Benefits and facilitation of a productive remote workforce

As previously indicated, it is not necessarily intuitive for many organization leaders to appreciate the benefits of a remote workforce.  An immediate perceived loss is the lack of ability to see workers at their desks putting in their scheduled hours.  Also, not having the opportunity for in-office face-to-face collaboration, creativity, and socializing can be an offset to the benefits.  However, various industry studies and experiences showing that remote workforce advantages often outweigh the perceived disadvantages.  In order to garner those advantages, though, management policies and processes need to be established, documented, and maintained to facilitate a healthy and productively environment for both employers and employees.

  • A Gallop study showed that employees spending 60 to 80 percent of their time working remotely had the highest rates of engagement.
  • Other studies show that over 15% of companies worldwide are fully remote, while over 50% of employees work from home at least one day per week.

Overriding major elements of an effective remote workforce are communication and collaboration. Personal connections and relationships are key to employee engagement.

Team collaboration can be facilitated using video and phone calls.

Regular checking-in between teams, management, and other departments should be scheduled on an ongoing basis.  Also, remote workforce programs should allow for flexibility with customization to accommodate different individual needs of employees.  It should be kept in mind that some employees working remotely feel isolated, while other feel liberated and empowered.

A basic premise of a remote workforce is having employees on the payroll that are competent, self-motivated, and won’t abuse the flexibility associated with working at home. Goals should be based on output rather than activities or hours worked.

Contrary to what many may think, remote workers tend to be more productive due to many factors including eliminating commuting and schedule flexibility.  Commuting length, for example, has been attributed to causing higher blood pressure and employee negativity. Also, there is evidence that stress levels are greatly reduced due to eliminating commuting and increasing schedule flexibility. More content, satisfied, and healthier employees can be more productive and contribute more to your business.  Rather than spending an average of 25 minutes commuting each day, this time can facilitate a much more favorable work/life balance.

In-office hires are typically restricted to those who can commute locally. In contrast, remote workers can be hired from a much broader geography.  This dramatically increases the talent pool available to facilitate high-quality new hires.  Also, studies have shown that nearly 70% of millennials would be more inclining to be hired by a company if remote working was offered.

From an employer’s perspective, reducing the percentage of in-office workers can significantly reduce overhead costs, including items such as rent and utilities. Remote employees tend to be more productive and stay longer at their jobs, reducing the costs of turnover.  According to a National Institutes of Health study, remote workers experience higher job satisfaction, reduced stress, lower turnover, and higher performance evaluations.

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