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 employees 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 growing teams. 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 for the companies themselves.
As more and more professionals start to expect the option to work remotely, or from home if they choose, it’s important that we keep up with the times and, more importantly, embrace the plentiful benefits.
10 health benefits of working from home
1. It promotes 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. It lowers stress (see: commuting)
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. It helps the environment
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. It gives your employees freedom (see: personal life)
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. It can generate a creative energy 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 in the mountains or try working by the pool instead.
(PS–I’m writing this as I sit by the pool. Not too shabby!)
6. It encourages proactivity and 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. It increases 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. It relieves 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 added pressure.
Plus, the benefits of working from home for moms specifically include all of the above plus added relief that they can be there for their families when they need them. Peace of mind is priceless.
9. It supports inclusiveness
Physical and mental limitations often cause more pressure than meets the eye when a workplace isn’t tailored to an employee’s needs.
Allowing your team to work from home, even if just a couple of days a week, is the best way to ensure that your employees feel seen, heard, and supported, no matter their walk of life.
10. It builds trust
Allowing employees to work from home shows that you respect that each employee has preferred work environments and times in order to get their best work done. Freely giving 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.
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.