Can Employees That Work From Home Perform As Highly As Those Working In The Office?

When an employee works from home, some managers instantly get worried that the individual is goofing off, not concentrating, or is not as accessible as if he or she were down the hall.

Recent facts, however, prove that remote workers are often more productive, concentrate better, and exceed at work-life integration more so than their in-office counterparts.

ConnectSolutions, a private-cloud solutions provider, conducted a remote-worker survey, which showed of those working from home, 77% report greater productivity while working off site with 30% accomplishing more in less time and 24% accomplishing more in the same amount of time. 23% are even willing to work longer hours than they normally would on site to accomplish more.1

But, how can employees that work from home perform as highly as those working in the office?

While the results might seem counter-intuitive, Harvard Business Review found that remote workers are often more engaged with colleagues and supervisors than in-office workers.2

But working remotely isn’t right for every employee. The key is to find out how each employee will perform their best.

Workers that prefer autonomy, creating their own schedule, and meeting goals and deadlines on their own terms would be among those to likely perform highly in a remote or at-home office environment. Setting clear expectations is key for ensuring a remote employee successfully works outside of the office within the understood parameters required by their managers.

Some of the expectations might include: When are they expected to be in the office, if at all? During what hours must they be accessible and how? What tools are they required to use for communicating, such as video calls?

On the contrary, despite clear expectations, remote working doesn’t work for everybody.

Some employees need the structure of an office and a fairly set schedule in order to perform their best. For these types of individuals, the latitude and exponential freedom that working from home brings ends up generating unnecessary stress. These employees thrive on reliability and rhythms, and are motivated by such.

It’s not as much about an employee being in the office or working remotely as it is about allowing each person’s work environment to align to where they’d be most motivated and productive.

Communication is key to performance, no matter where each member of your team works.

All too often, supervisors rely on a one-size-fits all communication. There is something to learn from managers that have experience managing remote teams.

As reported by Harvard Business Review, leaders of far-flung teams maximize the time their teams spend together. When they have to make an effort to speak, they naturally want to optimize that time. They tend to prepare for the conversation, make an effort to remove all possible distractions, and focus the conversation on what needs to get done.2

“This level of focused attention is hard to replicate day to day,” Scott Edinger writes for Harvard Business Review. “I’ve heard from some employees who work near their bosses on teams whose other members work elsewhere that the most time they spend with their leader is when the others come in for such meetings.”

For workplaces where the entire staff is in the office, some managers “…go for weeks without having any substantive face-time with [their team],” Edinger continues. “In fact they may use e-mail as their primary source of communication when they sit less than 50 feet away.”2

Understanding what motivates your team members and how best to communicate will lead to increased engagement, and optimized performance for each individual worker – no matter their physical location.

Sources:
1. ConnectSolutions Survey, February 2015, http://connectsolutions.com/press-release/connectsolutions-survey-shows-working-remotely-benefits-employers-and-employees
2. Harvard Business Review, August 2012, https://hbr.org/2012/08/are-you-taking-your-people-for