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Study: remote workers more productive than office staff

Many small businesses still have reservations about employing remote workers, but a new study may have some reconsidering as they build their teams.

work at home productivity

Surprising survey results

The general thought surrounding people who work at home is that while they say they’re working, they’re really just playing Angry Birds. To an extent, that’s understandable, after all, if you get the privilege to work at home, why strain yourself to crank out assignments when no one’s watching?

But in an investment firm comparison of who is more engaged, people who work in the office or people who work remotely, the results showed that team members who worked remotely were more involved and committed. How did that happen?

Scott Edinger of Edinger Consulting Group says the fact that remote workers are showing higher engagement levels than their in-office counterparts makes perfect sense. When employees are in close proximity to their boss and co-workers, they grow complacent. They get used to sending emails instead of walking down the hall, or even worse, swiveling around, to have a face-to-face conversation.  

This passive form of communicating happens because people who work together are used to talking all the time and don’t see a need to emphasize face to face meetings over firing off an email. They also don’t communicate as frequently because they assume that since they’re in the same building as a boss or coworker, they can have a discussion another time.

Remote workers’ efficiency

Conversely, when an employee is working remotely, they try harder to make a connection. In order for them to stay up-to-date on various projects and initiatives, remote workers make increased efforts to communicate as often as possible compared to someone in the office. Even if it’s taking the time for a quick debrief after a meeting, these updates keep remote workesr tethered to the happenings in the office.

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Remote workers are also more efficient with their team members’ time. It’s difficult to find meeting time slots that work for everyone’s schedule, so when a boss sets up a meeting that includes remote workers, they work hard to get rid of any distractions and unnecessary conversation in order to focus on the work the team needs to complete. They will spend more time organizing and ensuring these meetings run smoothly because they know they have a limited number of chances to have fruitful, collaborative work sessions with the entire team.

The takeaway

While you would assume being in the office is the only way to ensure your employees aren’t goofing off, remote workers may be more engaged than the employees sitting just a few feet away from you. These workers are more likely to keep in touch in order to stay updated, and make sure they are providing as much value as possible while away from the office.

Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.



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