Does Remote Working See an Increase In Productivity?

The mobilization of technology has unleashed new opportunities for businesses to become more dynamic and agile in their work approach.  Remote work has been the best outcome of this new business approach or strategy. It helped business enterprises to free themselves from traditional work boundaries and bring diversity to the business. It has strengthened the workers-employer relationship and added value to the organization’s mission. More importantly, it matches the next-generation work culture that is flexible and employee-centric. However, along with the merits, there are unique challenges of remote work that leave business operators with divided opinions. Among all their concerns, remote work productivity is at the center of their discussion, and they are much anticipated to clear the clouds around its effectiveness. If you are one of the business owners confused about remote work implementation, then this article could help you address your worries.

To answer whether remote working can help your organization increase its productivity or if there is an ideal way to keep the remote team productive, we will try to emphasize some important aspects of remote work productivity.

·    Does remote work increase productivity?

·   What are the factors that influence remote work productivity? 

·    How can technology help to boost remote work productivity?

·    Does the hybrid model complement future work better?

Does remote work increase productivity?

It is foremost that remote work productivity is not the same for all organizations and it differs based on business operations and nature of the job. In its latest survey, tech giant Microsoft has claimed that their remote work productivity has not changed (77 percent in June 2021 versus 76 percent in June 2020) in comparison to the productivity while working from the office. It indicates that remote work is not hazardous to workplace productivity, but the same report also revealed that there is a lack of innovation as people spend less time collaborating.  Besides full-time workers, the part-time workers have also responded positively to remote work; as per one of the reports, about 65% of part-time employees have agreed to work more hours if given the opportunity to work remotely. Remote work that was seen as a temporary adjustment during Covid has gone mainstream post-Covid. Another global survey conducted with CIOs in 2021 indicated that the future is going to see an increase in the permanent remote work model.  It means business enterprises are satisfied with the remote workers’ performance and continue to encourage remote work culture. However, not all of them have the same opinion when it comes to evaluating productivity while working remotely 45% of employers say employee productivity decreased while working remotely.

Although there is a mixed reaction on remote work productivity from various sectors, overall, the general perception towards remote work is assertive. The above statistics suggest that as you move towards flexible work culture, remote work could become a more standard option for your organization. However, there are a few attributes that need to be intercepted first to leverage the benefits of remote work in a true sense.

What are the factors that influence remote work productivity?

  • Lack of collaboration: Team collaboration is essential to complete tasks in a given timeline and helps to maintain employees’ productivity. However, in a remote work environment, the employees would work in different time zones, making real-time collaboration quite difficult.  There are a few more collaboration challenges that could impact employees’ productivity, such as poor tool selection, employees’ low engagement level, inconsistency in communication, etc.
  • Distraction: Remote work could mean a lot of distractions. Unlike office set-up in remote work, you can get distracted by the surrounding noise, unexpected visitors, household chores, irregular breaks, browsing social media accounts, and so on. Keeping your team disciplined and motivated in a remote environment is quite challenging, and failing to do so can bring your team productivity down.
  • Clarity on tasks: Not having clarity on the work could lead to errors and re-work.  It can consume team members’ productivity hours and delay the project deliverables.  It is necessary that team members have real-time information about their tasks and remain on track throughout the project.
  • Technical glitch: Technology glitch is quite annoying in remote work; as, you cannot help your team members much.  Team members can face technical issues due to internet speed, system failure, or files not compatible with the system, etc. It is something that needs attention in advance before you shift your team members to remote work and brief them about the technical issues they might face while working remotely.  You can also explain a contingency plan to your employee and how to respond to unexpected scenarios.
  • Odd working hours: Remote work allows employees to work at their comfort, but it sometimes drags the employees’ work unnecessarily. Remote workers that don’t stick to standard work routines often find themselves working in odd hours. It can impact employees’ productivity and make it difficult to unplug even after regular work hours. 27% of remote workers stated that their biggest struggle during remote work was not being able to unplug from work.
  • Lack of engagement level: In a remote environment, employees work in isolation and exhibit a low level of engagement. The engagement level can impact employees’ productivity.

How can technology help to boost remote work productivity?

There are many factors that influence remote work productivity and technology could be crucial in optimizing the remote employees’ efficiency.

  • AR/VR and Metaverse for team collaboration: In remote work, communication gap and clear visibility of tasks is envisioned as one of the major roadblocks in boosting teams’ productivity.  By using AR/VR, you can reduce the communication gap and make them more interactive. There is also a buzz around Metaverse that teleports your identical avatar to a virtual space; it means you can have the team meet in virtual space just as you have in the office.  Tools such as Zoom and Slack have been pretty helpful in remote work, and with the introduction of Metaverse, these tools can further help the team to collaborate better.
  • Productivity apps: Time management is a key element for achieving high productivity. However, while working remotely, sometimes employees get carried away due to their extra comfort zone. It can affect their productivity. By using project management apps, employees can manage their work more efficiently and see which activities are consuming more time.
  • Learning management system: The disadvantage of remote work is that you stay disconnected from many offline training sessions that the organization enrolls for enhancing employee skills. With a learning management system, you can quickly deploy, manage, and track training programs in a remote environment.
  • Project management software: Project management software allows you to maintain a standard workflow and give better visibility on the tasks. The real-time update feature of PMS keeps everybody on the same page and enables employees to plan their tasks accordingly. It is advisable to use cloud-based project management software for remote work as it allows your team members to access software from anywhere.
  • Remote work software: Remote work software can be a useful tool in monitoring employees’ productivity. Their features, such as secure file sharing, live chats, data analytics, audio-video conferencing, can give you better control over your remote team.

Does the hybrid model complement future work better?

The year 2020-21 has been more welcoming towards the remote working model. It helped to address some core issues of the traditional workplace such as work-life balance, flexible work hours, commute expenses, etc.  As we get back to normalcy post-Covid, many offices still appreciate the remote working model and continue to embrace this, business owners see the “hybrid model” as more feasible and pragmatic. A hybrid work model can support future work well and serves the interest of both employers and employees. In the war of remote versus physical office, the “hybrid model” can come out as the clear winner and could help business operators build a dream enterprise that supports flexibility, productivity, and diversity.

Conclusion

Remote work can certainly increase productivity and could fit well in future work. However, with the returning normalcy, several organizations still consider the idea of implementing full-fledged remote work in their business structure. If your business-enterprise plans to incorporate remote work permanently, it is advisable to make it traceable and manageable. You can take the help of the latest technologies and software tools like remote work management software that could assist you in exercising the best remote work practices and quantify its effectiveness.

Author-Bio

Jimmy Johnson is a senior content writer at GoodFirms‘  specializing in various technology topics. Currently, Jimmy writes on project development strategies, software solutions, SEO, latest technology trends, and scouts on many exciting technologies that empower businesses.

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