6 Surprising Things To Know About Remote Workers

Remote Work

March 26, 2020

Kudos

X min

5 min

Sure, remote work was mandatory for most of us in COVID-19 quarantine, but did you know that many people prefer working remotely? People working away from the office are often more productive – even happier.

6 Surprising Things To Know About Remote Workers
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This blog was originally published in 2019, but we’re bringing it back. We think it’s a valuable and positive resource for businesses navigating the post-pandemic landscape.

Sure, remote work was mandatory for most of us in COVID-19 quarantine, but did you know that many people prefer working remotely? People working away from the office are often more productive – even happier.

So much so, that the number of remote workers has grown 115% since 2005. Today, more than 3.2% of the global workforce, or 4.3 million employees, work remotely.

That’s a mighty big leap for a working style once relegated to freelancers and those mysterious people in coffee shops hunched protectively over their laptops. It turns out they weren’t just writing the next greatAmerican novel - they were working remotely.

Studies show that remote work is now the norm. 43% of employees work remotely, and 51% are willing to move into roles that accommodate a more remote work-life balance.

What is remote work, exactly? Simply put, it's a working style that allows employees and teams to operate outside of traditional workplace settings, with an emphasis on working from any destination.

Whether part or full time, remote workers can finish their tasks without having to be in a set place with their coworkers. More employees are pushing for remote work opportunities, making it a key driver of recruitment and retention for many organizations.

According to Regus, increased productivity and improved work-life balance account for nearly 70% of employees’ reasons for wanting remote work opportunities.

Remote work may not suit everyone, but it is in demand.

There are six considerations to keep in mind before providing remote work opportunities.

1. Remote work opportunities are no longer ‘nice to have,’ they’re a ‘must-have’

Organizations can no longer ignore the modern workforce’s demands for remote work opportunities.

51% of employees would willingly change jobs or companies for those that offer more flexibility. Companies have little choice but to adapt to this reality.

Millennials are perhaps the greatest supporters of remote work.For example, studies find that 69% of millennials would trade other work benefits for more flexible work options.

"Millennials are perhaps the greatest supporters of remote work. For example, studies find that 69% of millennials would trade other work benefits for more flexible work options."

It’s not just existing employees that want flexible work styles, either. More people are searching for remote roles. On job search engines like Indeed, searches for remote roles have increased by 19% since 2017. These are search results from Canada alone.

Flexible work styles are primary considerations for millennials pursuing a career opportunity. 75% of millennials want remote work options – at least part of the time.

In a survey conducted by Buffer, an overwhelming 99% of respondents said they would like remote-work opportunities at least some of the time for the rest of their careers.

2. Employees aren’t the only groups who benefit from remote work

Surprisingly, remote work is beneficial for more than just employees and remote teams.

44% of companies don’t allow any form of remote work, but those that do often experience significant increases in productivity and retention.

Surveys show that companies that allow some form of remote work experience 25% less turnover. Agile workers, like remote employees, are 36% better equipped to meet changing customer demands; provide organizations with 34% more access to a broader range of skills and specialized talent; and offer 36% more general skills and expertise to organizations.

Increased productivity is also an incentive for organizations to offer remote work opportunities. OwlLabs finds that fully remote workers are twice as likely to be individual contributors to their organization than their managers. A similar study by Stanford University points to the benefits of remote work: improved job satisfaction, higher productivity, and an increased sense of autonomy.

3. Remote teams are engaged - sometimes, even more than their office counterparts

It may be hard to believe that remote workers are just as, if not more, engaged than their office-bound counterparts.

Regardless, research shows that remote employees are not only engaged and connected, but sometimes even more productive.

Gallup studies show that around 35% of remote workers are more engaged at least 20% of the time. In addition, 60% of an employee’s time spent working offsite results in higher engagement rates. Compared to working in-office, 58% of employees feel more motivated working remotely.

Those with the opportunity to work remotely at least a few times each month are also 24% more likely to feel happy and productive in their roles, compared to those without remote opportunities.

Remote opportunities may also encourage higher quality work. Gallup reports that employees who work remotely are 31% more likely to strongly agree they get to do what they do best – every day.

4. Remote workers are productive

Employees feel more productive working remotely, and leaders see this reflected in their performance.

In a 2018 study of Canadian remote workers, Indeed found that 90% felt they were more productive when working remotely. In that same study, 65% of Canadian employers agreed that their employees were more productive working remotely.

"Surveys show that companies that allow some form of remote work experience 25% less turnover."

Other studies of Canadian remote employees support these promising productivity statistics. As of 2017, approximately 47% of Canadians work remotely. 54% report they work remotely to improve productivity.

From a global perspective, organizations can expect similar results and benefits regarding remote productivity. Udemy finds that 40% of employees report that flexible or remote work options help limit work-related distractions, and 52% find remote work allows for more productivity.

Though better work-life balance remains a critical factor in favour of remote work options, the number one reason is productivity and focus.

5. Remote work is the way of the future

Remote work is on the rise. It’s evolving from a trend to a mainstream practice for a range of companies.

Many organizations are adopting remote working styles to provide the freedom their employees need to accomplish their tasks.

Randstad predicts that by 2025, approximately 32% of company work models will include remote work. Studies like those conducted by Upwork predict that by 2028, 73% of all working teams will be remote.

Remote work is an advantage to many organizations, not just startups and mid-sized businesses. Global Workplace Analytics finds that employees of Fortune 1000 companies are working remotely 50-60% of the time.

That’s a significant amount of time spent out of the office.

It’s not just millennials that seek out more remote or flexible work options. Remote workers also include 'Baby Boomers,' meaning employees over the age of fifty. Both younger and older generations in the workforce are demanding more remote opportunities from their organizations. Those same organizations are employing millennial teams to recruit and plan functional remote environments.

Upwork finds that as hiring managers grow increasingly more millennial, 69% of these young managers are more likely to allow their teams to work remotely. Those same millennial managers are 28% more likely to utilize remote employees than leadership from the BabyBoomer generation.

This may not come as a surprise to those with their finger on the pulse of workplace trends and planning. The World Economic Forum frequently reports on remote work as one of the biggest drivers of transformation in business operations.

"Randstad predicts that by 2025, approximately 32% of company work models will include remote work."

Given the evidence, more managers and leaders are focusing on retention and the future of their workforces. In particular, 52% of young managers rank future workforce planning as a top priority, especially planning for remote and flex teams.

By proactively designing workplace operations with remote work in mind, leaders prioritize the engagement and productivity of their teams. Engagement is critical for remote teams. Overall, 60% of employees feel that managers and leaders are responsible for implementing engagement strategies.

6. Remote workers might just be happier, both in their roles and in general

Aside from the obvious benefits of remote work, such as agile teams and increased productivity, research showcases how job satisfaction, well-being, and overall work ethic improve in remote positions.

A National Institute of Health study reveals remote workers are feeling less stressed and more satisfied with their jobs. This means remote workers are less likely to quit – good news for organizations hoping to improve their retention.

Similarly, studies from PGi indicate 82% of remote workers feel less stressed by work-related tasks and responsibilities. This particular statistic is notable, given work-related burnout is one of the more significant drivers of turnover.

Deloitte’s research finds that 84%of millennials experience frequent burnout while at work, and half of millennial employees leave jobs due to burnout.

Yet, 70% of employees report feeling healthier working remotely. Remote work may be the answer to many organizations’ ‘prayers’ for retaining top performing, but burnt-out employees.

There’s also something to be said for the connection between healthier and happier remote teams, and their relationship to a company. For example, 87% of remote workers feel more connected to their organization, and are 27% more likely to agree they have the necessary materials and equipment compared to office-bound employees.

"A study from Harvard shows 87% of remote workers actually felt more connected."

With collaborative tools, remote teams remain connected with their leaders and colleagues – anywhere, anytime. Regus notes that 86% of remote workers use instant-messaging tools like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Slack; 50% of employees use platforms like Google Drive; and 60% use video tools like Skype.

Not every organization or employee will find remote work compatible with their needs or working styles. Remote work is not one-size-fits-all. Though companies would be hard-pressed to find an employee who isn’t even slightly curious about the opportunity.

By considering how your teams work, and how a remote style could impact their productivity, leaders can make more informed decisions about implementing more flexible options.

About Kudos

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

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