Recent Forrester research found that two thirds of information workers are already remote workers, and it’s a trend that’s only going to grow.
This doesn’t stop many managers getting nervous, though, at the prospect of having staff doing work on the internet from home and away from their watchful gaze. Many think that people will simply spend all time on Facebook or watching TV, rather than actually getting any work done.
But research has already shown that being able to do remote work from home actually increases productivity. In fact, it could be argued that it is the office environment that stifles productivity more.
Here are a few reasons why:
Monday meetings are a tradition in many offices. They are seen as a way of setting goals, sorting out the previous week’s issues and kick starting the week. But people have to drop whatever they are working on and congregate in the same room at the same time. Many will probably have not even bothered starting on an important piece of work, knowing they are going to be interrupted mid-flow. Meetings can then drag on, with everyone forced to sit and listen even if the items being discussed don’t relate to them.
However, when your staff are working remotely then it’s easy to call meetings, as and when they are needed, using video conferencing apps such as Skype or GoToMeeting. You need only include the people who are needed to discuss a certain issue and they don’t have to leave their desks.
More peace and quiet
It’s common for people to either work late or arrival early to work at an office. A key reason is because it’s the only time they get enough peace and quiet to work on something interrupted. Otherwise they have to contend with office chatter, people asking for help and all the other distractions of an office environment.
Staff doing remote work from home, however, can choose to switch off IM or close down their email whenever they want and work uninterrupted for hours at a time. The lack of distractions when working from home is one of the core reasons why people can be more creative, productive and efficient.
Less office gossip
Facebook could be seen as an alternative to a cigarette break. It enables remote workers and internet employees doing work from home to take 5 mins out to catch up with friends on IM, see photos from Saturday night’s party and to engage with the people they care about. It’s then back to work.
In an office, on the other hand, there can be a constant drone of people talking all day. If you were to schedule just one afternoon a week as a ‘no talking’ period you’d be amazed at how much more work gets done. Yes, it’s true that allowing staff to chat (in moderation) is important for rapport, relationship building and a happier workplace, but it can also hammer productivity and is another reason why working remotely enables employees to get more done every day.
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