A couple of weeks ago, my day job announced we will be continuing work-from-home practices through the end of the first quarter of 2021. Now, with new lockdowns going in place around the world, I don’t expect my entire company to go back to office spaces until much later next year.
When I heard about our new plan I was ecstatic. I love working from home. And I see the tremendous benefits from it too.
With so much going on because of Covid-19, I honestly think it is important to start planning for a future where working from home is the new normal. Not because of sickness, but because more people want to do it and more jobs can support it.
But, before I go on and on about all the reasons I love work from home and why I think it's the best thing since sliced bread, I think we need to take a look at what is going on with the world and our workforces.
More Jobs Can Be Done from Home
Now, I thought I was a crazy person when I said that I thought more people could work from home than we believed. Then I saw this report from Global Workplace Analytics and realized I was on to something.
In the quick little report, they told me something amazing:
“Global Workplace Analytics current estimate (in 2020) is about 75 million U.S. employees could work-from-home at least part of the time (56% of the workforce).”
This is an estimate of course, but that tells me that it is probably more of a conservative estimate. If over half of US employees could work from home, then this is something that will start to change the reality of the modern-day workplace.
Covid has kicked in the doors for working from home for many employees who never thought about it or didn’t think it was possible for themselves too. How do I know? Well, from the communication from my company, more than 50% of workers want to stay working from home at least half the week.
Though, I imagine a good chunk of that number wants to do it more than that. But these aren’t the only reasons we will see work from home becoming a permanent fixture to the global workforce.
Work from Home is Fiscally Practical
“A typical employer can save about $11,000/year for every person who works remotely half of the time. Employees can save between $2,500 and $4,000 a year (working remotely half the time) and even more if they are able to move to a less expensive area and work remotely full time.” — Katie Lister, Global Workplace Analytics
When we think about working from home there are definite benefits. The quote above is a clear one for me. An employer can save $11,000 per year per employee. What if even half of that went into the employee’s paycheck? I’d sure love that boost in my checking account!
Sure, we cannot guarantee that every employer would do that, but the truth of the matter is that it could very well turn into additional income for many employees in these companies.
It’s more than money for the employer. It's money for the employee too.
“The average person can save about $4,000 per year by working remotely.” — Rachel Pelta, Flexjobs
Not only could we make more money by working from home, but we could also save more money by working from home 100% of the time! I have found this true for my family.
My average commute a week working in the office three days a week was 120 miles a week. Every two weeks I would fill my tank up with gas and it would cost $30-$40 a tank. That turns out to be $780 — $1,040 a year.
That's just on gas alone. Not counting the extra miles on my car which would cost further maintenance and possible breakdowns. That's a huge chunk right there. It also saves me on little things like coffee or lunch out when I forget mine on my way to work.
In the end, work from home saves the employee and employer money. And it might even put a little money back into the employee’s pocket.
It Can Benefit the Environment
Before you give me a hard time on this one, let’s stop for a second and think about this with a practical example from my day job.
Before I went to work from home 100% of the time, we were receiving hundred-page documents in the mail from customers, attorneys, body shops, and more. We were also sending a significant amount of mail to all of our constituents too.
Yet, when work from home was forced upon the world, all of our applications and processes went digital. We send documents via email and digital fax now. We can send links to our constituents for them to upload documents to our applications directly.
All of a sudden my giant filing cabinet was rendered useless overnight because we no longer keep paper files.
To give you some perspective on the amount of paper we might have been using before, check out this study from the University of Southern Indiana and what it has to say:
“Americans use 85,000,000 tons of paper a year; about 680 pounds per person.”
That's a lot of paper! And paper is only part of what we are doing to help the environment by working from home. Let’s not forget about our commute again. Like I said earlier, I used to drive 120 miles a week. Now, I don’t drive that at all and I’m not pumping as many emissions into the atmosphere too.
And there are a lot more benefits to the environment too.
By the end of 2021, there will be a lot of people working from home full time, and even more people working from home part-time. Not because of COVID alone, but because working from home is going to become a staple in the global workplace.
Instead of fearing the change that will likely become a permanent fixture in our future, why not prepare for it now and take full advantage.
I honestly believe that working from home is the best thing for you. Sure there are some difficult parts to it, but the good far outweighs the bad. Especially when it comes to fiscal and environmental responsibilities for ourselves and the world.