What is remote work changing about where we choose to live?

17 Jan 21 | Blog

Understand the benefits of offering remote work practices and how to improve employee acquisition and retention rates.

“It’s so good to get out of the city” – is that a phrase you recognise?  There’s a reason that maligned metropolis dwellers temporarily migrate to the Cotswolds, Lake District, or South of France on the regular. Seeking sun, and the soothing effects of nature, it’s seen as the break we all need. Because, as we’re all well aware, place matters.

Green space, health and wellbeing: location is a big factor in our wellbeing 

Buzzing metropolis, cut-off countryside. Pollution-filled city, blissful rurality. It’s all a matter of perspective, to a point, but what’s clear is the impact of place on our health – mental and physical.  An Australian study saw strong links between quality of life and where people live – with rural, regional dwellers coming out as the happiest. But conversely, UK research saw mental disorder rates in children were twice as high in the West Midlands versus London.  It’s hard to draw conclusions, but the link between green spaces and wellness is well known – not to mention the myriad issues caused by air pollution, something that is location-specific. And for a long time, people have sacrificed their health (and their space) to live where the work is, i.e. in major cities.

Doesn’t a longer commute offer the best of both worlds?

You might be asking why people don’t just do what others do – move further out, to slightly more distant zones or even surrounding commuter towns. Put up with a longer, pricier trip in for the sake of a house by the sea (or a field, or a lake… you get the idea).  The trouble is,there’s a lot of negatives to commuting, to the point they could start to offset the wellbeing benefits of living out of the city. Generally, every added minute of commuting impacts mental health, adds strain, and lowers enjoyment of work. An extra 20 minutes is even equivalent to a 19% salary drop, in terms of affecting job satisfaction. So balancing work and a wellness-centered lifestyle is more complicated than you might think. 

Forget how we live – remote work means we can rewrite where we live

For your predominantly millennial workforce, many will be faced with the dilemma of choosing between a successful career and a sustainable future. For example, continuing to stay living in an overpriced rental flat just so they’re in tube-ing distance of your office.  But things don’t need to be that way. And employees are quickly realising that. 41% of London employees could work remotely, and many of them have used the pandemic as the push to make the most of that and leave the city. 27% of usually urban-based workers don’t want to go back to city working after being remote during the lockdowns.  43% say flexible working policies would encourage them to head to greener pastures, and is this such a bad thing? Here’s some of the perks for your people:
  • Bigger, affordable housing
  • Green spaces and nature
  • Cleaner air, less pollution
  • Cheaper cost of living 
  • More balanced way of life

But what does working remotely mean for business? 5 reasons it might be the solution to your problems…

1. Bigger talent pool to choose from

Hiring is tricky at the moment, and no-one wants to restrict their potential pool of candidates. Considering remote workers means you can market nationally, and even internationally if you so choose. You don’t have to find the best person within a few square miles, you can source the most talented workers that exist – even if they’re hundreds of miles away!

2. Attract higher quality candidates

Many top-notch prospective employees will take themselves out of the running, due to their own family obligations or just to avoid the expenses associated with traveling to your office location. Offering remote work means removing those barriers – meaning talented people with childcare responsibilities or other commitments will see you as a viable option.

3. Diversity of thought (and in general)

If you aren’t prioritizing diversity, you’re missing a trick. Not only is it a moral goal with tonnes of business benefits, but it’ll also offer a diversity of thought that could superpower innovation in your organisation. Different backgrounds and living environments can inspire unique approaches to old problems, and that’s powerful for any business.

4. Improved employee value proposition

How does remote workingimprove your EVP? Beyond the freedom of a true work-life balance itself, it tells prospective employees that you have a culture of trust. A culture focused on results, not micro-managing. One where different needs and lifestyles are accommodated. Those are rarer ‘perks’ than you’d realise. 

5. Round-the-clock customer support

One often forgotten benefit of a team of remote workers is increased availability. You have the potential for 24-hour tech support, customer service, project workers, and that means a true sense of agility. Of course, that’ll make the need for proper communication between teams essential – but that’s always going to be true. 

Whatever questions you have, we can give you meaningful answers

Whether you want to understand your employees’ wellbeing levels, see if you’re making the most of the benefits of working remotely, or plan the future of work, it all starts with listening to your employees. We can help you there – try our platform for free, and work out what changes you need to make in your team:  
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