As of the fall of 2021, 45% of U.S.-based full-time workers were at least partially telecommuting. Nine in 10 say they want to stay remote, according to a Gallup poll. While employers are adapting to these big changes in the workforce, there is some lingering doubt out there about whether these workers are truly productive. We looked at the research and have an answer that may surprise you.
Are Employees More Productive When They Work Remote?
Here’s the Truth About Productivity and Your Remote Workforce
Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom broke major ground on the idea that remote work is productive work. He authored a two-year study several years ago of more than 16,000 employees at a Chinese travel company. Bloom’s study definitively showed that remote workers:
- Work more efficiently.
- Have fewer distractions.
- Take fewer sick days and time off.
- Are less likely to leave.
To top it off, the company saved nearly $2,000 per employee on office rent. The employees also saved money on their commute, while reducing carbon emissions. Employers benefit from the reduced commute, too. The study found that remote workers spend an average of 35% of their saved commuting time on their jobs. A prior study from 2018 analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data and found that “Teleworkers who spend less tie commuting may be happier and less tired, and therefore more productive.”
Now, fast forward to today, when the U.S. COVID pandemic forced many workers into their homes for the very first time. Bloom teamed up with researchers from MIT, ITAM, and the University of Chicago to follow these workers and found, if anything, our productivity is only increasing the longer we stay home. He points out in a Vox article, “When we flipped to working from home back in March 2020, we were completely unprepared. We didn’t have management systems, meeting structures, workflows, equipment.”
Today, these systems have largely resolved themselves and researchers are seeing that remote workers are roughly 9% more productive than their in-office peers. According to the new research, six of 10 employees say they are more productive when working from home than they expected to be. Researchers calculate that employers will reap these benefits; they’re predicting these telecommuters will increase overall U.S. workforce productivity rates by 5% over pre-pandemic levels.
Employers can take these numbers to the bank, and indeed, it seems that most employers are more accommodating now about working from home at least some of the time now. The latest data shows that remote work options are even predicted to expand next year.
How to Make Your Remote Employees Productive? Use an EOR
If you haven’t shifted your workforce to a remote or hybrid model, now is the time to reap the benefits. But what’s holding you back? It could be you’re worried about having the right systems in place to monitor your teams. FoxHire offers employers our intelligent employer of record (EOR) software that takes the worry out of hiring. Contact us to find out how we can help you improve the productivity of your teams.