Remote work has become increasingly popular over the years. This is primarily because of technological advancements and the reliability of web communication. However, remote work was even more highlighted during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


While part of the world halted to a complete stop because of lockdowns, several industries adjusted in order to continue operations. Many companies and businesses all over the globe turned to remote work arrangements to keep their businesses going and their employees working. But even before this, the advantages and disadvantages of remote working have been at the center of debate among managerial and leadership circles. 


As the remote work phenomenon continues, many wonder about the effects of such arrangements. Remote work is often looked at through the lens of productivity and how it compares to traditional office setups. With that, here’s a closer look at productivity in remote work and remote employees.


What Is Remote Work?

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Remote work is a type of employment arrangement that allows employees to work away from or without a company office. Remote work setups remove the need for a traditional office environment and offer employees the flexibility to work at any location. This type of work arrangement is also commonly referred to as work from home (WFH), work from anywhere, mobile work, remote job, and distance work. 


Recent data shows that there is a 44% increase in the number of remote workers in the world over the past 5 years. The most common industries that hire remote workers are technology, healthcare, and financial services. Upwork, a popular freelancing platform, predicts that 73% of all departments would have remote employees by the year 2028.


Employee Productivity Under Remote Work Setups


One of the most researched aspects of remote work focuses on employee productivity. When compared to traditional office arrangements, many argue that remote work setups remove the crucial aspect of close and direct supervision. Without such monitoring in place, some believe that remote workers are likely to slack off, resulting in inefficient and unproductive work practices.


While this may be true in some cases, research shows that flexible work arrangements such as remote work can actually improve employee productivity and creativity. A Standford University study also found that employees transitioning from traditional to remote work arrangements experience a 13% increase in productivity. In addition to this, the same study accounted for a significant increase in work satisfaction as well as a 50% decrease in attrition rates.


In terms of productivity, a 2015 survey shows that flexible remote working arrangements can lead to a 77% increase in employee productivity. According to this survey, 30% of employees mentioned accomplishing more tasks while working remotely. It also mentions that 23% of workers under a remote work setup are more willing to work longer hours to accomplish more. 


The increase in productivity among employees in a remote work environment is often attributed to several factors. One of the most evident benefits of working remotely is that there is no time spent on commuting or traveling from home to work. 


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Many attributes that the time saved from traveling to the office provides employees with more time to spend on things and activities that make them happy. Whether it’s exercising in the morning, preparing a quality breakfast meal, or simply allotting more time to sleep. 


In relation to this, remote work setups also provide a better opportunity to take care of one’s physical and mental health. This helps prevent feelings of burnout that may have detrimental effects on a person’s productivity and overall well-being.


Global companies such as American Express and JD Edwards also noted a significant increase in productivity for their employees working offsite. When compared to their office counterparts, American Express noted that remote employees produced 43% more while JD Edwards reported a 20 to 25% increase in productivity compared to their office-based teams.


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