Remote work is here to stay, it seems. In a recent study by Owl Labs, projections reported that 25% of all professional jobs in North America would continue to be remote by the end of 2022, and remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023. Furthermore, a recent study by the Future Skill Center, Environics Institute for Survey Research, and the Diversity Institute at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Ted Rogers School of Management reported that regardless of gender, occupation, or whether they have children, Canadians who have worked from home either some days or a majority of days during the pandemic are showing a growing affinity toward remote work. 79% of men and 77% of women polled said they preferred working from home much more than working from the office. This is an uptick compared to the survey conducted in December 2020, where just 60% of men and 68% of women preferred working from home.
What does this mean for employee productivity? Many business leaders believe that remote work could be detrimental to the productivity of their workers. However, many studies have found that remote work can increase employee productivity when the right employee needs are fulfilled. There are several reasons why remote workers are more productive. Remote workers appear to be working longer hours while maintaining a healthier work-life balance and reduced stress.
A study from Ergotron found that 40% of employees work longer hours at home than when in the office, by an average of 48.5 minutes longer, adding up to an additional 193 working hours for full-time employees per year.
According to the Remote Work Report from Owl Labs, 90% of the 2050 full-time remote workers surveyed said that they were more or just as productive working from home compared to the office. 74% also said that after the pandemic, working from home was better for their mental health, and 84% reported that working remotely made them happier, even with many willing to take a pay cut. This is likely due to having an improved work-life balance and reduced stress.A 2020 Nitro study found that 29% of remote workers said they were moderately stressed at work, down from 33% in 2019 when office work was the norm. The study also found that the number of highly stressed employees has declined from 2019 from 17% to 15%.
However, remote work does not come without its own set of challenges. Even simple tasks such as signing documents and editing PDFs became difficult for employees using their own devices. For employees to remain as productive or more productive than in office settings, companies must ensure their remote team has the proper tools to complete their tasks the same as they were in the office. Here are three ways that companies are improving employee productivity in the remote workplace.
Moving to a cloud-based digital workspace solution that serves as a hub for employee collaboration can help with going completely digital. Business collaboration apps can foster communication between your employees and improve teamwork. For example, Microsoft Teams provides several collaboration tools for employees to work effectively. It incorporates real-time co-authoring so that employees can actively work together on documents or presentations simultaneously with live-tracked changes. Live instant messaging features allow employees to securely chat with people inside or outside of the organization. Microsoft Teams also helps schedule meetings and calls, having live face-to-face video conferences and screen sharing for effective communication and collaboration.
Organizational applications can help employees stay on top of their to-do lists and effectively manage their time. Scheduling tools, e-signature tools, project management tools, time tracking tools, and file-sharing tools allow employees to stay organized and manage their time effectively. For example, Microsoft 365 or Citrix Workspaces allow employees to streamline their work processes and manage their time effectively. For example, Citrix’s Wrike solution intelligently connects the dots from one collaboration point to the next, with automated workflows to streamline projects across every department and team.
Desktop virtualization allows employees to securely access their desktops on any device from any location. With VDI, employees can log into their usual workplace system through their devices and use all the available applications. Patching and system updates are taken care of automatically so employees do not lose time updating their systems. As well, VDI reduces the potential risks of hardware issues. Since data is all saved within the virtual application, a hardware failure does not threaten data loss. Employees can log into a different end-point device and seamlessly access their applications and data. VDI also helps increase security for an organization, as it provides an extra layer of protection between the network and the software on a device. If the hardware is ever lost or stolen, the data will not be accessible without the correct login information.
In summary, remote work can be just as productive if not more effective than office workplaces if companies create a good work environment for their employees. Workplace productivity and collaboration tools and applications can help employees to feel more connected in their work environments while remaining secure. Remote work can also reduce employee stress and commuting costs while increasing work-life balance.