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Updated Dec 20, 2023

Productivity Rising Among Employees Who Work From Home

Work-from-home productivity is often higher than in-office rates. We'll show you how to ensure this stays true for your team.

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Written By: Sammi CaramelaBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Writer
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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As the number of Americans working from home increases, so does the amount of work they’re getting done. This wasn’t quite true of work-from-home productivity a decade ago as telecommuting first emerged, but it’s certainly true now. And given the rapid increase in the number of remote teams during the COVID-19 pandemic, modern work-from-home productivity statistics are more meaningful than ever. 

Data on work-from-home productivity in 2023

According to recent research on the state of hybrid work in 2023, 79 percent of managers feel their teams are more productive when working remotely or on a hybrid routine. Additionally, while some might assume it’s easier to connect with colleagues in the office, 46 percent of workers find it easier to build relationships with remote coworkers with only 23 percent finding it harder.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right time and attendance system for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

In terms of concerns regarding remote work, however, the study found these issues give companies the most problems:

  • IT support issues (34 percent) 
  • Maintaining cultural connection, team camaraderie and communication (34 percent)
  • Employee engagement (32 percent)
  • Employee satisfaction (32 percent)

Thankfully, these issues can be addressed and solved with the right training and technology — two of the most important contributors to company success. For instance, hosting video meetings using video conferencing software can improve employee engagement and maintain the cultural connection of your company. 

How work-from-home productivity has changed in 10 years

A 2011 survey from CareerBuilder found that 35 percent of those telecommuting rather than visiting the office worked eight or more hours a day, up nearly 20 percent from four years before that.

Rosemary Haefner, former chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said at the time that the use of smartphones and advanced network technology made access to the office easier than ever, resulting in more companies embracing the work-from-home option and more workers putting in full-time hours from their own homes.

In 2011, telecommuters were split as to whether their time was spent better at home or the office. In CareerBuilder’s 2011 survey, only 29 percent of respondents reported getting more work done from home. However, as mobile devices and digital communications software have improved, remote workers now feel differently. 

While talkative co-workers and the allure of the vending machine can be distractions at the office, those who work from home named household chores as the biggest interruptions in their workday. Television, pets, errands, children and the lure of the internet also made the list.

As the survey revealed that 30 percent of telecommuters were working from home in their pajamas, Haefner advised keeping a normal routine to improve efficiency.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
Remote workers are more productive than ever, with 79 percent of managers finding that their teams work more effectively when remote or hybrid.

How to increase work-from-home productivity

Although working from home feels different from working in a traditional office, it’s clear that remote productivity is feasible, if not inevitable. If high remote productivity still feels out of reach, here are some tips to increase it:

  • Set a schedule and stick to it: Teams that work in person have clear boundaries between work and nonwork hours. This boundary is tougher to identify at home. To restore it, determine the daily hours during which you and your team will work. Encourage focusing on work during these hours while minimizing distractions. You’ll always have time later for nonwork activities.
  • Encourage employee interaction: According to a Front Page survey, approximately 70 percent of remote employees feel disconnected from their teammates. This emotional distance can lead to employees who feel less engaged and motivated and are less productive as a result. Counter this effect by encouraging employee interaction. That can be as simple as creating channels in your workplace communication platform for discussing nonwork interests. It could also mean hosting virtual happy hours every Friday after work, for example.
  • Take breaks: It’s easy to think that breaks detract from your productivity. After all, how can you be productive when you’re not working? However, breaks can increase productivity. That’s because breaks can stimulate your creativity, boost your mental health and help you form good habits. Encourage your team to take breaks ― their productivity depends on it.

Haefner also advised finding a spot to work with minimal distractions, keeping in regular contact with colleagues to help you focus on the job, and scheduling short breaks to take care of chores, play with pets, or run a brief errand if necessary. She said telecommuters will be less likely to stop work early if they structure the perks of being at home appropriately into their schedules.

How employers can track remote employee productivity 

Time and attendance software

If you know how long your remote employees typically spend on certain tasks, you’ll get a sense of everyone’s productivity levels from afar. Your employees can do the same by tracking their own productivity levels. Time and attendance tracking software such as Rippling delivers this information through a user-friendly interface that’s easy to implement. 

Learn more about one of the best time-tracking solutions in our Rippling review or visit our reviews of the best time and attendance software to find the right platform for your team.

Employee monitoring software

Employee monitoring software allows you to monitor how your employees are using your company devices. For instance, if employees are spending company time browsing social media or online shopping, the employee monitoring software can catch these red flags for you. This software can track time, identify misuse of company time/devices, identify violations and control devices.

Software like Teramind [Read our Teramind review], ActivTrak [See our ActivTrak review] and Veriato [Consult our Veriato review] are some of our top choices for the best employee monitoring software on the market.

Project management software

Project management software streamlines communications to help foster a more productive workforce. You can also use the software to map out projects and assignments for your team, so everyone is on the same page with deadlines and progress made. Project management software cultivates a collaborative environment — even for remote teams.

Video conferencing software

Video conferencing software can help you create a sense of routine for your workers. Checking in on employees via team meetings or one-on-one calls is a great way to keep track of your remote workers’ productivity levels. Touch base with each worker weekly so you can address any concerns or issues you or they might have regarding their performance. Additionally, use video meetings to cultivate camaraderie among your team. 

Remote team productivity is attainable

Remote teams can be extremely productive if given the right technology and support. Your remote employees’ performance might even be better than your team’s performance in the office. With less time spent commuting and the ability to work a more convenient and flexible schedule, many remote employees can bring their best performance to work each day. If it ever starts fading, look back at the above tips and statistics — they’ll give you the burst of motivation you need.

Max Freedman and Chad Brooks contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.

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Written By: Sammi CaramelaBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Writer
Sammi Caramela is a trusted business advisor whose work for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others centers around creating digestible but informative guidance on all things small business. Whether she's discussing cash flow management or intellectual property, work trends or employer branding, Caramela provides actionable tips designed for small business owners to take their entrepreneurship to the next level. Caramela, who also lends her expertise to the financial outlet 24/7 Wall St., has business management experience that allows her to provide personal insights on day-to-day operations and the working relationship between managers and independent contractors. Amidst all this, Caramela has found time to publish a young adult novel, develop a poetry collection and contribute short stories to various anthologies.
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