OWL Labs 2018 Global State of Remote Work report indicates that 56 percent of employers worldwide now offer either a completely remote work environment or a combination of remote and onsite work, and 52 percent of respondents reported that they work remotely at least once a week. It also found employees who work remotely at least once a month are 24 percent happier than those who only work onsite. Furthermore, the top remote work benefits have shifted from work-life balance in 2017 to focus and productivity in 2018.
Consequently, it’s not hard to see why remote work has come under the microscope increasingly over the past year. From cutting costs and boosting output to allowing more personal freedom, working remotely is continuing to look more and more beneficial to both employers and employees alike. In fact, a SurePayroll survey indicates that 86 percent of workers prefer to work alone to achieve optimal productivity, affirming that the office environment can be distractive and interruptive, ultimately reducing productivity.
Regardless, there’s no question that we are facing an increasingly remote workplace. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top remote work benefits for both employers and employees.
Top 5 Remote Work Benefits
1. Reduce Distractions and Boost Productivity
While it’s fairly universal for employees to occasionally be their own worst distraction, external office distractions are far deadlier to overall productivity. SurePayroll found that 61 percent of professionals agreed that loud coworkers are the most intrusive work distraction. And, 40 percent cited impromptu meetings with colleagues as a major distraction. Remote work directly eliminates these productivity killers. Furthermore, by allowing employees to work when they’re at their most productive, they can get more done in the same amount of time with less interruptions and distractions.
2. Stress Reduction
A Premiere Global Services, Inc. (PGi) report found that 82 percent of workers who telecommute said they experienced less stress working remotely rather than onsite. Even under ideal circumstances, being confined to a specified space for most of each day can induce stress. Numerous studies have shown that stress causes lower engagement and productivity, as well as higher absenteeism among employees. Also, on-the-job stress has implications that go far beyond work to impact daily life, health and relationships. So, any opportunity to reduce stress benefits both the employee and entire organization.
3. Less Absenteeism
The typical corporate job allocates a certain number of vacation and sick days each year. Remote work allows employees to work while on vacation or feeling a little under the weather. Employees can work around travel plans and other activities, leading to more work being completed on more days while workers get the benefits of work-life balance. Furthermore, there are times when employees take sick days to either avoid getting others in the office sick or care for a sick child when they could actually get work done. Remote work allows employees to continue being productive even when they are not at their best.
4. Decrease Overhead
Organizations are always looking for new ways to cut costs. One of the easiest ways to do this is by eliminating overhead costs from large offices. While this won’t work for every work space, for companies where most communication is via email and phone, having a physical workplace is simply unnecessary. For example, American Express’ BlueWork program has not only increased employee productivity but saved the company between $10 to $15 million in real estate costs annually.
5. Adapting to the Future Workforce
As younger workers continue to enter the workforce, organizations need to start adapting to meet their needs and interests to attract the best talent. An AfterCollege survey revealed that 68 percent of millennials have more interest in companies that have remote work options. With unemployment so low, it is irrefutably a job seekers’ market. Consequently, organizations need to start being more flexible to meet potential employees’ interests if they don’t want to fall to the wayside when it comes to talent.
Remote work is no a mere trend. In fact, remote work is looking increasingly like it is the future of work, and those who don’t evolve to at least incorporate it to some extent can’t hope to remain competitive. Many organizations continue to view remote work as a direct adversary to cost control, time management and productivity. But the problem isn’t remote employees. The problem lies in misplacement and misallocation of talent, as well employee disengagement. Unfailingly, the data indicates that good employees in the right role work better from home – end of story.