Whether it’s a core company value, a check-in point during one-on-ones, or the reason behind establishing summer Fridays, countless companies promote “balance” as part of their company culture—yet not enough of today’s workers actually get it. And while “balance” and “flexibility” are what come to mind first when thinking of work from home, many don’t quite recognize the plentiful, and very real, health benefits of working from home.
The word “balance” has taken on buzzword tendencies, especially for startups. But truthfully, some of the things businesses do in order to create “balance” can be used to mask overworking, resulting in a whole host of issues for both employees and employers.
After all, about two-thirds of full-time employees experience burnout. And they’re over it.
As more and more professionals start to expect the option to work remotely, it’s important that we keep up with the times. And, more importantly, start embracing the plentiful advantages.
10 health benefits of working from home
As more and more professionals not only want but expect the option to work remotely, it’s important that leadership keeps up with the times in order to attract and retain the best talent. And, more importantly, we need to start embracing the plentiful advantages.
1. Mental health awareness and improvement
Although work is good for mental health, depression and anxiety have a significant economic impact. In fact, the approximated cost to the global economy is $1 trillion per year in lost productivity.
While there are many contributors to an unhealthy workplace, one of the top reasons is, according to the World Health Organization, inflexible working hours. Say no more.
2. No commute=less stress
Zestful is headquartered in Denver. And in Denver, traffic is bad. Driving in congested conditions alone can make even the most zen of employees stressed to the brim.
So, although it seems simple, reducing or eliminating a particularly long or complicated commute is a surefire way to heighten happiness.
3. Positive environmental impacts
Speaking of commuting, for the first time in 40 years, emissions data shows that the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S. comes from transportation. 😳
Not to mention, when you’re a small team, every hour counts. If all employees spend one hour commuting each day, that’s 20 precious hours per week spent in the car.
4. More freedom & flexibility
I can’t think of a better work environment than one with a high level of no-questions-asked-flexibility.
At Zestful, our working hours are always versatile, but we purposefully leave Tuesdays and Thursdays open (little to no meetings!) so our team has the liberty to switch up their schedule. Respecting your team’s lives outside of the workplace means no pressure to sacrifice it.
5. Creativity boost
Even if your office has creative spaces, beautiful artwork, or couches for days, sometimes it takes a significant change of scenery for inspiration to strike.
When writer’s block hits or your eyes start getting heavy 😴 head over to your favorite coffee shop, go for a walk, or try working by the pool instead. (PS–I’m writing this as I sit by the pool. Not too shabby!)
6. Proactivity & independence
You read that right: proactivity is just as important as productivity.
Productivity is often synonymous with overworking which, no doubt, leads to burnout. Proactivity, however, means you’re required to think creatively to problem-solve and strategize on your own. As beneficial as having a team culture can be, allowing space for proactivity helps employees feel confident and independent in their respective roles.
7. Better control over disruptions
Each employee, even if not in a “creative” role, has a creative process.
Even with headphones on—especially at a small startup—disruptions can be aplenty. And while there are days where that’s totally acceptable, some days you just want to know that you can put your head down and any distractions that come up are on your terms.
8. Relieved burdens on working parents
Having a more flexible schedule means working parents can make drop-offs and pickups, go to appointments and recitals, and at the very least, be there to greet and spend time with their family during those precious hours—without the added stress of needing to be in the office. For working parents today, peace of mind is priceless.
9. Increased inclusivity
Physical and mental limitations often cause more pressure than meets the eye when a workplace isn’t tailored to an employee’s needs.
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, only 39% of employees with disabilities have talked to their manager about it. What’s more—even fewer have disclosed their disability to their teams (24%) or HR (21%).
Making your remote work policy crystal clear from the beginning can provide a huge relief to those who have mental or physical disabilities. In addition to making sure your team feels seen, heard, and supported—no matter their walk of life—you’re also allowing them to work in an environment that’s suited to their needs.
Allowing employees the flexibility to choose where they work shows that you respect each employee’s personal and professional needs.
We all have preferred work environments and timeframes where we feel we can get our best work done. Freely dealing out this level of trust provides invaluable peace of mind in an increasingly pressured society. By understanding and supporting that all people work and live in different ways, you can build an employer/employee trust that establishes a more open environment.
The health benefits of working from home speak for themselves
Giving your employees the liberty and support to work from home (or wherever and whenever they choose) can, and does, promote so much more than the ever-so-vague “balance”.
The simple truth is, recognizing and supporting the health benefits of working from home—along with investing in your employees in this way—can result in a happier, healthier, more dedicated workforce. Sounds like a win-win to us.