woman working remotely on laptop

Allow Your Team To Work Remotely — And See Productivity Increase

To some people, landing a remote job is like winning the job lottery. And if we’re talking about millennials, it’s practically an expectation.

Working remotely — also known as telecommuting — is when employees work from home at least half-time. It’s one of the perks millennials desire the most, and it may be a deal-breaker if a company doesn’t offer it — even if it’s just for a few days per week.

This year, millennials will make up about half of the US workforce — and they will represent 75% of the global workforce by 2025.

Since millennials are taking over the workforce, employers may not have a choice but to offer this much-desired work flexibility.

numbers of remote workers globally are increasing

Some people may think telecommuting jobs only exist for those in creative types of positions like writers, copy editors, and graphic designers. But many companies — private, startup, public, non profit — are allowing some sort of telecommute option these days.

Even in the medical profession there are some work-from-home opportunities available, such as:

  • Physicians – online teaching or telehealth services
  • Medical call centers, which typically consist of RNs and LPNs
  • Medical coders and billers
  • Medical transcriptionists
  • Legal nurse consultant
  • Nurse manager
  • Phone triage nurse
  • Healthcare recruiter

Working Remotely Doesn’t Just Benefit Workers

Employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from working from home. Employers can also reap rewards since working remotely can:

  • Reduce turnover: Workers will generally stay at a job longer since it meets their work-life balance needs.
  • Encourage loyalty: Telecommuting makes employees happy, particularly 82% of millennials who would gladly give their loyalty for such flexibility.
  • Increase bottom line: Employers save money on office space and relocation, and reduce absenteeism-related costs.
  • Help the environment: By eliminating the office commute, utilizing telecommunications, and using less energy, it reduces climate change.

Do The Benefits Of Working Remotely Outweigh The Downsides?

Remote workers have many options on how to spend their breaks at home. They can wash last night’s dishes, throw a load of clothes in the washer, or even take a quick nap.

Heck, they might even steal a few moments to swipe left or right on some unlucky or lucky fellow. (Let’s not pretend, though, that onsite workers don’t do this, too.)

But in a typical 9 to 5 office setting, the only potential “naughty” perks may be grabbing a nap if the company provides a quiet room — but you’d likely have to beat a lot of other coworkers to it first.

The thought of employees doing all of their household chores on the company’s time (break time or not) is precisely why many employers aren’t excited about offering this benefit. Some employers fear a drop in productivity and say that not all workers have the maturity and discipline to handle this perk.

While the maturity and discipline thing may be true for some workers, the opposite is true when it comes to productivity. Remote workers are more likely to work longer while in their own environment —  more than 3 extra weeks per year. They will generally work while sick and during vacations, too.

Further, they will spend only 29 minutes of their day chatting with coworkers, whereas the “Gossipy Greg” onsite workers spend an average of 66 minutes per day.

Employers’ concern about remote workers experiencing a drop in productivity might be a little misdirected, given that 50% of onsite workers say they’re significantly less productive when there are workplace distractions. Along with chatty coworkers, too many pointless meetings are to blame for some of the distraction. In 2019, companies lost nearly $400 billion due to ineffective, poorly run meetings.

Overall, workplace distractions cost businesses a whopping $600 billion per year. By allowing the “Productive Pamelas” to work remotely instead of forcing them to come into the office to interact with the “Gossipy Gregs” who are spreading rumors from cubicle to cubicle, employers will save a nice chunk of change.

They may want to consider giving a percentage of those savings to their most productive workers.

Working Remotely And Loneliness

When you work remotely, you are likely working in isolation, even if you live with someone. This can create feelings of loneliness and contribute to depression.

However, one study found that telecommuting just a few hours a month could lower the risk of depression. This could be due to the fact that remote workers are less likely to be obese or overindulge in alcohol consumption.

Some easy ways to curb the loneliness factor are to join a shared workspace, speak with team members and clients via teleconference, and just simply get out of the house for a while.

At the end of the day — whether working remotely or onsite — our interaction with others is a significant human need. Those who telecommute must keep this in mind as they mark their work territory at home.

If you’re still not sure about allowing your team to work remotely, maybe the perk of increased productivity will help you decide. After all, the only thing you have to lose is your annual donation to the workplace distractions and ineffective meetings fund.