Remote worker Technology has madeworking from anywhere in the world easier than ever, and givingyour employees ownership and flexibility has some incrediblebenefits. (Photo: Shutterstock)

|

When people talk about remote work, they often paint a picture of theperfect work scenario, and it's easy to see why. Studies showworking remote can increase productivity, save employers money,and give employees more flexibility. So it's no surprise thatremote work is becoming more popular.

|

In a recent study of 500 remote workers, when askedto rate remote work on a scale of 1 to 5, 74 percent rated theirremote work situation a 4 or higher. The same study also revealedthe majority of remote workers would give up working remote for aslittle as a smaller workload.

|

Related: Blurring of work/life boundaries causes stress inremote workers

|

Those two data points are a bit confusing on their own. It'slike a product averaging 4.5-star reviews whose users would bewilling to return the product. So what piece of the story are wemissing and where are the thorns on this rose? The data reveals thepros and cons of working remotely.

Pro: Employees get a productivity boost

When asked about how remote work impacts their productivity, themajority of remote workers said skipping the daily commute increased their productivity.This is interesting since they also reported the number ofdistractions and interruptions that make them unproductive remainedroughly the same.

|

Since the increase in productivity isn't due to significantlyfewer distractions, it could be due to the fact that remote workersreport working longer hours. Nearly a third of respondents saidthey work more when working remote. Remote workers actually saidthis was the No. 1 challenge they face when working remote. Itappears that boost in productivity comes at a cost.

Pro: Working remotely promotes employee well-being

Since remote workers are putting in more time, you might expectto see a negative impact on their health, relationships, and familylife, especially since 58 percent work from home. This doesn't seemto be the case, however, as the majority of remote workersexperience a positive impact on their family life, social life,mental health, physical health, finances, career, and lifegoals.

|

These positive impacts could be chalked up to the top benefitsremote workers report. These include not having to commute, whichsaves them an average of three hours a week, gives them morecontrol over their schedules, and means they spend less timegetting ready for work.

Con: Remote workers fight perceptions about benefits

The benefits to an employee's well-being while working remotelyare clear, but that doesn't mean there aren't challenges. Accordingto the survey, the second most common challenge remote workersexperience is people thinking they aren't working. This can befrustrating for remote workers, especially since they are likelyputting in extra hours.

|

Remote workers also say people don't always have a realisticview of what it's like to work remotely. More than a third saypeople tend to overestimate the benefits of remote work andunderestimate the challenges.

|

These negative perceptions of remote workers are likely thecause of some stress. This is reflected in the data as 30 percentreport an increase in stress when working remote despite thebenefits to their well-being.

|

The skewed perception of remote workers could also be impactingtheir wallets. Fifteen percent of remote workers say they havenever received a promotion, 9 percent have never received araise, and 1 in 10 says they have been passed up for apromotion.

Con: Daily remote workers feel disconnected from theirteams

Being in the office has an impact on your connection to yourco-workers. When asked about their relationships with theirco-workers, the majority of remote workers reported a positiveexperience. They say they communicate often, have a grasp on whatthey are working on, feel they know their teammates well, don'tfeel disconnected, and don't feel like they are missing out atwork.

|

This changes a bit when looking at those who work remotely everyday. The majority of those who are remote every day say they don'tknow their co-workers very well, feel disconnected from them, anddon't communicate with them often.

How to make remote policies work

Technology has made working from anywhere in the world easierthan ever, and giving your employees ownership and flexibility hassome incredible benefits. But the key to making remote worksuccessful is to go into it with your eyes open.

|

If you are looking into offering remote work or you alreadyoffer it as a benefit, it's important to know what you're upagainst and have a plan. Here are some tips to improve your remotework experience.

|

1. Create guidelines Every remote work policyis different, but employees need to know when it's okay for them towork remote and when they need to be in the office. You might notthink it's a big deal, but vague policies can cause friction anddon't help anyone. Consider thinking through what scenarios youwould and wouldn't allow remote work and communicate them with yourteam.

|

2. Communicate your expectations People havemany different ideas for what remote work looks like, so it'simportant to be on the same page. Setting clear expectations forremote workers is vital to their success. There are some questionsto think through.

|

Are remote workers expected to start work by a certain time? Dothey need to respond to messages and emails within a certain amountof time? Are they expected to attend meetings virtually? Do theyneed to communicate when they are going on breaks or to lunch?

|

3. Encourage a positive view Attitude flowsfrom the top down, and it's no different with remote work. Aninnocent joke about how working from home means watching Netflixand checking email can easily turn into your team having a negativeview of people who work remote.

|

It can also give off the notion that you allow types of behavioremployees could take advantage of. After all, if other people aredoing it, why shouldn't they? Instead, educate employees on thefacts and explain the benefits of working remote.

|

While remote work probably won't solve all of your productivityand well-being issues, it can be a powerful tool for yourbusiness's success if it's used wisely.


Patrick Adcock is a marketing analyst atTSheets by QuickBooks. He's a lover of allthings related to startups and coffee. When he's not writingsurveys and crunching numbers, he can be found running, hiking, orwatching movies with a tub of Red Vines.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.