Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions have lost their jobs whereas millions were required to make abrupt transitions to a remote-working environment. Even today, despite the vaccine being rolled out, the future looks uncertain. 

Many future-savvy companies have already put remote-working policies in place.  Remote-work has also accelerated the adoption of technological trends like analytics, 5G, and cloud computing among others. 

While there are certainly disadvantages to remote-work, a compelling case can be made for why it is here to stay. Right off the bat, working remotely means that the potential of a better work-life balance is higher but what do the statistics say?  A thought-provoking survey by Forbes shows that remote-work could be here to stay. 

Compiled from 30,000 users across 100 million data points, the survey is comprehensive and highlights:

  • Work begins at 8:32 am for the average worker and ends at 5:38 pm
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are deemed to be the most productive days
  • Calls via telephone for work are up by 230%
  • Chat is up by 9 % and email by 57%
  • CRM activity is up 176 %

These numbers belie assumptions that remote-workers are less productive vis-a-vis traditional office environments. Employees have more control over their schedules and don’t have to waste time or energy in commuting. They can put into effect healthier life practices. 

A 2019 study by Airtasker consolidates this view: 1004 full-time employees  were surveyed in the US about their commute, productivity, and other life aspects. Of those surveyed, 505 were employees who worked remotely.  The study revealed that not only do employees benefit by working from home by an elimination of the daily commute, but also leads to healthier lifestyles and increased productivity. On the surface, it is a win-win situation for employers and employees alike. 

Fewer distractions

A report by ConnectSolutions discovered that reducing workplace distractions enhanced productivity.  Certain workplace distractions like gossip, background noise, and co-worker interruptions were eliminated in a remote-work environment. 76 % of remote workers  surveyed in the report claim that working remotely enhances their productivity because the work environment is less noisy, and they have fewer distractions from the task at hand.

Conducive work-schedules

Remote-workers have more control over their work-environment. They can engage in tasks that help them increase focus like listening to music. Others may not prefer music but can talk short breaks and get back to work re-energized. They can create their work- schedules to ensure maximum productivity.

Many remote-workers who are surveyed highlight that they can get more work done while being away from the cubicle.  Remote-work is not based on the number of hours put in but key result areas of work related outcomes. Such an approach ensures that remote-workers are more responsible and create work-schedules that lead to their best output. Since most remote-workers save time on commuting and workplace-related distractions, they can put in more hours per day

Fewer sick leaves

Employees take fewer breaks while working from home. They can also implement better health practices and tend to fall sick less often.  Many remote-workers continue to work despite being sick as they are less likely to infect their co-workers. Remote-workers also have the flexibility to adjust their work-schedules in certain instances, have better sleep cycles, and can take care of themselves better.

Why does remote-working work?

Remote-work is an opportunity for employees to find a better work-life balance. Not only do they have more flexibility and control over their work-schedules, but they have the tools to create an ideal work-environment that improves work outcomes.

For many, reducing work-related distractions is a catalyst for better productivity.  Another factor is that when employees feel disconnected from their job, the negative attitude becomes contagious. Such instances are avoided in a remote-working environment.

Further, remote-working can help organizations have access to a wider talent pool as geographical barriers are eliminated. Pay and gender gaps can be closed as employees have flexibility and the chances of dropping out from the workforce reduces significantly. This is especially true in case of women who get the much needed  control over their schedules.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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