Roughly two years back, only 5% of Americans were working remotely. And then suddenly, the numbers went up to 90%. Asurvey of Fortune 500 executives showed an increase in virtual employees from 16% to 65%.
What earlier used to be a choice is now our reality. And with this massive shift in our work models, an obvious question arises, how productive are you when working remotely? Can remote work be viewed as a sustainable alternative?
Well, in a tangible sense, in remote jobs, employees have more autonomy over their work, don’t have to commute, and have a better work-life balance. But the feeling of isolation combined with increased stress has left many questioning the effectiveness of remote work.
Every coin has two sides. Similarly, remote work has its advantages and disadvantages. Getting back to the point at hand, are we more productive when working remotely? Let’s analyze that.
Great Place to Work conducted a study of 800,000 employees from Fortune 500 companies for two years. It reported that most remote employees were more productive compared to when they work in an office.
In two studies conducted from March 2019 to August 2019 and March 2020 to August 2020, the latter showed increased productivity.
Another study conducted by Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom of 16,000 employees in 2013 showed a 13% increase in productivity. Sick leaves decreased by 9%.
In a study, 65% of remote workers report that they feel more productive when not in the office. People work with more flexibility in home offices as opposed to corporate offices. Out of those, 86% rate their productivity as being either good or excellent.
Remote teams have fewer distractions noted a ConnectSolutions remote work-study. It said that fewer distractions are a major boost to productivity. Moreover, 76% claim more work due to fewer distractions, and 62% attribute better work to the less noisy work environment.
Productivity has increased as a result of remote work agreed 85% of businesses.
Lauren Mason, Senior Consultant at Mercer said that historically it is believed that if employees are not there in the office, they are not working. Most managers believe that at least efficiency takes a hit.
However, this forced working from home experiment has shattered such perceptions. If anything, it has been proven that employees can work just fine even if they are in full time remote position.
She also believes that now organizations are thinking long term. Therefore, the onus lies on how to make remote work work. Organizations are looking at ways to deliver flexible working without compromising on performance, employee productivity and employee experience. All this, at a reduced cost.
Remote work advocates are not surprised at all. They have for a long time supported the fact that remote work is great for employees. Elimination of commute is one of the major draws for remote workers.
Employees can better utilize all this time to stay productive and do what they really like.
Also, remote workers put in 1.4 days of extra work compared to office workers. Therefore, productivity increases!
Stats show that remote work is good for productivity. They prove that remote work is good for employees. However, the future will not be just limited to remote.
Introducing the Hybrid Work Model
It will be a balance of remote work and on-site work that is the hybrid work model. It combines the best of both worlds. In a hybrid work model, employees come to the office two or three days a week, and the rest of the days flexibility is provided to employees to work from anywhere.
Companies like Apple, Microsoft, HubSpot, Amazon, Google, Siemens, Salesforce, and many others have adopted a hybrid work setting. They have done this with a significant focus on remote work.
So, does remote work make you productive? Yes. That is what the data suggests. In a hybrid environment, with remote-first approach, it will stay relevant.
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Remote work has become the norm. With a majority of employees supporting it, the question remains, how are managers handling it? This blog chronicles the opinions of managers from different industries on remote work.
COVID-19 has thrust managers into remote management, requiring a different set of skills than face-to-face management. And this transition happened quickly, without proper training.
As a result, some managers handled their remote teams; many struggled to communicate with their remote employees. Add to that the overwhelming challenges of remote work. So yes, some managers may find managing teams more difficult than before.
Given that the traditional office setting is no longer an option, managers are finding ways to collaborate with their teams.
In a survey by Gartner, more than 40% of managers said they have been feeling a higher level of stress and logging more hours than before the pandemic.
When the pandemic started, most managers were focused on just one thing- productivity.
Damian Scalerandi, Vice President of Operations, BairesDev was concerned about whether or not the teams were getting their work done.
However, 85% of businesses agreed that productivity has increased due to flexible work. Most organizations implemented new time-tracking tools and tasked managers with ensuring worker output stayed steady. But this approach to management is incompatible with long-term remote work.
What are Managers doing to Manage Remote Work Teams?
With productivity sorted, managers are now advised to build a connection with their remote workers. This means that managers need to eliminate the system of micromanagement. Instead of being the manager, they need to be a facilitator.
“Remote managers must be less of a boss and more of a leader,” said Scalerandi. He further added that managers will have to act as guides. Employees must know that they are supported, be it for work or for personal matters.
For Scalerandi, managing teams across various continents means valuing the power of trust. He says that he has learned to trust his employees. This has fostered better team collaboration, and has changed the team dynamics. Also, the outcome of the projects have become more successful.
Dennis Meyer, a freelance TV Producer in Los Angeles, believes that too much remote work on certain days means more work for him. Many managers have echoed this sentiment, stating that delegation becomes difficult when everyone works from home.
Meyer believes that face-to-face communication is faster and more practical. He says that the moment we “pick up a phone or write a message,” we end up wasting valuable time. This is true especially when the airing of a show nears, and many changes have to be made.
As a call center manager for an education company in Arizona, Diana Garrett says that she would prefer a hybrid work model compared to an all-remote setting. Communication has become a significant challenge with the Arizona office closed and the team scattered across different states.
Her job has become more complicated and takes more time to execute with a lack of communication. What would have usually taken her 5 minutes, now takes double the time. She is therefore of the opinion that with some time in the office, managing her team will become easier.
Tracy Schumacher manages the software developers and engineers for a utility industry service provider in New York. She had worked on-site full-time before the pandemic. Though their time working remotely was primarily successful, she is currently asking her team members to pick the days of the week they want to work from the office.
Schumacher felt it was harder to onboard the new employees and develop the skills of the junior staff.
She’s optimistic that the hybrid model will provide the perfect remedy to these issues.
Finding the Positive
Though it might seem challenging for most managers, there were a few who found their time working remotely enlightening.
Rene Cortes is the sales and support team manager in a medical device maker. For him, his time working from home led to newfound discoveries. He is more productive and saves a lot of time, which he would spend otherwise commuting.
There is also lot less distraction and his work has become more effective.
However, he would still prefer personal interactions with his colleagues and customers.
Remote work might have its fair share of pros and cons. For managers, the challenges may sometimes outweigh the advantages. But with hybrid work models being presented as sustainable alternatives, the woes seem to have an end.
As a manager working with a remote team, visibility on their team’s performance and the quality of their outputs should matter the most. The last year has already established that productivity is not a hindrance to remote work. With hybrid work models coming to the forefront and organizations accepting remote work as it is, the future for managers remains full of potential.
Do you want a solution that makes team management an easy task? Then WorkInSync is what you need. This hybrid workplace solution is a must-have with features that promote team collaboration.
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