Many people have dreamed of working from home for years and avoiding the daily soul-destroying commute. That dream became reality for many people once the nightmare of Covid and the pandemic took hold across the world.
As of 2021, millions of people are now working remotely in some fashion or another. There are day traders who are trading effectively in the stock market from their spare bedrooms, freelancers who are designing logos, and digital nomads hanging out in shared workspaces in Chiang Mai.
Then there are the remote workers whose employers closed the office during lockdowns and have been working from home ever since. There is much debate about how effective remote working is and whether it is more productive.
Is working at home a truly productive way to operate today?
How productive is remote working?
In theory, remote working is one of, if not the, most productive ways to work. If you can work this way then you will already be saving time by not traveling to work. This could be anything from half an hour per day to considerably longer. Millions of Americans travel 90 minutes each way to work and back, which means an entire month is lost every year.
When it comes to distractions, it is debatable whether home working is better or worse. You can avoid impromptu meetings and work gossip by the water fountain, but it is ever so easy to procrastinate while at home, watch the news, or chat with that friend who just popped by.
Depending on which reports you read, you might find that working from home can lift productivity by 5% in post-pandemic times. However, another report may say it is as much as 25% more productive to remote work, and another study goes further by saying over 40%.
How much more productive an employee is at home will depend on certain factors.
What could stop an employee from being more productive?
If you are considering working from home or hiring remote workers then you need to consider the following:
- Discipline and focus
- Dedicated work hours or core hours
- Switching off/break times
- Internet connections
- Proper working environment
These are just a few things that could affect productivity. A remote worker must be focused on the tasks ahead, and disciplined enough to keep to schedules. They will have to find the motivation to keep working when it is easier to join their partner and watch TV.
A productive remote worker needs to not only be available during certain core hours but they have to know when to stop, and take breaks. Some remote workers find it hard to end their working day and this can lead to tiredness and be counter-productive.
The home working environment will also play a big part in productivity and there needs to be a dedicated area for work away from any noise or distractions.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of working from home?
The advantages include the savings on both time and money for employer and employee. The University of Sydney believes that remote workers could save an average of around 90 hours of travel time a year, along with over AUD 3000 in expenses by staying at home.
Working at home can lead to fewer infections such as the common cold and also increase general happiness and well-being. There is a better work/life balance, and meetings can take up less time and be more effective. There are some downsides too.
Employees can feel less visible and appreciated. They can have a worse life/work balance as well as a better one, as they may work longer hours. Some people will feel isolated living and working alone, and others will miss work relationships. Remote workers may also have to be aware of other issues such as tax. They may need to know how to file a tax return if they are remote working, especially if they have spent time working out of state.
How to use remote workers in a more productive way?
One of the most effective ways to use this working method is to combine outsourcing with remote work. For instance, an Australian business that needs to put together a small team could look at an outsourcing recruitment company in the Philippines by clicking here https://www.delonixteams.com/. This would mean they had access to a large pool of talent, the recruitment resources of the company, and then they can use those new recruits for remote working.
The benefits of this would be that the company in Australia would not need any extra office space and would save on local salaries. The new recruits would also have a good working environment and would operate as a team and thus not suffer some of the disadvantages of solitary home workers.
The time difference would also be minimal, but this style of remote working would be tailored to the client and their time zone.
How productive home workers are is debatable, and studies vary wildly in their findings. Productivity would also depend on the worker’s personality and discipline too.
Outsourced remote workers could be a more productive way to approach having staff outside of the main office. This would avoid isolation, motivation problems, and encourage team bonding, which could lead to higher levels of productivity.