Remote work has some serious benefits for both employees and their employers.
Whether someone is working from home or some other location, maybe a coffee shop or coworking space, clocking in some work time away from the traditional office can promote work-life balance, less stress, fewer absences and more.
Employees who are able to work from home identified those benefits in a survey from job post website Indeed.
But both employees and their employers noticed something else with remote working habits: increased productivity.
In today’s competitive business environment, maintaining high productivity levels is critical. So, let’s take a look at why every business should consider allowing employees to work remote.
Employers and employees seem to agree that remote work can boost productivity, according to Indeed.
Of the employee respondents to Indeed’s survey, 57% said they believe they are more productivity when working from home rather than at the office, 38% said they are equally productive and just 4% reported they are less productive working at home.
On the other end, employers often agreed with their workers. Of the companies with remote work policies surveyed, 72% said their employees are more productive when working remotely, 22% reported their employees are equally productive and only 3% said they felt their employees were less productive.
It’s not just Indeed that has put resources behind figuring out whether remote work can help increase employee productivity. A Stanford study actually shows proof it does.
In the two-year study, Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom conducted an experiment involving Ctrip, the largest travel agency in China, which has 16,000 employees. Bloom separated 500 employees into two groups - a control group that would work in the company’s Shanghai headquarters and a group that would work from home.
Bloom’s study found that the employees who worked from home had a productivity increase equal to an entire day’s worth of work. These employees were able to spend more time working because they were not late to the office or leaving their shift early. They also weren’t as distracted and could concentrate more at home.
Though the overall results leaned in favor of creating remote work policies for workers, Bloom’s study did find that over half of the group that worked from home during the study actually changed their minds about working from home all the time.
Why? Because they felt too much isolation. Bloom himself recommends not making work-from-home situations a constant. That face-to-face interaction and collaboration would likely alleviate feelings of being isolated.
However, some of the benefits of remote working can actually lead to greater collaboration. It all comes down to how closely a team works together and how often they communicate.
Remote.co has sifted through many studies on remote working, some that suggest remote workers don’t have to feel isolated. In fact, the practice of allowing workers to work from home could increase engagement, according to a Harvard Business Review report cited by the website.
The HBR concluded that remote workers were often more engaged with coworkers than their in-office colleagues and supervisors. That is thanks to the many communications tools that are available to help teams connect.
Teams that join conference calls together feel much more connected. This is especially true for teams with members who work from home or from a location different from the main office.
Though it’s true conference calls can be a source of frustration, they don’t have to be. There are ways that conference calls, when done right, can help remote workers stay connected and feel more engaged with their colleagues.
For example, you can make sure there are more than just a single or small number of people who are joining a meeting via conference call. It can feel awkward for those who are calling into a meeting if there is a large majority of people speaking with each other face-to-face.
You should also consider visiting remote workers face-to-face, as well. Have an off-site meeting everyone is able to attend. For completely remote teams, make sure you meet somewhere in person from time-to-time. That way conference calls don’t feel like the only time you communicate with people outside of emails, texts or other messaging services.
Indeed also recommends making as much time as possible for calls and in-person meetings. As Bloom suggested in his survey, Indeed also recommends considering making remote work a limited option.
Other best practices Indeed suggests for managing a remote team include making expectations clear and getting comfortable with communication technology.
Although productivity is a priority, remote work provides many other valuable benefits to employees.
Remote.co cites a report that shows allowing workers to work from home also leads to greater efficiency. About 30% of people in the report, compiled by ConnectSolutions, said they could do more work in less time when telecommuting.
Working from home can also lower employee stress and boost overall morale, according to a PGI study. That study reported 80% of surveyed workers said their morales were higher when working from home.
Perhaps most importantly, Remote.co rightly points out that many have noticed remote work is on the rise and that it’s increasingly popular with a younger generation of digital nomads, or people who rely on technology to perform their work duties while living a nomadic lifestyle.
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