Tech developments paved the way for many employees and business owners to work from home for years, and the pandemic prompted a sharp increase in remote work. Working at home is now the norm for many Americans, but is this working arrangement productive?
Research from Ergotron says yes. Researchers polled 1,000 remote and hybrid employees in the U.S. about their productivity, wellness and other life facets. They found that working from home improves work-life balance, increases productivity and fosters healthier lifestyles. It’s a win-win situation that workers relish for its flexibility.
We’ll look at how working from home boosts productivity and how to stay efficient while managing working relationships remotely.
With all the modern comforts of home beckoning our attention, it would be understandable if employers saw a productivity dip in remote workers. However, the opposite is true. In fact, remote workers appear to be working longer hours while enjoying a healthier work-life balance and reduced stress.
While remote employees report decreased stress levels, workplace stress, pressure and anxiety haven’t dissipated entirely. As remote employees work longer days, balancing their work and life responsibilities is crucial to their mental health and the business’s success.
Here are some tips to help employees combat stress while maintaining their productivity.
Remote workers often take fewer breaks than their in-office colleagues, but taking breaks is one of the most effective ways for remote employees to stay productive.
Encourage your workers to get up periodically during the workday, especially when they’re particularly drained or distracted. They can grab a healthy snack, take a walk, call a friend, meditate, etc.
Many people find success using the Pomodoro Technique, which follows this method:
This technique can help your employees decompress and come back more focused.
Another technique to help employees stay productive at home is designating set work hours. Encourage employees to maintain the same schedule they did when they worked in the office. Following a routine will help your workers feel more structured and efficient, and it will help keep their attention focused.
According to the Nitro report, many employees found that some tasks became slightly more challenging after transitioning to remote work. That was true even of simple tasks such as signing and editing PDF documents.
Ensure your remote team has the proper tools to do their jobs away from the office. For example, host short training sessions on specific software applications, implement remote business collaboration apps and install remote working tools that foster communication.
Tip: The best remote PC access software can help remote employees get assistance from in-office IT team members and resolve tech issues quickly.
To-do lists can help increase productivity among remote employees. Encourage employees to use small business organization apps to note what they wish to accomplish daily so they’re not jumping from assignment to assignment.
When you and your team work remotely, communication is critical. Set daily or weekly meetings to discuss and prioritize projects and set deadlines so you can stay on track.
Distracted workers cost businesses time and money. While the Nitro report suggests that remote employees have more control over their workdays than in-office employees, distractions can still arise at home.
Text messages, phone calls and social media are all distractions at-home employees may face. Encourage remote workers to silence their phones, create a workspace that improves productivity and stay away from areas of their home that may tempt them to direct their attention elsewhere.
Some of the biggest benefits of working remotely include eliminating the commute, building healthier habits and reducing illness.
One of the downsides of working from home is that it can be challenging for employees to connect with their co-workers. Research from Microsoft found that long-term remote work can adversely affect employees’ relationships with their colleagues. Microsoft found that remote employees have reported missing the informal conversations that occur in the lunchroom and office hallways.
As an employer, consider using video conferencing or a virtual phone system such as Grasshopper to get your employees together at least once a week. (Read our Grasshopper review to learn more.) This will keep remote workers engaged and help everyone feel like they’re still part of the same team.
While working remotely offers benefits, it also has disadvantages. Below are some of the possible downsides that can come with working at home.
As trends emerge around work environments, employees and employers are finding new ways to keep productivity levels high. Allowing employees to work remotely can boost their morale while ensuring your company meets – or exceeds – its previous efficiency rates. And with these tips to further increase your remote employees’ productivity, your team can accomplish new goals while enjoying their time at your company.
Sammi Caramela contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.