The availability of flexible work is on the rise, and the percentage of people who quit their jobs due to a lack of flexibility nearly doubled in 2017 from just three years prior. This leaves many employers asking if remote workers are as productive as their office counterparts, and rightly so.
Companies are also starting to wonder how they can make flexible working viable for their business and employees. In today’s market, more and more candidates expect this to be an option when taking on a new role. With new employee performance management software, keeping tabs on your team is easier than ever.
However, deciding whether or not remote working can be offered depends very much on the company’s goals and the type of business they are. This post will look at which type of workers provide better results for businesses across a number of different metrics.
Who Wins On Productivity?
There are many ways in which to measure productivity levels for remote workers. These factors include seeing which members perform better and faster at the same tasks, reducing sick leave, measuring levels of engagement, and studying actual hours spent working.
One of the most cited studies was run by Stanford University over a nine month period at the call center of a Chinese travel agency. 16,000 employees volunteered to take part and results showed that remote workers were 13% more productive than their in-office counterparts. This number was determined by more hours spent working per shift, less sick leave and breaks taken by remote workers, and more calls per minute (+4%).
Interestingly, some of the increase comes from remote workers logging more hours than office workers. According to Gallup, remote workers log an average of around 4 more hours per week. This is largely due to the fact that they take fewer breaks and complete work outside usual business hours.
Who Is More Engaged?
This is a little trickier to answer. Engagement and emotional connection to the business aren’t reliant on location, but instead on trusted communication with colleagues and managers. However, location doesn’t always translate to quality communication.
The Harvard Business Review argues that people who work away from the office put more effort into connecting with their teams. Gallup’s study found that remote workers appear to be more engaged than office workers, at 32% and 28% respectively.
However, levels of engagement were found to be affected by how much time was spent working remotely. Optimum engagement levels correlated to 20% or less of total work time spent working on tasks remotely .
Who Is Better At Collaboration?
Remote workers are generally better at collaboration than office workers. This is due to the fact that all communication is consciously instigated, whether it be via email, IM, phone, or other methods.
Because of this, more effort is put in to being clear, concise, and acquiring the information required to complete set tasks. In fact, 54% of American remote workers aim to continue communicating and networking with colleagues when not in the office.
One of the main distractions for traditional office workers comes from unexpected chats with colleagues passing their desks. This just doesn’t happen for remote workers. As a result, they feel more connected to the team because of their meaningful engagement over a wider number of channels. Establishing some rules can help ensure optimum levels of collaboration are reached within a team, including both remote and office workers.
As remote workers outstrip their office counterparts in almost every metric for productivity and engagement, it is likely that more businesses will give their teams the option of flexible work over the coming years. In order to reap the many benefits businesses can enjoy from allowing this, employers should ensure the company puts the right tools in place to support a positive remote worker culture.