Happiness, retention and productivity are some of employers’ core struggles when it comes to morale, teamwork and efficiency. Yet a recent study reveals that these can be achieved by offering flexibility through remote working arrangements.
Video conferencing company, Owl Labs, surveyed more than 1,200 workers for its 2019 State of Remote Work report.
Bringing Positive Benefits to Work
Owl Labs found that people who work remotely are happier than their on-site counterparts. In fact, the happiness levels of those who worked remotely full-time were 22% higher than those workers who commuted to an on-site environment.
Various factors influenced the decision to go remote, namely:
- 91% of survey respondents opted for remote work for an improved work-life balance
- 79% stated it was to improve focus
- 78% confirmed it was to create less stress
- 78% of those asked said it was to avoid a commute
It seems our reasons for going remote our pretty similar.
Flexibility = Engagement and Loyalty
If happiness wasn’t enough of a reason to go remote and enable our workforce to do so, Owl Labs identified that companies willing to try remote work and encourage flexibility in the working world were more likely to retain people.
Remote workers were also found to work longer hours. Of those surveyed, they worked on average a total of over 40 hours per week, a staggering 43% more than those on-site workers.
Maximising engagement and promoting company loyalty are often pivotal for a business’s success and smooth efficiency. Without dedication, businesses and their teams can experience significant pressure, stress and dropped revenues.
The increased flexibility that comes with remote working certainly has a positive impact, with 13% more of the remote workers confirming they were likely to stay in their current positions for the next five years than the non-remote workers.
Valuing Contribution Over Time
For employees, contractors, freelancers, it also means increased remuneration. Remote workers were more than twice as likely to earn over $100,000 per year, the report reveals.
Also, for those working in the corporate sphere, the higher they were in their respective jobs, the more likely they were to reap the financial benefits of remote working. Of those asked, 55% of founders and C/level staff were identified as working remotely, while 46% of vice presidents opted for the flexible working arrangement too.
Remote work: Not one size fits all
Remote work describes work that takes place outside of a traditional working environment, such as the company’s headquarters or local branch. Remote workers may work from home, a coffee shop, or anywhere around the world.
Some people may opt to work from their home office, some may have flexible schedules, companies may comprise of hybrid teams (where some work on-site and others work remotely), and others are forged from distributed teams where teams are located throughout the world.
Remote work has, in recent years, become a prevalent and powerful way of working, used to enable people to work happily and productively and to develop much-sought-after teams. However, Owl Labs’ survey revealed that globally, 44% of companies don’t allow any remote work. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, 23% of respondents say they fear working remotely will impact their career progression.
Making It Work
Attracting top talent, maximising productivity and focus, retaining good people through the ebbs and flows of our personal lives (as remote work enables us to get on top of these better), and building a more inclusive workforce can only be a great thing, surely? And is set to become the workforce of the future.
For employers considering remote working to get the best out of their teams — it’s a daunting challenge. It may be consumed by reasons not to, such as losing morale, missed deadlines and team members skiving off.
Although on-site, traditional, office-based work has been the norm and perhaps rooted in a favoured micro-management approach, quite the opposite is true (as relayed by Owl Labs’ study) when you try out remote working.
Yet, there are some success-promoting tips to steer remote working in an easy-to-implement and successful way:
- Communicate: Encourage the best writing and speaking skills to show willingness, enthusiasm and the same levels of professionality and reliability as when you are in the office.
- Successful Digital Environment: Research, choose and implement productivity and security tools, including those that enable connectivity, cybersecurity and workspace management.
- Team-building: Select communication platforms, dedicate time, and promote the importance of team development just as you would if you were in the office.
Working remotely for almost five years, I agree wholeheartedly with the benefits that it brings — increased happiness through a better work-life balance, better productivity and well, less stress, (I’m working on that one!).
I’ve certainly worked way more hours than I ever did employed and on-site. Yet, with taking the four-hour obligatory commute out of the equation, coupled with knowing that the hours I was putting in were my choice and any profit I made was mine to keep, simply surpassed the burden of stressful deadlines and late nights.
Setting better boundaries is a personal skill I need to hone. But ultimately, remote working has given me the best years of my life, best work-life balance and the best way to boost happiness and income, and lower stress.