Offering remote work options creates a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment – Advice Eating

  • Allwork.Space and Alliance Virtual Offices conducted a survey and also analyzed third-party research to understand how remote work affects individuals’ health and well-being.
  • Workers benefit from the ability to work from home, but the greatest benefits have been identified among several minority groups.
  • Remote working has been shown to reduce stress and help workers break the glass ceiling — but it still comes with some downsides, including physical discomfort from using inadequate home furniture.

This article was originally published on Alliance Virtual Offices.

Workers thrive when they have choice of work environment

We’ve analyzed millions of numbers, including those of our own employees at Alliance Virtual Offices and Allwork.Space, to see how remote work is impacting individual health and well-being.

To our surprise, we found that all workers benefited from the opportunity to work from home, but the greatest benefits were found among several minority groups.

In addition to a literature review, we also surveyed employees at Alliance Virtual Offices and Allwork.Space to see how our teams compare to a control group.

We’re sure you’re ready for the stats, so check out our original research below.

References, methods and procedures for this study can be found in the Methods and Procedures PDF.

Main results:

  1. Remote work options can help leverage the unique experiences and skills of minorities and increase diversity and equity.
  2. Offering remote working options to parents can give $8 billion back to the economy.
  3. With the ability to work from home, employees were 22% more productive.
  4. Remote work reduces stress by 39%.
  5. People with long commutes, especially women, are less happy and healthier.
  6. Without proper office equipment, workers are 27.5-46.9% more likely to gain weight and increase pain.
  7. Cycling to work increases the likelihood of hospitalization by 2.6%.
  8. Compared to control groups, our teams have significantly fewer commutes and are healthier and happier.
  9. Those who had the opportunity to work remotely were 93% more likely to feel included.

Remote work can improve diversity and equity

If a worker can be in the workplace without disclosing religion, race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy or disability, the playing field is more level. The anonymity that remote work offers can offer security and psychological well-being to minorities by protecting them from discrimination and letting the work speak for itself (Kennette, L. & Lin, P., 2021).

The US unemployment rate among disabled people is around 9% – remote work can bring many of these people back into the workforce and improve opportunities for economic advancement.

According to one report, 133 million people in the US are living with a chronic illness – telecommuting may help them manage their illnesses and stay in the workforce. (DeFelice, M., 2019).

Regardless of mental health, disability, or minority status, 80% of all workers would quit their job to work for an organization more focused on mental health (Westfall, C., 2020).

Enabling workers to work from home can help break the glass ceiling

Millions of women have either quit or lost their jobs due to a lack of childcare, particularly during the pandemic (Kennette & Lin, 2021).

Women are 32% less likely to quit their job when they have access to remote work as it allows them greater flexibility in working hours.

Not only would more women stay in their jobs, but offering mothers work-from-home options could replace $8 billion in lost wages as they could re-enter the labor market (Connley, 2021).

If both parents have the opportunity to work at home, this creates a more even distribution of the household work and allows both partners to spend more time with their children. Additionally, educated women, who traditionally have fewer children later in life, if given the opportunity to work from home can help them achieve both their career and parenting goals (Murray, 2021).

Interestingly, men are more reluctant to take on remote work. In an achievement-oriented atmosphere, many men said they feared their achievements would go unnoticed, while women did not express the same concerns. There can be many reasons for this phenomenon, but an unfair advantage of men in the workplace could be one reason (Kennette, L. & Lin, P., 2021).

Remote workers are more productive

Teleworkers are more relaxed, efficient, and produce a higher volume of work (Guler, et al., 2021; Kennette, L. & Lin, P., 2021).

A study showed that remote working resulted in a 13% increase in productivity, including more working minutes per shift and less use of breaks and sick days. When workers in this study were offered a choice between working from home and working in an office, productivity rose to 22% (Bloom, et al., 2014).

Working from home reduces stress significantly

Long commutes trigger the release of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, in the brain. Eliminating the commute can reduce stress due to savings in transportation costs.

Not driving to work is financially beneficial as it saves money on fuel, maintenance and/or toll costs, and fares such as those for taxis and ride-sharing services (Kennette, L. & Lin, P., 2021).

Those who don’t have to commute also benefit from the extra sleep time, which is associated with many health benefits.

Workers with long commutes are less happy and less healthy

Workers with long commutes spend less time on sports and leisure activities. They also have lower mood during the workday, more mental health problems and are less satisfied with their social life.

All of these negative consequences increase in severity as commute times are longer. Those who cycle to work appear to experience the fewest side effects of this type, but continue to experience some and are exposed to other hazards, as seen below (Chatterjee, et al., 2020).

Negative outcomes are also reportedly worse in women, although the cause is unclear. One possibility is that women often take on more household chores during the commute, e.g. B. Picking up children and grocery shopping (Chatterjee, et al., 2020; Roberts et al., 2011).

But remote work still has some downsides

27.5-46.9% of those who have switched to working from home during the pandemic have gained weight and slightly increased pain due to insufficient work-related equipment such as office chairs and desks.

These increases reinforce the need for employers to provide their teleworkers with information and healthy lifestyle choices and the right equipment (Guler, et al., 2021).

Thinking about taking up cycling? Maybe think again…

Cycling to work has major health benefits but could reduce life expectancy for younger workers (Edwards & Mason, 2014).

Fatal accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists account for 16% of all traffic deaths each year (US Department of Transportation, 2021). In fact, road accidents are the leading cause of death worldwide for everyone under the age of 54 (Association for Safe International Road Travel, 2022).

One study showed that commuting to work by bike would lead to 26 more hospital admissions per 1000 people over ten years (Welsh, et al., 2020).

In addition to the risk of pedestrian and bicycle commuters being involved in traffic accidents, these commuters are exposed to harmful chemicals.

Exposure to these chemicals can cause cancer and other health risks. Risks increase the longer a commuter has to travel (Lovett et al., 2018).

Compared to a control group, our employees have fewer commutes and are happier and healthier, both physically and mentally.

55% of employees in our company work either fully online or in a hybrid work environment.

We wanted to examine how our staff behaved compared to a randomized control group with questions about mental health, physical health, and well-being.

Here’s what we found:

Comparison Allianz Virtual Offices and Allwork.Space vs. external results

Workplace options led to a better sense of inclusion

Workers who have the opportunity to work from home are 93% more likely to feel included (Connley, 2021).

When workers are offered the opportunity to work at least 20% of their time from home, they experience less stress and less intention to leave their current job.

When offered job choice, workers reported significantly less burnout and fatigue, had higher job satisfaction rates, and were more productive.

Interestingly, those who didn’t have a choice about where to work, be it at the office or at home, had more negative outcomes.

This underscores the importance of flexibility and personal choice in determining worker hours (Kaduk et al., 2019).

Conclusion

We hope you found this analysis of diversity, equity and inclusion among those who have offered remote work interesting and valuable.

For those curious as to how we arrived at these conclusions, our method, sources and procedures can be found in our Methods and Procedures PDF

Now we would like to hear from you:

What are your experiences with teleworking in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion?

Please let us know by contacting us at Facebook, Twitter or contact us direct.

This article was originally published on Alliance Virtual Offices.

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