We’ve all seen the recent articles touting the benefits of remote work. According to SIA, “Remote jobs are here to stay. Twenty-eight percent of all new job postings in January 2023 were advertised as remote, on par with 29% a year ago. In addition, 87% of workers considering a job change are interested in hybrid or fully remote positions.”
But what we’ve grown to appreciate about remote work here at Populus Group is its ability for us all to better lean into the human experience. What do we mean by that? Work is a part of everyday life for most of us, and having it be woven into the fabric of life without feeling like a dreaded chore is important. Not only for company health but for employee mental health.
Co-existing with work in a way that allows us to embrace life to the fullest has blossomed as workers stay home and find employment virtually, and there are a few ways, big and small, that we’d like to shout out. These are observations from us, but we’d love to hear in the comments some of the ways remote work allows you to be a better human. They may seem trivial or philosophical, but they’re things you’ve likely noticed if you work remotely:
1. Working remotely removes a lot of decisions from the day.
When you aren’t required to make a trip to the office, your mental burden of decision-making is immeasurably lighter. No need to decide the quickest route, deal with traffic, or have to put together a professional outfit (at least from the waist down). Decision fatigue is cited as one of the reasons why some high-functioning individuals can’t focus on bigger decisions. By eliminating the number of decisions you need to make daily, you are freeing up brain power to focus on the tasks at hand.
2. It is easier to be a caretaker with a remote job.
For a lot of people, caretaking is a central role. Whether raising children, taking care of aging loved ones, or even caring for yourself with chronic illness, remote work's flexibility is the ultimate necessity for caretakers. According to one analysis from the Economic Innovation Group, “This flexibility allows parents to not just have more time for childcare overall, but also more control over how they spend that time, making it easier to contribute to the sometimes inflexible schedules that parenting can require.”
3. Remote work allows you to access your own amenities.
We all remember the days of in-office lunchtime when you go to the break room to heat up your frozen burrito or grab some red pepper flakes for a slice of pizza, and the entire space smells like fish. At home, you can have fish for lunch and not cause irritation. You can plan for specific dietary needs. Another major win in this area is accessible bathrooms (not to mention your preferred ply of toilet paper). People with mobility issues often face bathroom-related challenges due to inaccessible stalls, lack of proper maintenance, and other ADA-violations-waiting-to-happen. Additionally, for trans and nonbinary workers, public bathrooms can be a source of anxiety, especially if there aren’t gender-neutral spaces available. All in all, having access to your own amenities that meet your needs can make the workday immeasurably more enjoyable.
4. There is less likelihood of getting into a road rage incident during your commute.
Because you don’t have a commute! One of the key ways that remote workers save time and reduce stress is simply by not having to navigate a commute into the office. Whether driving on clogged expressways or hustling to catch the bus, commuting takes a certain amount of energy remote workers can dedicate to other things. One article from Psychology Today even puts it like this: “It [commuting] can be a major cause of stress, due to its unpredictability and a sense of loss of control. Commuters can experience boredom, social isolation, anger, and frustration from problems like traffic or delays.” Without traffic, we can reduce stress and also our carbon output—a win-win-win for us, our companies, and the planet!
5. Controlling the vibe can pique your productivity.
There’s a reason why setting the tone is so important. The small nuances of how we work best are shaped by things like sound, temperature, access to nature, etc. This can be especially important for neurodivergent workers. When employees can work from home, they have more control over their working environment. According to the LA Times, this control offers a reduction in instances of racism and discriminatory office politics. In addition, there is more freedom to curate interactions with colleagues, ensuring that you can connect with the people who improve your performance and social sphere at work. One study dating all the way back to 2010 cites a 32% increase in productivity when people can design their own workspaces. So this is nothing new!
Working from home has its flaws like everything else, but ultimately, the freedom and flexibility it provides help improve the human experience in more ways than one. We hope that more people are able to access work and start reaping the everyday benefits it provides.