The Current Status of Remote Working: Exploring the New Normal
Remote working has had a bad reputation in the past. A lot of companies and businesses believed that their employees would experience decreased productivity and would easily get distracted at the comfort of their homes. Moreover, in a work-from-home setting, seniors won’t be able to manage their team members’ responsibilities.
Put simply, the concept of remote working was not widespread even ten years ago. Typically, companies arranged remote work for employees in special circumstances to accommodate families. But now, teleconferencing and related technologies have advanced to a great extent that a few companies are handling their overall operations remotely.
Due to this, more and more businesses are currently adopting the remote working model. At present, it’s not unusual for companies to allow their workers to work remotely three or four times a week, depending on the situation.
When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared back in March 2020, the work scenario changed drastically and permanently. This dramatic shift to remote work because of the COVID-19 outbreak was an obligation for many businesses that originally required their workers to work from the office. But slowly, many companies realized the advantages of the remote working model and hence, are adopting hybrid models over the long term. Work-from-home settings can help curb the spread of diseases, thereby helping businesses increase productivity and protect the health of their employees.
To determine the success of teleconferencing and remote work model, we’ll study the current state of remote working and predictions for the future of work-from-home settings.
Is Remote Working Showing Success?
As mentioned above, the concept of remote working was balked at even until a couple of years ago. One of the biggest concerns businesses had for this work model was low productivity. How productive and successful can a person be when they’re not under the management of superiors? A study by Airtasker involving 499 office-based and 505 remote employees across the U.S. stated that remote employees were more productive compared to office-based employees. The results of the survey indicated that:
Office-based workers are unproductive for at least 37 minutes per day, excluding lunch or washroom breaks. In contrast, remote workers are unproductive for only 27 minutes.
Remote workers work 1.4 more days per month compared to their office-going counterparts, adding nearly 17 more workdays annually.
Only 15% of remote employees claimed that their superiors distracted them every day, which is 7% less than office-based employees.
Remote employees take longer breaks than office-based employees (22 minutes versus 18 minutes, accordingly). However, remote employees worked an additional 10 minutes per day compared to office workers.
To conclude, the remote work model is effective and going successfully, but employers have to put it into practice correctly.
The Current State of Remote Work
Due to the advancements in teleconferencing and related communication technologies and the huge penetration of the internet, remote work has evolved both in the U.S. and globally. For most people,work-from-home has turned into a blessing as they have the freedom to work however they want as long as they have stable internet connectivity. Some people even turn to cafes or coworking spaces, while others even travel the world while having a stable career. These not only allow them to pursue traveling but also accomplish their career goals.
Now, a lot of companies operating in the manufacturing sector are facing problems with the ongoing remote working trend. These companies fear a lack of productivity in their workers. A few businesses claim they haven’t invested in teleconferencing technologies to support the work-from-home model. Additionally, some companies have created a work-from-home policy for a maximum of two days a week, with more days on special occasions. According to a study by Buffer on work-from-home policy, 75% of employees said their employers didn’t cover Wi-Fi costs, while 71% said their companies didn’t pay for coworking spaces. While tech companies adopted remote work models only recently, non-tech companies are slowly creating work-from-home policies for their employees.
A remote work model can also save businesses money by eliminating the need for satellite offices and office spaces. However, companies need to spend more on the right tools and tech to ensure their employees are productive and efficient at home. The survey said that almost 89% of remote and hybrid employees had access to the right tools and platforms. Another study indicated that companies offering remote work policies enhanced talent attraction and retention. This also improved their mental health conditions and promoted a healthy work-life balance. Nowadays, employees want the liberty to work from anywhere and manage their hobbies effectively outside of work. Therefore, companies can better retain talent if they promote the option of remote working.
The Future of Remote Working
A study by Fast Company indicated that face-to-face meetings would slowly be replaced by VR conferencing and other remote work tools. In addition, AI will play a crucial part in supervising remote employees. Moreover, 37% of employees would accept a pay cut for remote flexibility. Due to this trend, many employees are refusing onsite opportunities, knowing they can find a better offer that allows flexible working.
Companies should invest more in remote work tech in the long run instead of resisting the trend. For example, if a company is concerned about employee productivity and efficiency, they should work on standard key performance indicators (KPIs) to supervise both management and employees. This way, employees are made aware of the expectations, and companies can also monitor their performance.