Employee productivity is the lifeblood of any business—without it, a company is destined to fail. And these days, with the remote model holding steady, many employers are wondering what the impact on their business will be. Emerging research sheds further light on some compelling factors concerning workplace vs. remote productivity.
Every worker in any organization shares common habits, concerns, expectations, and inclinations. A recent survey of over 2,400 U.S. professionals revealed five key productivity trends that have manifested since the global shift to a remote work model.
Five Key Factors Driving Workforce Productivity
- A case for the Mondays. Whether at home or in the office, studies confirm employees get the most done on Monday and Tuesday. This aligns with the findings of a similar survey conducted in 2019, before the explosive rise of remote and hybrid work.
- Power hours. Universally, the average employee is most productive during late morning (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and early-to-mid afternoon (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.). Regardless of where they sit, it’s unlikely for anyone to tackle their to-do’s during lunch or the evening hours.
- The meeting quandary. When employees were asked what most stifles workplace productivity, the top responses were unnecessary calls and meetings (35%) followed by conversations with colleagues (25%).
- Home run for work-at-home. While 1-in-5 professionals (21%) said they’re equally productive from either home or the office, 35% reported accomplishing more at home. Those commuting to the office perform best in a private space (43%) versus an open, collaborative one (16%).
- Work contribution > location. Two-thirds of employees (66%) feel their boss cares more about their contributions to the company than when and where they work. Separate research from employment giant Robert Half unveiled that 27% of managers don’t mind if their direct reports put in fewer than 40 hours a week, if the work is getting done.
“Two-thirds of employees (66%) feel their boss cares more about their contributions to the company than when and where they work.”
Cracking the Work-From-Home Code
A recent study by Owl Labs (2021) found that only 36% of workers believe the office is best suited for individual work. This helps define a state of mind for many who work from home. Several key factors are different in a home setting, potentially contributing to the stat above:
- No Commute = Less Stress: Whether a commute is 10 minutes or takes more than an hour, the saved time equates to less stress and greater work productivity. Employees can start their workday more refreshed and with less wear-and-tear than office commuting permits.
Australian mobile workforce company Airtasker reports that, on average, remote workers had 8.5 hours a week of free time by not commuting to work (408 hours annually).
- Less Distractions. There are lots of distractions in the workplace that are reduced (or eliminated) when working from home. According to Inc.com, it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to and focus on the original task following a workplace disruption. When working remotely, these diversions are drastically reduced.
- More Exercise. The lack of commuting and less socializing allows remote workers to have extra time to exercise. Regular exercise does wonders for mental and physical health and is a great stress reliever. Those who work from home report exercising 30 minutes more during the workweek.
- Lone Wolf Productivity. A recent Ask.com study found that 86% of employees prefer to work by themselves when they are trying to be as productive as possible.
Employees now expect flexibility, not only in where they work, but when. To note, nearly 1 in 2 people (48%) said they would start looking for another job that offered more day-to-day flexibility if they couldn’t work remotely.
“Employees now expect flexibility, not only in where they work, but when.”
As a sidebar, men declared they would quit nearly 60% more than women when it came to having to return to the office rather than being part of a hybrid or remote work environment.
The New Normal
The rise of the remote workplace has forced many organizations to reconsider daily operations. Thus, the physical office space takes on a new identity. An office used to be a place where employees would gather daily to do individual work, group work, and socialize. Now it’s a dedicated corner of a home, apartment, a kitchen table, or even a bedroom.
To clarify, there is still a need for physical office spaces. In fact, for employees that regularly attend a physical office, 78% say that they feel more included when there. Today though, the reason people go to the office and how they will use it has changed—so the use of that physical space is changing as well.
Collaboration has always been at the center of work, but with hybrid workforces, the tools and spaces employees use to collaborate are evolving. According to video-meeting company Owl Labs, only 38% of employers have upgraded their video technology to support hybrid collaboration. In truth, if an office space isn’t wired for hybrid collaboration, it’s now an antiquated relic of the last century.
‘…if an office space isn’t wired for hybrid collaboration, it’s now an antiquated relic of the last century.”
Productivity has increased, and the new remote workforce models have emerged as the dominant new standard. Furthermore, it’s clear that seamless connectivity and collaboration is key for those both in and out of the office so that each employee can feel empowered to do their best work, wherever they are located. This isn’t just good for employees, it’s good for business.
About the Author
Vince Dorazio has 20+ years of experience in the recruiting and tech industry. He is currently the Founder & CEO of UpRecruit, a recruiting platform that intelligently matches tech talent to innovative companies. He has a passion for the start-up community and serves as a mentor, advisor, and board member to multiple SaaS companies and non-profits.