Working From Home: The Future of Business Is Remote

Working from home has traditionally gained a bad reputation, but more and more companies have adopted telecommuting policies. In the past, remote workers got bad laps. Many employers found it easy for employees to get distracted in homes where their superiors could not monitor their direct reports.

Remote work was very rare 10 years ago. Working from home was usually only possible as a special arrangement to accommodate employees in special cases. However, conference call and telework technology has advanced to the point where some companies are thriving with fully remote teams. In fact, it’s not uncommon for businesses to get employees to work from home, at the least, once or twice a week. Working from home also helps prevent the spread of illness, avoids loss of productivity, and protects public health. For example, the outbreak of COVID-19 has led many employers to switch to a remote working model for all employees to contain the pandemic.

To better understand this issue, Airtasker surveyed 1,004 full-time employees (of which 505 were remote workers) nationwide about work habits and productivity. The results show that remote workers are more productive than workers in the office. According to the survey, 4,444 remote workers work 1.4 days more a month than office workers, which is equivalent to about 17 extra days a year.  Remote workers take longer breaks on average than office workers (22 minutes vs. 18 minutes) but work 10 minutes longer each day.  Office workers are unproductive for an average of 37 minutes a day, except for lunch and breaks, while remote workers are unproductive for only 27 minutes. Fifteen percent of teleworkers said their boss distracted them from work. This was down from 22% of office workers who said the same thing.

While these statistics may encourage both workers and employers to implement telecommuting programs, remote workers are much more likely to find a higher level of stress and work-life balance than office workers. However, according to the American Psychological Association, remote work can increase employee satisfaction if done properly.

Ultimately, remote work is effective, but it needs to be practiced properly and may not be the best situation for all employees and organizations.

Current state of remote work

Advances in communication technology and Internet access have made telecommuting a practice accepted in many offices in the United States and around the world. This kind of work is not entirely done at home. Remote workers are looking to coffee shops and coworking spaces, and some travel around the world while maintaining a career orientation.

“The modern workforce is becoming more and more mobile, collaborative and dynamic, and spans multiple generations with diverse communication preferences,” said Stacey Epstein, CEO of Zinc. “These workers come from multiple industries … everything presents a unique challenge when it comes to staying connected at work.” However, many companies do this for a variety of reasons. Some business owners may be worried about the lack of employee productivity, while others are not investing in conference and remote commuting technologies to support remote workers. Still, many other companies are embarking on a telecommuting policy, one or two days a week, or except for some employees.

According to a Buffer. A remote work survey, 75% of teleworkers say the company does not bear internet costs, and 71% say employers do not pay for employee coworking spaces. These numbers are slightly better than last year, when 78% of businesses didn’t pay for the internet and 76% didn’t pay for coworking spaces. The desire and expectation of working remotely among employees has grown significantly year by year, but companies are taking time to adopt remote-friendly policies.

On the other hand, adopting a telework policy saves enterprise costs by eliminating the need for expensive office space (or satellite offices) and allowing employees to create their own schedules and work from anywhere. It can be a mutually beneficial situation.

What the future holds

Working from home is a general term for working away from the office, but many companies are looking to hybrid models to find a compromise between the needs of the company and the needs of its employees.

Simply put, the hybrid work model is a combination of remote work and office time. Target, Ford, Microsoft and Amazon have all announced plans to implement a hybrid working model in the future. The hybrid model can offer the best of both worlds. This means you can reduce your company’s running costs while  keeping your employees happy, healthy and motivated. However, like any other remote work, employees are at risk of burnout, so organizations need to make sure their digital communications plans are sound, as if the business were completely remote.

Fast Company predicts that remote work software, like mobile work tools and virtual reality conferencing, will become the favored mode of communication—even over face-to-face meetings. AI may even play a prime function in handling remote staff.

These improvements have placed organizations at ease. The transition to handling remote employee or personnel is probably daunting, however with the proper tech and hardworking employees, it can be a seamless process.

In the long run, combating this new paradigm might do greater damage than good. Many employees now anticipate remote work opportunities. According to Buffer, 99% of modern-day employees would really like to work remotely, at least for a portion of the time during the month, for relaxation in their careers.

Furthermore, in keeping with Global Workplace Analytics, 37% of remote employees might take a 10% pay cut to keep operating from home. Due to this increasing trend, a few refuse to just accept an onsite position, understanding they are able to discover a greater handy and bendy gig elsewhere.

Instead of resisting the trend, groups must enhance their remote worker regulations and capabilities. If your company is concerned about productivity and performance issues due to a company-wide ability to work from home, it’s recommended that you create standard key performance indicators (KPIs) for both management and employees. This path ensures remote team members are aware of expectations, and their performances can be monitored.