If the thought of remote work conjures up images of pajama-clad parents with piles of pizza boxes in the background, it’s time to think again. Studies continue to show that the typical telecommuter is highly experienced and exceptionally engaged—and often more productive than the average in-office employee.
We’re still not sure why Yahoo’s CEO recently decided to ban the practice, but we can tell you this:
Companies committed to remote work share two common traits:
- Happy employees
- Efficient teams
Those aren’t claims based on anecdotal evidence. Numerous scientifically-rigorous, survey-backed empirical findings show how companies offering the flexibility to work from home (or coffee shops or co-working spaces) tend to be more profitable and productive than businesses that support on-site work only.
Remote Workers Are More Engaged
1. Remote employees are almost twice as likely to work beyond 40 hours a week—and not just on menial tasks, according to a recent report from Inc. Magazine. Workers tend to be 20% more productive when they get to tackle creative projects remotely.
2. A lack of break room distractions often means people can reach goals faster, too. In one experiment that let Chinese call center employees work from home, people got through 13% more calls than in-office staff did. The company not only saved money on office space and furniture, but gained the equivalent of an extra workday a week from each employee.
Remote Workers Are Happier and Healthier
3. When you give employees the flexibility to control where and when they work, they gain an extra hour of sleep a week to become more attentive and alert, say researchers at Penn State University.
4. Then there’s the simple fact that people tend to work harder when they’re happy—12% harder, according to one recent economic experiment.
Remote Employees Avoid the Hazards of Commuting
5. On the other hand, commuters are more likely than telecommuters to feel dissatisfied with daily activities, regardless of how much they’re paid—a fact supported by a recent U.K. Office for National Statistics finding.
6. A Gallup survey of more than 173,000 Americans revealed that extreme commuters—people driving 90+ minutes to and from the office—develop not only high stress levels but recurring back and neck conditions as well.
7. A lack of work-life balance and time away from family takes its toll, too: Another Swedish study found that couples are 40% more likely to divorce when one partner commutes more than 45 minutes each way.
Remote Companies Reap Significant Savings
8. A typical business can save $11,000 per person per year simply by letting them work from home 50% of the time, according to a recent analysis by Global Workplace Analytics.
9. And what happened when a snow storm recently forced the federal government to let its Washington employees work from home for four days? It saved taxpayers an estimated $32 million.
And none of this is new.
10. Research has been revealing for years that the overall job satisfaction and productivity gains of remote work translate into significant (as in $277 million a year significant) savings.
It takes a lot of hard work and some trial and error to build an effective remote company, but it’s definitely worth it. When our own leadership team first opened the doors to remote work years ago, it was still a relatively new trend. Now there are all kinds of resources, from collaboration tools like Slack to virtual standup software like Jell, available to help make the transition smooth and seamless.
Eager to give remote work a try?
We’re always happy to spill “insider” secrets on what makes for happy, effective telecommuting teams. Drop us a line anytime and let us know what questions you have about the wonderful world of remote work!