The Benefits of Working from Home
By Amani Carson
Recently LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index found that over half the population would like to maintain the option to work from home (WFH), if at all possible. I, personally, am inclined to agree. In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, and saving both employers and employees money, I believe giving people the opportunity to WFH also offers the following benefits:
- Intentional Work: Gone are the days when your coworker or, god forbid, your boss could just swing by your workstation to ask a “quick question”, which somehow becomes an hour-long impromptu meeting that disrupts your (slightly ambitious, but appropriately challenging) plan for the day and maybe upending your schedule for the week. Setting up a Zoom meeting or even a phone call requires scheduling and intention. Collaboration does not need to mean chaos; brainstorming sessions can remain organic, but now they can also be organized.
- Community Engagement: “Work from home” does not mean “stay at home”. Once we begin moving around again, WFH means you can become a regular at your neighborhood coffee shop or bookstore. WFH means you and your neighbor can walk down the street to your community library, instead simply waving in passing as you commute to your separate jobs. WFH doesn’t mean seclusion or the loss of human touch, rather it means we can be active in our own communities and cultivate connections outside of the office.
- Inclusive Work: No office space, no matter how modern or flexible, will suit every worker. The harsh reality is that the office isn’t for everyone, and many smaller businesses or nonprofits do not have the financial means to immediately create fully-inclusive environments. While the company might be ADA-compliant, just because the building is accessible doesn’t mean the environment is optimal. The right workers are not necessarily those who live in commuting distance to the company or have the expendable income or personal flexibility to relocate. The option to work remotely or to flex work (working remotely and in the office) gives everyone the chance to work with the organizations they fit best in the spaces where they function best.
- Time: Even if you finish early and clock out on time, work always extends beyond the workday. Think about the time you spend getting dressed, taming your unruly hair, packing a lunch, and commuting to and from work. Although you might not be on the job, these are hours you don’t spend with your loved ones, pursuing your hobbies, catching your Zzzs, living your life because of the job. Reducing these uncompensated work hours gives more workers the chance to have a life outside of their jobs and attain a true work-life balance. Imagine replacing your morning mad dash with a stretch and a few minutes of meditation; grabbing a quick bite with a friend or walking the dog during your lunch break, or helping your child with homework at 5:00 PM instead of missing dinner while sitting in traffic. A work-life balance isn’t having a life at work, rather it’s having a life outside of work
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