Are you looking for ways to maximize the productivity of your workforce? Are some of them insisting on work-from-home flexibility options?
Remote working is an up and coming trend in the workspace and has been gaining a lot of buzzes, especially with the advent of more technologies to support and enhance this dynamic and flexible lifestyle.
There’s a reason why remote teams and lifestyles are gaining traction and being referred to as the ‘future of work’.
You might be wondering where the magic is at.
In this article, I’ll cover the differences between remote and in-office work lifestyles and the tools, why you should think of embracing the shift to going remote and the tools you can leverage to enhance employee productivity.
So let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Remote vs in-office working
- Tools to boost employee productivity
- Remote or not, stay productive
Creating an accommodative work environment is a priority for all businesses. Finding that balance between fostering an area of productivity while maintaining high morale can be a challenge.
This is where the debate of remote working versus renting out an in-office space comes in.
Should you promote a freer, more laissez-faire lifestyle through work-from-home options or bring your employees together in a shared office environment?
Balancing the quality of the work done with employee needs and your business goals is a delicate scale.
While tech has boosted the remote working lifestyle, some companies still find that the traditional work environment is more suited to their goals. Each lifestyle has its own share of pros and cons.
However, you can combine the benefits of both and tweak the models to suit your employees’ best.
Why is remote working gaining popularity?
There are some very obvious perks to employees for remote working.
Imagine all the time and money saved on a daily commute. Remote workers in the U.S. are estimated to save nearly $4,523 on fuel per year.
But it’s not just about the money. The time saved here can be re-invested in focusing on one’s physical health through fitness.
With fewer distractions, cost savings and increased flexibility to call the shots and manage one’s own time, remote working has risen to popularity among the current workforce.
Employers, also, are starting to see the benefits.
Studies have shown that remote workers show more productive traits than their office-going counterparts. Remote employees work 1.4 more days per month, adding up to more than 3 additional weeks’ worth of work.
There seems to be a lot of mystery surrounding why remote workers showcase more efficiency and results than in-office employees.
It really comes down to one basic trait that can make or break success: discipline.
There is a myth surrounding remote workers that they are more susceptible to slacking off, take breaks and procrastinate. The idea of ‘work from home’ scenarios is often synonymous with an opportunity to laze around in the eyes of the boss but this is not always the case.
Taking breaks and giving your brain a breather is actually considered one of the most effective ways to stay productive. Remote workers also tend to stick to an established schedule, similar to the concept of office hours.
Remote working can also help save costs for businesses by avoiding payment of rental fees for office spaces. This makes it an effective business development option for companies that want to scale fast while keeping costs down.
Recent studies have also shown that there is a 16% increase in the number of workers who say the office space reduces their ability to concentrate.
The increasingly global nature of work and the large proportion of millennials who prefer tech-driven lifestyles is making the traditional office-based setting outdated.
Companies should consider embracing this change and incorporating aspects of remote working into their HR plans in order to stay up to date with the trends.
The downsides to remote working
No matter the autonomy, increase in productivity and other perks that remote working provides, there are also cons to keep in mind.
Depending on the individuals concerned and their personalities, some might thrive and perform better in an office environment as opposed to their home which they associate to rest and relaxation.
Having physical and face-to-face interactions with colleagues and managers can be the boost they need to get their work done. In fact, loneliness and the lack of regular social interaction with one’s peers is a common struggle in remote working.
As stated before, remote workers also tend to pitch in more work hours than traditional office employees. This boosts productivity but comes at the price of being unable to ‘unplug’ from one’s work commitments.
Establishing a work-life balance for remote workers is just as challenging. This is where the importance of discipline comes in.
The case for in-office lifestyles
You’re probably up-to-speed with the case against the traditional office workspace.
Your employees tend to think twice when it comes to the commute. Some feel restricted in this work style, feeling controlled in a physical space and offered less liberties over their work.
However, this isn’t the case for everyone.
With the rise of remote working, you might be surprised to hear that a fair share of employees still prefer coming into work at the traditional office space.
The allure of cubicles, conference rooms and the in-office hotspots like the water cooler have not died away.
Professor Richard Arvey, head of the Department of Management and Organisation at National University of Singapore Business School, says, “Being physically in the same place serves a primitive human need”.
The major disadvantage of a lack of social and face-to-face interaction in remote working is eliminated in this lifestyle.
Think of all the communication barriers you break down through physically interacting with your employees. The chances for misunderstandings are far less in this style of work, boosting productivity by not allowing errors to happen in the first place.
Furthermore, employers benefit from regaining greater control over their workforce. You can interact with them in person, gauge their morale and address conflicts more directly.
The friendly competition between employees is also better observed in a traditional office space, encouraging an environment of shared success and greater team spirit.
On-site employees also foster a greater sense of purpose and identity within the organization. This can lead to a feeling of ‘citizenship’ and loyalty to the business, avoiding the alienation a remote worker might feel.
What works best?
Essentially, choosing between the traditional office setting and remote working is dependent on the trade-offs an employee and the employer is ready to make.
Remote working is on the rise in the current market due to the convenience and flexibility it offers but this can change as trends evolve.
Meanwhile, the perks of the traditional office lifestyle have survived all this while and continue to be practical in their own way.
The optimal approach is to consider a combination of both and the suitable weightage of each model that you can apply to best achieve your business goals.
Remote vs in-office productivity: Tech can help
Whether you are an employer looking to integrate your traditional office ethics with remote working or an individual part of a fully remote business model, technology tools can help to boost your productivity.
1. Leverage time trackers to help employees manage time
One of the challenges you might face is keeping track of time and how efficiently you’re spending it.
You might be engaged with multiple projects spanning across different timelines with varying priorities. This is where a time tracking software can come in handy.
Time Doctor, as the name suggests, is a time tracking software and productivity app that can help you monitor what each of your employees, remote-based and otherwise, are doing.
Imagine this: a project involving a remote team based around the world. Some might be working directly from their office’s location, others travelling as they deliver on the project from remote areas.
Time Doctor can help foster trust between the workers, avoid the stress of timesheet reporting for each one and give an accurate report of every worker’s level of productivity. In a nutshell, Time Doctor automates routine human resource management,(e.g attendance monitoring, time tracking, productivity improvement, employee monitoring, leave and time-off tracking, payroll calculation and so on), giving you enough time to focus on critical tasks.
2. Create video repositories to support your staff
Having a hard time training your employees or breaking down a process to them while they work remotely?
Loom videos provide the opportunity for users to record videos capturing their screen and themselves through their webcams (if necessary) to demonstrate whatever is required.
It can be used for multiple purposes (think: demos, training or answering a question). All you’ll need is to host these videos on a secure and private server only accessible to your team. The main goal is to create a solid repository to support your team.
Plus, the availability of this tech also reduces the chance of misunderstandings.
3. Use team communication tools
When you think of social interaction in the workspace, you think of having a well-rounded conversation with your colleagues.
Being part of a remote team with all your teammates based in different locations can be a challenge but video conferencing tools like Chanty can help you stay connected to everyone.
Chanty is a software that can power your team’s collaboration and communication needs by keeping your correspondences and documents in one platform.
Providing features such as sharing screens and files, connecting your apps and even staying on the same page through text, voice and video messages, Chanty is an all-inclusive platform.
For more information on leveraging video, I recommend checking out Life Size’s guide to video conferencing.
The interpersonal relationships required between employees to keep their morale high can be addressed through this app.
4. Integrate project management tools
According to PMI, 37% of projects fail due to lack of defined project objectives and milestones—and in another survey, over 80% of organizations report that they spend at least half their time on rework.
These statistics point out to one fact: Planning ahead is important.
For this reason, project management is one of the most essential components to stay on top of for remote and office-based teams alike.
monday.com is a simple but powerful project management tool that can help manage and keep track of deadlines, allocate responsibilities and foster transparency between all the employees involved.
You can customize your workflow depending on your team and project needs and use visual tools to create dashboards and provide the bigger picture. Monday helps ensure a smooth workflow and also provides output reports to track your progress.
In an increasingly dynamic and fast-paced business environment, it’s important that everyone keeps sight of the business goals and is up-to-date with project progress.
For help with project management tech, I recommend checking out Pro Prof’s guide to choosing the best PM tools.
Bous: Collect employee feedback
Now, there are several strategies you can implement, but at the end of the day, your employees will decide whether it works or not.
For this reason, it’s important to (proactively) collect employee feedback to understand what’s working and what’s not.
Here are a few ways to go about this process:
- Create simple but smart questionnaires that get the right answers from your employees.
- Make sure your questionnaires
Remote or not, stay productive
Whether you choose to go fully remote with your work life or take a balanced approach, there’s no denying the growth of remote work in the industry.
What most employees now consider an employer benefit when offered the chance to work remotely will soon become the norm. However, for the time being, there are some undeniably positive results of this flexible lifestyle that everyone can benefit from.
Using the right combination of tools and work ethics can boost employee productivity considerably.
If employers stay on top of their employees’ needs and address their pain points, whether remote or not, employee morale will remain high and in turn, bring about positive results.
Technology is one of the best tools that companies can rely on to accomplish this.
They can use tech to make the best of employee productivity while retaining the best practices that traditional settings have to offer: the human touch.
What are your favorite tools to stay productive? Do you prefer working remotely to an office setting? Let us know in the comments.
Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam works at Time Doctor. When she isn’t catering for her three hyperactive kids, she can be found blogging at www.creativewritingnews.com , where she helps writers figure out how to make money from their craft. She is also passionate about social justice issues. Her twitter handle is @cwritingnews.