Many people liken working from home to a lazy Saturday. Remote workers must be sleeping in, logging into work in their pajamas, and taking endless breaks, right? You might even view remote workers as being less productive overall.
Telework, work from home, remote work — no matter what it’s called, it’s redefining how the world views work and careers. Despite what you may think, while working remotely isn’t perfect, many workers are actually more productive.
There are several reasons why remote workers can be more productive than those who work in a traditional office. One is that they may be less distracted at home if they were previously in a high-traffic office. The increased flexibility in their schedule and decreased distractions may enable them to get more work done. There are five factors that many successful remote workers have in common. These can help employees working off-site to be more productive, efficient, and happier people overall.
Successful remote workers have great communication and collaboration skills. To execute their projects while remote, excellent communication is vital. Employees who work from home must ensure they understand everyone’s needs and their responsibilities. Since they can’t pop into their colleagues’ offices for questions, they need to keep everyone in the loop with status updates. Employers who set clear expectations and have organized project management tools work well with remote contractors.
If a remote contractor isn’t good at communicating and isn’t responsive, they likely won’t have their position for long. Hiring remote workers with a proven track record in communication means they will likely be a good fit.
Along with great communication, remote workers need to have a high level of accountability. Meeting project deadlines requires the ability to deliver dependably. Working offsite means employees can’t be quickly reminded of priorities via casual drop-ins throughout the day.
Accountability unquestionably depends on organizational skills, but fortunately remote workers live in an age where technology can help. Today’s project management software can enable remote employees to keep track of projects and deliver tasks on time. By clearly delineating project tasks, their deadlines, and who is responsible for each subtask, such software bakes accountability right in. Remote workers don’t need bosses to remind them when their deliverables are due when their tech solutions can do it automatically.
Workers don’t like to be micromanaged. They may enjoy the ability to complete projects on their own schedules, at times when they are most productive. Working remotely can help foster this autonomy. For example, remote workers can choose how they’d like to spend their lunch hour each day. Some might go to the gym, while others could listen to a webinar.
This sense of control over their day yields dividends. Working from home can enable employees to decide the best approach to tackling their workload. Some people may be more productive on projects in the mornings and at phone calls in the afternoons, for example. Having the freedom to tailor their schedule enables remote workers to take advantage of their productive windows throughout the day.
Workers often cite being able to get more done in less time while working from home. With quieter home offices, employees can focus without constant interruptions from colleagues. For example, enabling do-not-disturb mode on communication apps is likely to stop an influx of messages. By contrast, an employee can’t change their office location in a busy workplace.
A ConnectSolutions survey found that 30% of workers completed more work in less time when at home. Teleworkers also tend to take fewer sick days. This leads to fewer gaps in work and better overall performance
Not having a morning and evening commute also aids in productivity. Those with school-age children are already home when the bus arrives. This means employees don’t need to leave the office early to meet their children. It also means that when a kiddo is sick, employees don’t have to take time off to stay with them. And if they have pets, there is no need to rush back to let them out.
Remote workers are able to accomplish their job duties from their desired location. The lack of a commute and the ability to concentrate in their preferred space can lead to greater work satisfaction and a better work-life balance.
Remote workers will often stay with a company longer because of these benefits. That’s good news for the employee and employer alike. Retention is a big deal, and managers know that happy workers don’t leave as often.
This retention leads to other benefits for the company and worker as well. Employers get to avoid the expenses associated with hiring new workers, and they avoid knowledge gaps. The longer an employee is with a company, the more they know. A well-versed employee is more productive and requires less oversight.
So it turns out that workers can be more productive working remotely than in the office. But as with anything, performance is dependent on the individual. Those who enjoy and excel at working from home often have several traits in common. They are great communicators, hold themselves accountable, and use their time productively. When you allow your employees to work remotely, your business will reap the benefits as well.