Over the past few months our world has been turned upside down. Businesses have closed, many companies have switched entirely to remote work, and well over 22 million Americans have found themselves out of work.
Given these startling statistics on the state of our economy, we thought now would be a good time to explore the phenomenon of working remotely and how it has become the new norm for many businesses.
Business leaders have long wondered about the efficiency and productivity of remote workers. Now that this is a standard for the health of our workforce, it stands looking at what studies have shown about what exactly is getting done at home.
Is Remote Work Effective?
This question is top on the mind of business leaders as they manage a remote workforce. According to AirTasker online, “Remote workers are actually more productive than their office-based counterparts.” As a part of the study, 1,004 full-time employees were surveyed. Of that number, 505 were remote employees. They were asked detailed questions about their work habits and productivity.
Research from this study included findings that showed:
- Remote employees work an additional 1.4 more days per month than in-office employees, which is nearly 17 additional workdays a year.
- Remote employees take longer breaks on average than office employees (22 minutes versus 18 minutes, respectively), but they work an additional 10 minutes a day.
- Office workers are unproductive for an average 37 minutes a day, not including lunch or breaks, whereas remote employees are unproductive for only 27 minutes.
- 15% of remote workers said their boss distracted them from work, which is less than the 22% of office-based employees who said the same thing.
The Evolution of Remote Work
Not too long ago, the technology that was needed to work remotely was not available. Most remote work was telemarketing and minimum wage level jobs. Now we have easy access to the technology and nearly all who work in small or medium sized businesses have some sort of device to access work data and materials.
The challenges of remote work, therefore, lies more in the collaboration and communication aspects rather than in the technical aspects of working from home.
One of the most important pieces of maintaining connections to your work team has been the dawn of video teleconferencing. The ability to touch base daily with your coworkers can make a huge difference in the ability to coordinate on projects. Add this to project management software and apps like Slack, and your team can stay in constant touch with each other even though they are not physically close together.
Are you having challenges with maintaining connections with your remote workforce? Check out our resources pages at North Shore Career Center and MassHire North Shore to help you stay on top of things at your company.
It may seem like working remotely lends itself to self isolation, but it doesn’t have to. Host a “happy hour” of sorts on Friday afternoons where everyone checks in and gives a personal update that is not work related. Share stories and let off steam as a group. All those quick connections we are used to in a physical work environment can translate to online connections too!