Do you have doubts about whether your remote employees are productive? You’re not alone – Microsoft’s report shows that 85% of leaders agree with you. This is driven by a difficult-to-shake mindset where managers can’t see who is hard at work the same way they can at the office. But what we believe is being challenged again and again by the facts – remote workers are actually MORE productive! Stanford University research says so, Harvard Business School research says so, and Great Place to Work says so too! So, why isn’t every company doing it?
We’ve all got a little bit of bias
Let’s start with the ugly bits – we’re all a product of our experiences and environment, and that leads to mindsets that prioritise certain things over others. It’s natural, but it’s nasty and it’s no good for business.
Things like confirmation bias, like when one employee slacks off during remote work making it easy to condemn the entire concept totally derails all the studies that show good workers perform well both in and out of the office. Another is anchoring bias, when we use one thing we learned early on and stick to it despite all the later evidence that overrules our foundational ‘fact’. As soon as I see someone wearing glasses, I instinctively think they are smarter. Similarly, you may have heard early reports of remote workers going out partying or sleeping in late without their managers realising. It’s silly, but humans are a bit silly when you get right down to it – and it has very real, un-silly consequences.
When these biases get in the way, we develop a false impression over what work is more productive and it’s generating massive drama around forcing staff back into the office. This is one of the issues driving the Great Resignation, where staff are moving in opposition to traditional management and 48% of respondents will “definitely” seek a full-time remote position for their next job as a result.
The reality is that remote work is a win-win for you and your employees
As Microsoft’s extensive report showed, remote or hybrid work is just working. Employees who are unproductive in the office will be unproductive at home, and vice versa for productive employees. Beyond that, it’s what employees WANT – and currently, with the skills shortages every industry is facing, it pays to offer remote or hybrid work as an incentive to stay. Employees with hybrid or flexible work models are generally more productive, happier, and more engaged with their work, provided you implement a strategy based on trust, impact, and feedback rather than micromanagement and all-hours availability.
Even more importantly, a recession is on the horizon. In high-pressure economic times, hybrid working wins again because of its affordability. To push a hybrid worker into a full-time office job, you’d need an average of a 20% pay raise to overcome the commute and preference for flexible working. Not only that, but flexible teams give employers opportunities to downscale on expensive office spaces, to hire outside of their immediate commuter pool, and to access a much greater talent pool.
Support your remote teams through the right technology
The world of hybrid or remote work is not without its challenges – and opportunities. At Otto IT, we’re here to make transitioning to a hybrid work environment easier, less disruptive, and more rewarding than ever before. Talk to our team in Melbourne about how to make technology work for your business – and bring more opportunities to your door.