Today's post is a guest post from Rae Steinbach a Content Specialist at Taktical.
Thanks to reliable communication technology, it’s easier than ever for businesses of virtually any size to hire remote workers. Some of the benefits of doing so may be immediately obvious. When you’re limited to hiring candidates who live in, or can relocate to, the geographic area surrounding your office, you don’t have the chance to find the ideal candidate for a position.
When you can hire someone from anywhere in the world, it’s much easier to find the most qualified person for the job. On top of that, hiring a remote team helps companies save money by reducing the cost of office space.
These advantages are clear. That said, some managers may wonder if employees who don’t work in the office every day will be as focused as those who aren’t surrounded by the distractions of home. Supervising remote employee performance the same way you would in-office performance isn’t possible; thus, you may assume their productivity will naturally suffer.
This is an understandable assumption, but it’s not rooted in fact. With nearly half of all American workers operating from home at least some of the time, we’ve had many opportunities in recent years to gauge how this trend has impacted productivity. The verdict? It has a positive effect.
Why Remote Workers Are More Productive
First, it’s important to explore one of the key reasons managers worry out-of-office workers won’t get as much done as their in-office counterparts: distractions. When you’re at home, you have no one directly supervising you. That means you’re more likely to browse the web, watch some TV, or handle personal tasks, right?
Not according to one study. To assess the impact of remote working on productivity, Chinese travel company Ctrip gave employees in their call centers the option to work from home for nine months. The company found that workers who opted to telecommute handled an average of 13.5% more calls per day than those who remained in the office. Over the course of a week, that almost amounts to a full extra work day.
Nicholas Bloom, one of the researchers who organized the study, points out that offices actually tend to be more distracting than other settings. Between interruptions from supervisors, coworkers alerting you to snacks in the break room, and the constant sounds of other people working, staff are actually less likely to stay on task in an office.
Surveys indicate that most people believe they are more productive when working from home. Partially, this is due to the flexibility remote work offers. For example, if an office-based employee has several essential errands to run during the week, they may have to take a full day off to complete them. Employees who telecommute have greater freedom to organize the work day around their needs. They can find a way to run errands without taking excess time off.
They’re also less likely to be exposed to germs or spread germs to their coworkers. The impact healthier employees have on productivity is easy to imagine.
Offering team membres this kind of flexibility also reduces their conflict with family members. When they can schedule their work in a way that lets them spend more time with loved ones, their home life improves. As a result, they become more content and engaged with their work.
Trends indicate that remote workers tend to be more productive than office-based employees. That said, you should still use a management tool to stay in touch with them, provide regular feedback, and monitor progress.
This will help you feel more confident that your workers aren’t slacking off when they’re not in the office. By embracing the changing times – and using the right tools – you can take full advantage of the multiple benefits a remote team offers.
Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.