How Remote Work Impacts Productivity and What It Means For Businesses 

According to a recent survey of 793 employers by Mercer, 94% of employers said that employee productivity was the same as or higher than before the pandemic, even with their employees working remotely.

Remote workers don’t have to deal with office politics, loud coworkers, or other common distractions in an office setting. They can also work at a time of day when they are most productive, instead of conforming to standard office hours or wasting precious hours on a commute. All these factors help contribute to increased productivity for remote teams. 

Considering the success of remote work during the pandemic, companies should highly consider using remote teams, or at least a hybrid model, to increase output and lower overhead costs in the post-pandemic world. 

Working remotely has its challenges, but that doesn’t mean it’s not highly effective.

Remote work was once considered a fad, and many businesses were reluctant to adopt it as a feasible business model (especially the financial services industry). 

However, recent studies show that remote workers are more productive, engaged, and happier than their office-bound counterparts. 

The statistics paint a clear picture. Let’s dive into a few: 

  • According to Stanford, remote workers are 13% more productive than their in-office counterparts.
  • Owl Labs confirms that 16% of remote workers feel they are “always productive” compared to only 8% of in-office workers.
  • Owl Labs also found that 73% of remote workers feel they’re productive at least three days a week versus only 51% of in-office workers who say the same.

Remote work leads to higher productivity levels, which means businesses can get more done with fewer people. It’s become more accessible for companies to hire remote workers with the Work From Anywhere model and stay competitive globally without investing in expensive physical infrastructure.

Productivity is not something that should only be measured by hours worked.

The productivity of a business relates to the quality and quantity of work performed. Productivity is not measured solely by the hours put in. It is possible to be highly productive in a short period when employees are motivated, focused, and well-rested.

It is also important to measure productivity concerning employee well-being, including mental and physical health. 

Companies that embrace a remote workforce tend to have lower turnover rates and higher employee satisfaction ratings. According to Owl Labs, 83% of respondents in a recent survey agreed that the ability to work remotely would make them happier.

Happy and healthy employees are the secret ingredients for high productivity and longevity in your business. 

Best Practices for Improving Remote work Productivity

Here are six tips that will help your business maximise productivity with remote work, increase output, and grow sales tenfold.

Energise your team

People work harder when they are happy. Economists found that happiness makes workers about 12% more productive. This statistic may seem insignificant, but remember that employees are your best assets; it is crucial to take their well-being seriously. Happy people want to put in more effort and will stick around longer. 

To help improve employee morale, set up times to check in with each other. Make sure everyone has some space in their calendar for one-on-one meetings, preferable over Zoom or another video conferencing software to get face-to-face interaction. 

Use this time to engage with your employees, and learn what they enjoy working on and where they want to be more involved. 

It is essential to build trust and camaraderie among team members who don’t have the opportunity to see their managers every day. When you can excite people about what they are working on, it improves employee morale and, in return, reduces turnover. 

Communication is key

Business communications can sometimes fail or lead to misunderstandings when working remotely. Managers may miss specific body language cues from employees over Zoom that demonstrate that there may be confusion if most of your communication is via text rather than voice or video. 

There are a lot of great communication tools available for free today that maximises communication productivity: 

  • Slack: Perfect for a quick message to the team. It helps increase productivity by reducing Zoom fatigue and avoiding the requirement for everyone to be accessible simultaneously, which can interrupt “peak performance” hours.
  • Zoom: Ideal for larger internal meetings and client interactions. Remote work reduces the hours it typically takes to commute to meetings and turns them into productive working hours. 
  • Loom: Awesome for sharing detailed information. Loom helps employees stay productive while gaining access to detailed information and avoiding repeat information. Unlike Zoom, when using Loom, there is no need to gather simultaneously. 

Without good communication, your productivity will surely suffer. Businesses running remote teams must leverage the best communication tools available to keep things running smooth and efficient.

Set clear expectations

Setting clear expectations ensures that all team members are on the same page and know what they need to be doing every day when they log into work. 

Providing clear job descriptions can help increase productivity and reduce time spent on back and forth questions when remote workers are getting started or are unsure about their responsibilities. 

Make sure it is clear to your employees how your business operates and tracks individual output. 

Implementing time tracking software helps monitor how much time it takes for an employee to complete an assigned task. If you notice that a job is taking longer than expected, don’t be afraid to reach out and discuss the bottleneck in the current process. 

Outsource where needed

As more companies start going fully remote, it is becoming increasingly popular to outsource different administrative aspects of running a business. After all, a business owner is typically not an HR guru, and their time is better spent on sales and strategy for growing the business.

Outsourcing HR tasks to PEO companies is ideal for remote teams to manage HR and payroll benefits as it saves companies the time and headaches it takes to create an in-house HR team. PEO companies are a quick and productive way to get tedious HR tasks out of the way and ensure the business is running smoothly. 

Outsourcing is an excellent way to keep overhead costs low and allow your current employees to focus on their primary job. This practice will increase productivity tenfold as your employees will avoid tasks that they don’t enjoy doing and aren’t trained to do. 

Utilise project management software

The growing popularity of remote teams has created a need for software to ensure productivity, accountability, and collaboration across projects. Like Asana and ClickUp, project management software helps teams stay on task and meet deadlines, even when not in the same office.

Teams can use these tools to keep track of multiple projects, assign tasks and check off completed items. They also help ensure everyone is on the same page about what’s happening and when it’s due, facilitate real-time communication among team members (even when they’re at different locations), and much more. It also makes it easier for you to track productivity to see where everyone needs help or where they need more support from the rest of the team.

Beyond just helping teams stay organised and aligned, project management software improves productivity by 28 times over organisations that don’t use the software. It can also help reduce turnover rates by allowing managers to give employees more autonomy over their work lives, meaning happier people who are less likely to leave. 

Document processes and training materials

Training a new hire is time-intensive and significantly impacts the ability of the trainer to focus on their day job. Streamlining the onboarding and training process alleviates the burden on your current employees, who would otherwise need to spend multiple days or weeks getting a new hire up-to-speed. It is critical to document all of your processes and training materials to improve operational efficiencies and implement productive workflows.

Spending the time upfront to document standard operating procedures or training materials is a foolproof way to guarantee a smooth onboarding experience for new hires, allowing you to scale your business and maintain current employee productivity by avoiding double the workload.

Remote work means that your team spans multiple regions, but this does not mean that their training should be affected. You can, for example, give your team some free marketing books for them to read in their free time and learn new tactics for their work and avoid the need for new hires to bother existing employees and cut into their critical working hours. 

wrapping up

Remote employees have the freedom to get more done while also maintaining a higher quality output than those in the traditional office setting. They also appreciate the additional flexibility, lack of commute, and better work-life balance. 

Author: Ezekiel Cohen – Freelance SEO & Marketing Specialist at Contently

Photo credit:  BRUNO EMMANUELLE on Unsplash

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