The average worker spends almost 27 minutes commuting each way. That’s about an hour a day—or five hours a week or almost 10 days a year—spent sitting in the car or on public transportation.
If you’ve ever been one of those commuters, you’ve probably found yourself wondering at least once, “Can’t I just do this from home?”
The answer is yes, you probably can.
In the last five years, remote work has grown 44%—and it’s pretty easy to see why. In addition to giving team members almost eleven days of their lives back, it can also boost morale, increase productivity, and reduce stress in employees.
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Here are four of the top benefits of remote work for your average employee.
1. Remote workers have more flexibility. In a traditional work setting, you’re typically out of your home from the early morning until late evening. Depending on your commute, you could spend around 12 hours in total at work, on your way to work, or on your way home:
In cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago you could save almost 300 hours annually by working from home.
This means you end up with very little “free” time—and we’re not just talking about hobbies or fun activities. It’s also less time to do chores, spend with your family, and just relax.
Working remotely gives workers more freedom and flexibility in how they spend their time. Rather than taking a 10-minute break to grab a cup of coffee from the Starbucks down the street, workers can use that same 10-minute break to throw in a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher.
Remote work can also encourage teammates to better prioritize their schedules. Because they’re not trapped at a desk for eight hours straight, they can work more efficiently to make the most of their time.
2. Remote workers have more autonomy. In an office, you’re stuck working in whatever conditions are set up for you. That might mean cubicles, or an open floor space, or even no assigned desks at all. But what if you want your own desk?
These things might seem small, but they can be frustrating if they accumulate over time. If you can’t focus because the coworker sitting next to you is chewing their lunch too loudly or you’re freezing because of a way-too-low air conditioning setting, you’re out of luck.
These uncomfortable work situations can kill productivity—and in some cases even push the employee to look for work somewhere else.
Remote work gives employees the power to set up their home office just the way they like. They get to control everything from the temperature to what they wear, allowing them to create an environment that makes them most productive.
They’re not confined to their home either—they can head out to a coffee shop, a coworking space, or even a park to get away if they need a temporary change in atmosphere or some fresh air.
3. Remote workers have better health. While sitting in an office all day might not necessarily be bad for your health, you’re probably spending over eight hours a day sitting and sharing spaces with other coworkers who might be sick.
Not only that, the UK’s Office of National Statistics found that people who commute over half an hour to work each way (hello, rush hour) report higher stress and anxiety levels compared to people with shorter or no commutes.
This even extends to eating habits. Coso Cloud found that 42% of remote workers in its survey ate healthier working from home than they did in an office-based environment. Which makes sense—when you’re working from home, you can choose to cook your own healthy lunch or heat up leftovers and stock up on healthier snacks throughout the day.
And of course, remote working gives you more opportunities for exercise. With the time you get back from not commuting, you could go for a workout—or even squeeze a quick one in during a break or during lunch.
4. Remote workers save money. Working costs money. From commuting expenses like train tickets or gas to business-casual office attire and eating out for lunch, we spend a lot of money on work-related stuff.
While these things might be factored in during a salary negotiation, wouldn’t it be nicer if you didn’t need to spend your hard-earned cash on a pair of pants you’ll never wear outside of the conference room?
Remote work means these expenses disappear (or at least makes them much, much lower). You no longer need to pay for that monthly train pass, and you don’t need to pick out a different outfit for every day of the week—meaning you can put that money towards something you really care about:
In some cities, working from home can save you upwards of $500 in commute costs.
That free time also means you have more time to put into side projects, second jobs, or even continuing education. Although it’s not really “saving” you any money now, it could set you on a path to increasing your income in the future.