
- Another big benefit is more time for personal relationships, family and friends. Less time spent commuting, or in the office, means more quality time spent with loved ones. And like the health-related reason, this can translate to increased productivity and performance.
- Finally, remote work simply reduces costs. No need to pay for office space, utilities, and other services. In addition, you avoid the associated risks that come with maintaining a large fixed-cost office space.
You may be going back and forth about whether you should be investing more time or effort into creating a remote working environment in your team or company. Well, here’s the thing. If you’re able to do that as a team or a company, if you’re able to accommodate remote working, you should clearly do it. And there’s five very, very strong reasons behind that. And in today’s message, I’m going to go through each of those five benefits.
Hi, my name is Eric Partaker and I help entrepreneurs and leaders scale-up themselves, their companies, and their wellbeing, drawing on my experience from McKinsey & Company, helping build Skype, as well as several of my own entrepreneurial pursuits.
The first benefit from working in a remote working environment is an improvement in focus. Not that an office space is an environment where you can’t focus, but as we all know, you’re prone to being interrupted in an office space. You might even want to interrupt someone else. And while there’s a time and place for all of that, because it’s productive also to be able to have those impromptu conversations. We can uncover problems or issues that maybe we weren’t aware of. We develop relationships a bit more quickly. So there is a time and place for that. And we’ll get to later that. We’re not talking about always just and only working in a remote environment, we’re going to be talking about the benefits of doing so, but with some flexibility.
So, back to this focus point, working remotely from home, that’s incredible for your focus. There’s no distractions. You can go very, very deeply on whatever it is that you’re working on, on a project or a task, and you don’t have to worry about those interruptions that are typically happening in an office space. So, number one reason is an improvement in focus.
Number two, is autonomy. By allowing people to choose the possibility of working remotely, and not just only requiring them to be in the office, you feed into their autonomy. You give them a sense of freedom. And this is an incredibly powerful motivation factor. Daniel Pink wrote this great book, Drive, and one of the primary things that drives us, that motivates us as people, is when we feel that we have a sense of autonomy, we have some control in our own destiny. And, once again, giving people that freedom to choose at least some remote working, to not have to only work in the office, can really light them up from an autonomy point of view, from a freedom point of view.
Number three benefit for working remotely comes down to health. It is proven that when we are commuting, it increases our cortisol, It increases our blood pressure, it can increase cholesterol. There’s not a lot of benefits for constantly commuting. Let alone all the pollution that commuting takes or creates. So, you’re having a negative health effect as an individual in that moment while you’re commuting. And then the society as a whole, through the act of doing that mass commuting, is also putting out more pollution into the air, and that is obviously affecting each and every one of us.
Last but not least from the health side of things is simply having more time to exercise. A lot of people feel that they don’t have the time because they have to maybe wake up and immediately start with helping get the kids ready for school. And then they have to factor in that long commute, perhaps. And then they worried about, well, if they go and exercise, they will have to work later, and then that’s going to impact on their family time, and so maybe the exercise isn’t happening. Maybe they don’t have an employer that understands and is willing to accommodate that. By having some remote working built into a week, suddenly all of your team members can get that time to exercise. They can work it into their day. They could simply be replacing commute time with more exercise time. And so that health benefit will not only have a positive impact on them, but will also have a positive impact on their performance and the morale within team, because they know that they’re looking after themselves.
If we think about, for example, peak performance, and if we use sports as an analogy. If we want to achieve peak performance on the field of play or on a pitch, or on the court, whatever the sport may be, in the swimming pool, we can’t just look at what’s going on, on the field, we also have to look at what’s going on off the field as well. And our health and our relationships are key pillars that need to be optimized for us to be performing at a peak level as individuals, and as teams. So health is another big reason why you should consider remote working, if you can, for your teams. It will help them improve their health, will have a positive effect on their overall life and mood, and should also have a positive effect on their performance, as well.
The next big reason for remote working is more time with family and friends. So similar to health, when we’re not constantly commuting, when we can be more focused as well, so we’re spending less time in traffic, more time able to work, but we’re more focused when we’re doing that work, so we’re able to produce a lot more. And then that means that we have more time, quality time, with family and friends. And I don’t just mean more hours, but because we’re being more productive during the day, the quality of that time is better.
I mean, think about this. How many times, for example, have you at the end of your day been sat with your family or friends, but you’re not really there. So you’re thinking about work. You’re thinking about things that you should have gotten done, but maybe you hadn’t. But if you had built some remote working into your week, and you were much more focused, you’re much more energized because you were looking after your health, you have that feeling of autonomy. All of these things coming together will make you produce more.
And, if you’re producing more and if you’re more effective, then you’ll have more quality time with your family because you won’t be thinking about all of those unfinished things. Or, you just feel more confident and happy with the work that you have done. So that’s another key reason for remote working is just giving that team member, giving that team as a whole, more time with their family and friends. Less time spent commuting, less time being interrupted in the workplace, more time so that they can be focused and then benefiting with those that matter most to them at the end of their day, or even at the beginning of their day.
And the last big reason, number five, that you should consider building remote working into your team, into your company, is because frankly it can just reduce costs. Think about how much money you’re spending with your fixed-cost office space. Now, how much is that costing you a year? All the utilities to run it, any services related to it. And if instead you could create a culture of flexibility. I’m not saying that you should just only work remotely. But if you could have that built into your week, and then maybe there’s one day a week where you are coming together in a coworking space, or maybe it’s just a few days a month, and it’s designed around doing the things that require collaboration or maybe some innovative brainstorming session. So you’re being wise about how you pick which times and for what purposes that you do come together. But you’re also minimizing the costs associated with that, by doing that perhaps, once again, in a remote working space, rather than in a fixed-cost office space.
Also this will reduce risk for your business as well, because obviously if you don’t have to always pay that fixed-cost office space, if you could be paying that remotely on a contract basis, perhaps even ad hoc, being able to reduce it or flex it as needed, well then that will make your whole business model less risky as well.
So, in summary, five reasons why you should definitely try to benefit, if you can, if your business allows a remote working environment. And number one, once again was getting that increased focus. No distractions, or hardly any distractions at home compared to the office space. Number two is giving people that sense of autonomy, that freedom, which will directly feed into their drive and motivation and their performance. Number three, it gives them an opportunity to optimize their health. They have more time on their hands, less time commuting, which is quite unhealthy in and of itself, and more time to dedicate to exercise. More time with their family and friends, which is another strong peak performance pillar to make us operate at our best. We need to know that we’re spending time with those that matter most to us. And having that more quality time and more clear time when we’re with them is super, super important. And then last but not least, reduce the costs in your business as well. As well as the associated risk with carrying on a large fixed-cost office space.