Is Remote Work More Valuable Than We Thought?
At this point, we’ve all become acquainted with the nuances of remote work environments. We’re working from home, relying on virtual desktops, collaborative tools like Teams, and filesharing tools like OneDrive and Sharepoint. The “how” of things is fairly well understood by now, but that is leaving people with a different set of questions. Employers are fearing that their employees aren’t actually doing the work they say they are; the lack of accountability or monitoring tools makes it hard to confirm that the reported hours worked are accurate. Ironically, many HR departments are growing concerned that employees are working more hours than they’re being asked to—often in response to the employer’s probable fears and the lack of distinction between home and workplace. The forced rapid transition to remote work environments due to Covid-19 is what caused these concerns and potential issues—it didn’t give companies enough time to set up all the right infrastructure and support, or get acclimated to what they had. But it’s been a few months, so what does the data show for remote work? Is it the temporary fix for a pandemic, or is it worth investing in for the long term?
The data we’re seeing from multiple sources would suggest that remote work actually increases productivity. A 2019 survey by Airtasker polled 1,004 full-time employees around the United States; the 505 that worked from home reported increased productivity—roughly 16.8 more days of work every year than their office-working counterparts. When asked, 39% of remote workers reported finding ways to avoid time, which sounds like a lot—until you see that 56% of office employees did the same. This year (2020) Forbes reports that there is a 47% increase in productivity with remote workers. Harvard Business Review also reports significant benefits for companies with remote employees; 13.5% more calls fielded, they quit half as often as office employees did, saved their companies thousands of dollars on furniture and space, and more. The data is in, and the conclusion seems clear: remote work environments are net benefits to both companies and employees.
So, with that conclusion reached and the knowledge obtained, what can we do about it? Well, if we know that remote work environments provide excellent value to most businesses, then we should be looking at ways to improve that environment, right? This is where Zephyr Networks is happy to step in and offer our services and expertise. There are a variety of ways you can improve your current remote work environment, but they can be largely boiled down into two overarching topics: policy and tools. When it comes to policy, how your company manages expectations and objectives will be somewhat unique to you, but remote work naturally requires clear expectations and forms of accountability. This leads us naturally to tools, and this is where Zephyr Networks can best lend its assistance. We can work with you to implement the best collaborative and communication tools available, and help you rework your existing IT infrastructure to better suit remote working environments. This could be anything from implementing a robust collaborative platform like Microsoft Teams (which features video conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing, and more) to establishing stronger cybersecurity guidelines or data storage solutions. Remote work environments, as we know by now, have unique IT needs and problems—but if these environments are already displaying positive results and value in the rapidly-assembled manner they’re in, imagine how effective and valuable they will be with all of the right tools at their disposal!
We hope this article was interesting and insightful to you, and we hope it made you look more closely at your remote work environments. The potential of this new (and now proven!) way of work is worth exploring and supporting; Zephyr is standing ready to support you if you want to do so. Give us a call!