It was another typical Monday. The air was crisp and everyone was dressed in immaculate formal attires as they pressed and punched on the keypads. While some had water bottles, others had steaming coffee cups beside their desktop.
All of a sudden, my colleague, the one seated directly in front of me blurted out "I really wish I can get a job where I can work from home:. And that was how the conversation kick started. Apparently, more than half of the staff in the company wish they can work from home.
Remote work is work done outside the traditional working environment. It involves a flexible arrangement between the employer and employee wherein the employer can do work from home or any other location without being supervised within the confines of the company’s office.
This latest trend has changed the dynamics of the corporate world lately. Especially due to its steep rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coupled with the rapid evolution of technology, remote work has not only become easier, it has come to stay.
Remote work has profound effects on the company and employer but for the sake of this article, our focus will be on employee productivity, what are the effects of Remote work on employee's productivity? We will begin with the positive effects.
Greater Flexibility and Efficiency
Remote work gives the employer the liberty to design their work space how they want. They can also afford to work at their ‘ideal’ time. Some people work best in the mornings, while others in the evenings. Some need good music playing in the background, others prefer silence.
Whichever the case, the employer has a certain level of freedom to adopt a work environment that will boost their productivity, provided it doesn’t make them miss deadlines or infringe on other colleague's work.
The stress of work as seen in a corporate setting is reduced. Contact with cold, dust and/or people with flu is almost eliminated. They also get to see their doctors easily and can eat healthier. This enables them to maintain good health. They also don't necessarily have to seek permission to attend to personal issues. This alone affords the maximum control over their general health and wellbeing.
Better Work-life balance
Most employees will be grateful for the chance to spend more time with their loved ones. Remote work provides the enabling environment for employees to still be able to go on vacations and spend quality time with their loved ones or doing the things they love while working simultaneously. The key is in setting boundaries and avoiding distractions. Happy employers, they say, are productive employers.
Inspires Leadership and Responsibility
Because remote work is carried out under little or no supervision, it requires a great deal of self-motivation. This autonomy will instill on the employer good leadership skills as they are responsible for their decisions and results. The employee will then identify their areas of weakness better and address them as their actions or inactions will directly or indirectly affect the quality of their work.
Due to less commuting time, traffic, less office gossip and politics, less stalling at lunch breaks, etc. Most employees working remotely will have more time on their hands which they can now channel into more productive ventures. Also, less time is spent scheduling physical meetings and/or training.
It leads to reduced transportation costs, lunch and snacks, birthday cakes, office parties, work clothes, etc. And this works both ways for the company. As they can now channel the cost of catering to office celebrations and shenanigans into more productive areas.
Some of the Negative Effects can be:
Distractions from loved ones, pets, TV etc. can get in the way. This can only be prevented if the employer exhibits good discipline and focus. To curb this, the employer needs to imbibe self-discipline and motivation skills to enable them stay focused despite being in the comfort of their homes.
Reduced Accessibility to Colleagues and Work stations
Remote work reduces the employer's access to colleagues and help. If for example, a technological glitch arises, it may take a longer time to resolve it compared to a traditional work environment, where help is easily accessible.
Having said that, remote work is here to stay. Its positive effects on employee productivity outweighs the negative consequences. It has also proven to have the potential to increase employee productivity. If you or your organization can afford remote work, then why not give it a try? It just may be the way forward.
Businesses however, should assess their current culture, size and goals to ascertain their readiness for remote work. As there are several measures that need to be put in place to ensure seamless facilitation of remote work.