Vending machine sodas. Stale candy from the front desk. And birthday sheet cake in the conference room. Office workers are familiar with these less-than-satisfying treats. Maybe a little too familiar, according to recent research. Researchers found that the average worker consumes nearly 1,300 calories at the office each week -- mostly foods high in calories, processed grains, and sugar.
It makes sense if you think about it. When you work in an office, you do not have much control over your immediate environment -- including the snacks that are lying around. And so you are more likely to eat whatever is nearby, even if it is day-old birthday cake. So, what is the solution to those extra calories and expanding waistlines? Well, you could stop going to the office. (Seriously.)
Remote work has been proven to help your own health and ability to focus, but it is also beneficial for the organization as a whole. In fact, HR professionals report that employees with flexible work arrangements often show an increase in commitment, engagement, and performance.
I have seen this firsthand as the co-founder and CEO of Aha! -- our company has a 100 percent distributed team. We founded Aha! on the premise and promise of remote work. And we have stayed true to this philosophy, even as the company has rapidly grown to become one of the largest entirely remote software companies. I think we owe a lot of that growth to remote work. It gives us the ability to hire the best, no matter where they live.
When you hire intrinsically motivated people and give them the tools to be successful, their location does not matter. People can work from home and be productive and happy.
Here are six other reasons why your home office is better than your company office:
Offices are filled with distractions. Whether it is a loud talker in the cubicle next to you or the constant "can you pop into this meeting" request -- it can be hard to get work done. This is probably why people working in open offices are 15 percent less productive. In your own office setting, you have the autonomy to structure your environment in a way that you can best focus on the work that is in front of you.
Another thing that offices are filled with? Germs -- from the elevator buttons and phones to the person coughing away in the meeting room. Is it any surprise that office workers are more likely to take short-term sick leaves? Not only does your home office insulate you from the barrage of co-worker germs, but it can also provide more time for your health. You can swap an hour of commuting with an hour of working out or easily schedule a doctor's appointment for midday.
Sure, every job has its stresses, but I bet you will have more peace of mind about them at home than you will under your company's flickering fluorescent lights. A study from the University of Minnesota and the MIT Sloan School of Management proves this to be true -- finding that flexible work actually reduces stress.
Your home office gives you more time for the people who matter most and the flexibility to nurture your most meaningful relationships. This might mean volunteering in your community, attending your kid's soccer game, or simply sitting down for dinner with family or friends each night. No travel time from the office -- you can do all of this the moment you log off your computer.
You likely already have a home office -- even if it is just a kitchen table where you can set down your laptop and get to work. So, why do you need to go to another place to do what you can do right at home? Traveling to your company's office only creates waste. Not only is gas costly (and harmful to the environment), but a 2015 study found that the average American spends about $1,043 eating lunch out every year.
Addressing all of the above adds up to sustainable happiness. Your home office gives you the freedom to be available for family, friends, and other passions -- all while being your best and most productive self for work each day. This is not a work-life balance but rather a blend where work and life can exist in harmony.
It is difficult to find this kind of sustainable happiness at your company's office -- no matter how much sheet cake is in the conference room.
This is why I think your home office will beat out your company's every time. It is the best place to nurture your health, relationships, and finances -- while still being productive and doing meaningful work each day.
What do you love about your home office?