As COVID-19 hit in March 2020, everyone’s life changed. A big part of that was workplace changes as many employees shifted to working from home. As the Delta Variant is currently raging across the U.S., employers and employees alike are reviewing work from home options indefinitely or permanently. There are many reasons to work from home given the current pandemic and safety guidelines, but there are benefits of working remotely to consider as well. Here are the top 8 benefits of working from home.
1. Less time and stress commuting
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau as of 2017, the average one-way commute time was 26.1 minutes. So round-trip means spending about an hour per day in your car going to and from work. That’s a total of five hours per week — which doesn’t include the time you actually spend working.
On top of the time savings, one of the benefits of working from home is dealing with less stress from the commute. Let’s just say that being stuck in traffic, getting cut off, worrying about being late, and dealing with parking doesn’t help anyone’s inner peace. According to information from Keck Medicine of USC, longer commutes can lead to increased stress, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and higher blood pressure.
Working from home can give you more of your time back and lead to fewer stress-related health events.
2. Increased work/life balance
Work/life balance can feel elusive in some ways, but working from home makes it easier. Given the example above, let’s assume without commuting you’re able to have five more hours per week for yourself. You can spend that time as you like.
Maybe it means slower mornings with a cup of coffee or reading your favorite book or getting a workout in before starting your day. Maybe it means sleeping in an extra 30 minutes or watching an episode of your favorite show while eating breakfast. One of the benefits of working remotely is that you have more time and also more control over your time due to fewer interruptions.
3. Boost in car insurance savings
If you’re driving less because you work from home, you should be able to pay less for car insurance as well. Many car insurance companies slashed their premiums during the pandemic for this reason. There’s no doubt that one of the benefits of working from home is driving less, so you want your car insurance costs to reflect that.
If you’re working from home, one way to sustainably cut costs if you’re not commuting or just driving less, in general, is to opt for pay-per-mile car insurance. Through pay-per-mile insurance, you simply pay for the miles you drive. At Metromile, customers pay a base rate and a nominal amount per mile making it an affordable solution for remote workers.
4. Better for the environment
Aside from the pandemic, we’re also dealing with another crisis — climate change. We’re seeing very real effects with an increase of fires, volatile weather, and hotter temps. A big part of that is from greenhouse gas emissions.
Driving less can help you save money on car insurance and gas but also has a broader impact on the environment as well. According to The New York Times, greenhouse gas emissions from energy and industry dropped more than 10 percent in 2020.
5. More money in the bank
One of the best benefits of working from home is having more money in the bank. There were fewer places to spend money as things were closed. Also, without a commute people could save money on gas, car insurance, parking fees, eating out, coffee out, clothes, and more.
According to a study from the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, savings rates more than quadrupled going from 7.2 percent as of December 2019 up to 33.7 percent in April 2020. Having more money in the bank means more financial security and overall financial wellness, which can impact your mental wellbeing and levels of stress.
6. Location flexibility
In the before times you’d be tethered to a geographic location for your job. Of course, there are tradeoffs. For example, you may have to live in a metro area like New York or San Francisco to work in a specific sector or get opportunities, but you’ll also have to pay a higher price for the cost of living.
On top of that, you may only be able to visit your family during the holidays. One of the best benefits of working remotely is that you have much more location flexibility. That could mean working from a lower cost of living area, or working from your parents’ home or a friend’s home, or even traveling to a new city and exploring while still being able to do your job.
7. Higher productivity
One of the top benefits of working remotely is a boost in productivity. Though working from home can take time to adjust to, in the long term many employees find they’re interrupted less and can get more done when on their own. There may be fewer meetings or quicker meetings, less engaging in office drama or logistics, and more time to get the important work done.
According to a 2020 FlexJobs’ survey, “51% of survey respondents indicate that they have been more productive working from home during COVID-19, and 95% of respondents say productivity has been higher or the same while working remotely.”
The reasons cited included fewer interruptions, more focused time, a quieter work environment, a more comfortable workplace, and avoiding office politics.
8. Improved mental health
There’s no doubt that the past year and a half has been extremely difficult for everyone. Lives and routines have been upended and the stress and anxiety of a pandemic have led to real mental health challenges. But one of the best reasons to work from home is to manage mental health.
Those with mental health conditions may be able to better manage at home and with more privacy. According to an article on Mental Health America, the benefits of working remotely include supporting employees’ mental health. “Companies that give employees more control over when, where, and how they work through flexible work options are supporting the health and wellness of their workers and enhancing the company’s culture and productivity at the same time,” noted the article.
The bottom line
There are many reasons to work from home, such as a boost in savings, productivity, and mental health. If possible, work from home to take advantage of these perks and enjoy a better work/life balance. If you’re working from home, make sure you’re getting the most out of it and check out your rate for pay-per-mile auto insurance.
You can get an online quote or check how much you could save if you switched by taking a free Ride Along™ trial from the Metromile app. You can earn additional savings of up to 15% off your initial Metromile quote (you’ll need to keep your current insurance provider to maintain coverage) in select states.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.