I live and work for a company based in San Francisco, but I've been traveling in Oregon for the last three weeks — and only took one vacation day to do so. Being able to work remotely has allowed me to attend a good friend’s wedding, spend valuable time with family, and enjoy picnics in Portland’s beautiful summer. At the same time, I’m able to work easily from my laptop, alongside my team in High Fidelity. I thrive on being a digital nomad; it helps me be able to do my best work.
There is plenty of research out there showing remote work is the future — but how does it make your employees feel?
A top finding in the Global State of Remote Work report found that employees with the opportunity to work remotely at least monthly are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive in their roles.
The numbers are there: But how about the story behind it? Let’s take a peek into my team’s new remote-friendly life.
Three Reasons I am Happier and More Productive Working Remotely
1. Ability to have a flexible work schedule.
My trip to Oregon isn’t the only flexibility I’ve enjoyed since our team began working remotely. Life at home in San Francisco has simply gotten easier. If we’re low on groceries, I can make that run during lunch. I’ve cooked more meals at home than ever before — including using my blender more for delicious smoothies! When creativity strikes before or after ‘normal’ working hours, I have the tools at home to utilize that energy effectively and have noticed increased productivity because of it. If I need to take care of a personal appointment, I find it easier to take the time to do so and return to work when I’m done.
My teammate worked remotely from Europe for the month of July, taking time to play shows with his band as well. Another coworker worked from New York City for a few weeks this June while he and his fiancée visit their families… and the list goes on. The flexibility is invaluable.
2. More opportunities to improve my health.
It’s no secret that commute times are on the rise. In the U.S., the average one-way commute is 26.9 minutes — almost exactly as long as my daily commute was! Let’s do the math: If one works 5 days a week, that’s 4.48 hours total of commuting. Another study found an additional 20 minutes of commuting per day has the same negative effect on job satisfaction as receiving a 19% pay cut.
How do I improve my health with my added commute time back? Honestly, the first thing I did was sleep in more. This sounds a bit funny to admit... until a number of my teammates said they did the same! But in all reality, adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle.
I found more time in the day to exercise, even if it was just 30 minute walk outside my house. I’m able to go to the mid-day yoga class instead of always going to the evening one. Not only do these things promote good health, but creativity, too. Shared virtual meditation sessions with my teammates have been another great way to recharge in the afternoon.
3. More time for my team to spend with their pets, and knowing them better because of it.
We all have that voice when we address our furry family members, and my very favorite part of occasionally hearing my coworkers’ home lives through their microphones is when they call to their pets. “You are the cutest dog… but it’s not dinner time yet!”
I’ve gotten to know my teammates better because of it — one of them just rescued a sweet pup named Loki who loves snuggling nearby while she works. Another has two cats who are not usually allowed in her office due to their penchant for climbing on the keyboard, or going for a bite of her lunch. “This pizza is not for you!” It never fails to bring a smile to my face.
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that pet ownership reduces anxiety and depression as well as stress. The general happiness associated even has a name: “the pet effect.” Naturally, remote work gives people more time to spend with their pets.
Simply put, remote work has given me back time in my day to pursue a healthy work-life balance, and time is a truly precious resource. I am happier and more productive because of it, and I’ve even gotten to know my team better — allowing us to better collaborate.
Are you considering adding remote work as an option for your team?