Are Remote Workers More Productive Than Office Employees?

When the COVID pandemic shifted many office workers to remote positions, businesses had the opportunity to conduct a real-life experiment. So, what’s the verdict? Are remote workers more productive than office employees?

Chances are, you’ve heard both sides of the story. For example, a 2014 study at CTrip, a Chinese travel agency, found remote workers made 13.5 percent more calls than their office-based counterparts. (Forbes, 2017) However, data analysis at Enkata, an American software company, showed office-based workers were 50 percent more productive than people at home. (WIRED, 2013)

Who’s right? According to research done by the Association for Psychological Science, the correct answer depends on several factors including individual employee characteristics, the type of work and the structure of the organization. Here’s a brief overview.

Remote Work

    • Eliminates daily commutes
    • Is viewed as a perk for many employees
    • May lead to healthier, more productive lifestyles
    • Can interfere with work/life balance

Office-Based Work

    • Makes collaboration with coworkers easier
    • Keeps people on a schedule
    • Allows companies to supervise their employees directly
    • Clarifies the lines between work and home

But Isn’t Remote Work Distracting?

Again, the answer is yes, and no. Certainly, a remote worker could “phone it in” and spend the day watching TV. On the other hand, in a study by vouchercloud, full-time office workers admitting to being fully productive for only three hours out of an eight-hour day. In other words, the office water cooler can be JUST as distracting as the couch.

Tips to Make Remote Workers More Productive

Fortunately, you don’t have to simply HOPE for the best. As an organization, you can guide your employees. Use these strategies to encourage your remote team to reach peak efficiency.

    1. Promote Designated Office Spaces
      A home office with a door is one of the best ways to shut out distractions. This also helps employees to separate their work life from their home life. Although some people may struggle to find adequate space, your business could assist with the purchase of office equipment (desks, chairs, etc.) as well as remodeling costs. Of course, you’ll need to set aside funding, but the long-term productivity gains could be well worth the price tag.
    2. Clarify Expectations
      Not surprisingly, sending your workers home and telling them to “do their best” leads to trouble. Just as you would in an office setting, let them know exactly what you expect. Should they be available from nine to five? What assignments need to be completed this week? This month? And how often do they need to check-in?
    3. Stay Connected
      Finally, keep in touch. Think about how often you talk with your in-office employees. Then, apply the same standards to your remote staff. This not only encourages them to stay on task but also allows you to address any problems.


Are You Looking to Add Remote Workers And/Or Office Employees to Your Team?

BOS Staffing can help your organization find the people you need. We place talented candidates with top companies throughout the greater Atlanta area. Learn more about all the staffing solutions BOS Staffing offers today!

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