Remote work is becoming the new standard. Even employees who initially missed being in the office are loving working from home. It gives them a break from noisy open floor plan office spaces and offers much more personal freedom. This begs the question: is remote work more efficient than physically being in an office?
According to the studies cited below, remote work is a more productive environment for employees and could improve productivity of an organization in other ways too. For example, it gives organizations access to a wider pool of talent, allowing them to utilize experts from all over the world.
Why is Remote Work More Efficient?
In the past, employees had to get up in the morning an hour and a half before going to work. Now, they can simply get out of bed, have breakfast, and still make it in time for the morning kick-off virtual meeting. Cutting two hours of prep and traffic time per day improves the mood and happiness of workers.
With a 45-minute commute one way, the hours spent in traffic alone add up to more than 25 hours of saved time per month.
The second thing that lowers productivity aside from distractions is an overbearing or intimidating boss. According to Stress.org, 35% of the workers reported that the biggest stress factor in an office environment is communicating with a boss or a leadership figure. Meeting on web-based video conferencing platforms has the effect of leveling the playing field. Plus, it can reduce the stress over an in-person meeting. None of the power dynamics are available to the boss, like standing while you sit. Or potentially the office furniture layout puts you at a disadvantage. In fact, by giving the boss the same challenges with microphones, cameras, and other technology, everyone in the conversation has more equal standing.
Remote Work Requires Organization
A common pushback on remote work often comes from micromanagers who feel more confident if they can closely oversee employees. And to be sure, some employees do not perform well in self-directed circumstances. Smart organizations will focus on helping employees be more productive without direct supervision, or by improving online supervision techniques by utilizing new technologies for secure video conferencing and always-on meeting tools. Because the alternative of bringing them back to an office is likely to become harder as time passes and remote work becomes more entrenched.
For more effective strategies working from home, you need more personal organization. In an office, there are structural elements that help organize your day and your workspace. At home, things that are common in an office are just not there.
Organizations that can identify those who are not as well suited to remote work, and help them with structure and clear expectations, will be more effective than those who ignore the problem.
Remote Employees Are Happier
While some companies are trying to drive people back into the office because ‘it’s always been done this way,’ others are trying to make an educated decision.
A study by Tracking Happiness concluded that working remotely or hybrid increases employee satisfaction and happiness by more than 20%. The survey was taken by more than 13,000 participants from Asia, North America, and Europe.
According to the surveyed people:
- Having an office-based work environment will make them less happy
- They want hybrid or remote work to be the norm
- Commute time plays a big role in dissatisfaction with office work
- Having to spend lunch breaks at or near the office is a negative
- Millennials prefer to work only from home
Remote Work Has a Better ROI
Not only are people more productive at home, but with them working off-site, companies have lower office expenses. This has led to a paradigm shift in how companies think about employee training and collaboration. In the past, companies planned off-site training and sent their on-site employees to a local hotel, conference center, or specialized collaboration space to ‘get away’ from the office distractions for important training or planning sessions.
What if most of your employees are already off-site remote workers? What do you do with your office space that is underutilized now? You can turn your off-site meetings into on-site meetings at your office and eliminate the expense of third-party meeting spaces. Utilize the space you have with periodic on-site collaboration and training sessions for your remote workers.
There is still a need for office space, but how it will be utilized in the future is still unclear. In the next few years, as building leases begin to expire, the full impact of this reduced office expense will be known.
Remote work is more productive and efficient. Plus, it leads to a happier lifestyle for employees. The ROI of hybrid workers is much higher than office workers since it comes with lower costs.