It may paint a pretty picture, but working from home is not as easy as it seems from a distance, even with high-paying telecommuting jobs on the rise.
Remote workers face multiple challenges on a regular basis, which include but are not limited to isolation, constant interruptions, unannounced guest, technical glitches and time zone differences. It’s obvious that all these issues leave them frustrated and under performing.
However, a few studies contradict this common belief. One of the most remarkable studies done to measure telecommuters’ performance was conducted by Stanford University.
Led by Professor Nicholas Bloom, a team of scholars performed a Work From Home (WFH) experiment in 2012-2013 at CTrip, a NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel agency. The 9-month long study showed a “13 percent increase in the remote workers’ productivity with more time per shift or fewer sick leaves and breaks.”
Another study dating back to 2014 by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign summarized the benefits of telecommuting by stating “working remotely is associated with improvement in two main employee measures – task-based performance and organizational citizenship behavior, including one’s contributions toward creating a positive, cooperative and friendly work environment.”
In 2017, a study by Gallup showed that “telecommuters were more likely to feel engaged than regular office goers (41 percent against 30 percent).”
So, what exactly contributes to the increased productivity of telecommuters? Let’s find out with the help of the following pointers:
Flexibility Allows Them to Work at Their Productive Best
Some telecommuters are night owls while the others are larks. They use flexible working hours and work (or work more) when they are at their productive best, therefore adding to their overall efficiency. This takes us to the next point.
They Tend to Work More Post Business Hours
Owing to the flexible working hours, employees who work remotely, tend to log in extra hours per week and work post the business hours. Even when they have other, unforeseen commitments, they can easily balance them along with their assignments and get everything done within 24 hours. Their office-going counterparts rarely get this luxury.
They Have a Dedicated Distraction-Free Work Space
Employees in the office often struggle to get their work done when their floor is exceptionally noisy. Not all of them have cabin spaces from where they can focus on their work, have to deal with loud co-workers, listen reluctantly to several calls being answered, lose focus frequently with people moving from one bay to another and so on and so forth.
Luckily, telecommuters don’t face this problem as most of them have a dedicated workspace from where they do their work, avoiding unnecessary workplace banter or other interruptions. Their “happy space” to work from may be in the comforts of their home or a cafeteria/library, which they frequent. Multiple rounds of coffee, a noise-free environment and a cozy desk keeps them going!
There is Less Downtime and Sick Days
One of the mainstays of remote working is that the employees don’t need to commute long distances, which can take a toll on their health. By staying at home, they keep stress at bay and get ample rest, giving a much-needed boost to their health.
Also, they find extra time to do some stretching or light exercise, or just take a quick stroll in the garden before heading back to work. If they end up losing a few minutes of work, they can always make up for it by working extra hours.
Ergo, they get the golden opportunity to strike a balance between a healthy physique and psyche, which translates to less downtime or sick days and increased productivity.
They Are Happier Overall
TINYpulse surveyed 509 U.S. employees who work remotely at all times and compared them with benchmarks calculated from responses from over 200,000 employees across all work arrangements. It found that telecommuters are happier at work as they like being autonomous and feel valued. Here’s an infographic to put everything in perspective.
Thanks to Brian Zeng (@brianzengdotme) for this interesting insight into remote working.