Happier, less stressed, and more productive, employees who choose remote work also provide a valuable service to the company they work for. While it particularly appeals to “Millennials,” those born with a smartphone in hand, it’s likely suitable for anyone who isn’t afraid of the absence of a structured environment and fixed schedules.
#1 It brings happiness
Belgian telecommuters are homebodies. According to IFOP, 47% of them prefer their home sweet home over the library, coworking spaces, or even cafes to carry out their work. Ah, the simple pleasure of fine-tuning Excel spreadsheets in socks on the couch, in peace! The tiny bliss of not spending an hour pulling one’s hair out in front of a wardrobe that is – strangely – always empty. The delight of avoiding traffic jams, public transport, and weather hardships. In Belgium, currently, 17% of employees have embraced remote work (compared to 25% in France), and it’s not without reason: in a comfortable and familiar setting, remote workers are less stressed, experience fewer burnouts, and take fewer sick leaves than those working from an office or an impersonal open space. With a better balance between their professional and personal lives, remote workers tend to be more loyal and appreciative of their company, ensuring lower turnover for the employer.
#2 It boosts productivity
A happy remote worker is a focused employee who, on average, is 22% more productive than others: this is confirmed by an international study conducted in 2018 (2). In an office, an employee spends 40% of their time… not working. When at home, not only does the remote worker avoid dealing with the incessant beeping of the printer complaining about running out of paper, or the symphony of ringing phones, but they also escape a slew of other distractions: the colleague asking question after question, the meeting that interrupts a moment of inspiration, not to mention the rigidity of work hours – not everyone is at their best between 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM!
#3 It saves money for everyone
For a young and/or small business, the cost of rent can often be burdensome. By allowing employees to work remotely, the “rent” expense disappears: the savings in office space can be as much as 30%! On the remote worker’s side, they save on transportation costs. When combined with the benefits of reduced absenteeism and turnover, as well as increased productivity, everyone comes out ahead. Additionally, in terms of mobility and carbon footprint, it’s worth noting that remote workers reduce home-to-work commuting by 9%, which is equivalent to, for example, 12% fewer kilometers traveled to Brussels from Flanders or Wallonia.
#4 It pleases the Generation Y
Today, it’s impossible for a company to ignore the expectations of the famous “Generation Y,” these “digital natives,” young people as comfortable on the internet as they are in their bathtub. They currently represent 15% of the European population and outnumber the baby boomers. According to a survey published by Polycom (3), 72% of millennials embrace remote work, compared to 50% for those aged 45 and above.
#5 It’s more inclusive
Remote work also allows a range of professionals excluded from the job market due to disabilities to showcase their skills. For instance, it’s challenging for someone suffering from severe back pain due to ankylosing spondylitis to sit at their desk all day. Similarly, a person with reduced mobility may find it difficult to work while carrying their wheelchair, as not all locations are adapted. A professional with specific needs will be thrilled to offer their services from the comfort of their home. An individual with Asperger’s on the team? It’s almost impossible to imagine in a traditional work environment. However, if offered the chance to work from the tranquility of their own space, where no noise will pierce their hypersensitive ears, they might be the rare bird that gives their company that unique edge.
- JABRA 2018 Study, conducted by Nigel Dunn.
- The Changing World of Work: 2017 Global Workforce Survey