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Working remote – what I have found

February 16, 2019

By Mary Corrado, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Employees working remotely is growing in popularity.  I have been keeping a close eye on how it’s affecting both employers and employees.  Most research I have found shows a positive impact on both the employer and employee.
I’ve compiled some of the research I have found about the growing popularity and benefits of remote work.

Remote Work Can Increase Productivity
Most of the research I have found has shown that employees are actually more productive when they work remotely.  This is likely due to the lack of distraction experienced in the workplace such as office gossip, impromptu meetings, noise levels, etc. In a recent survey by 86% of those surveyed said they prefer to work alone in order to achieve maximum productivity.  In addition, 2/3 of managers say employees who work remotely increase their overall productivity.

Remote Work Drives Employee Efficiency
A report from ConnectSolutions found that 30% of employees say that telecommuting allows them to accomplish more in less time.  24% said they accomplished more in the same amount of time.

It Can Decrease Real Estate Costs and Overhead
According to an article in Forbes, remote work can significantly cut operations costs. For example, Aetna was able to reduce their footprint by 2.7 million square feet saving them $78 million.  

It’s Becoming More and More Prevalent
According to the latest research from the U.S. Department of Labor, over the past five years there has been a 50% increase in companies that have a majority of employees working remotely.  53% of companies have standard workplaces, with nearly every employee coming into the office four or more days, 37% have a main office with people working remotely, and 10% have no office space at all.

Engagement and Retention Can be Increased
In a study by 15five, they found that attrition dropped by 50% when people worked from home.  In addition, employees were more engaged, more committed to their work, and rated their leaders higher. A report in Harvard Business Review concluded that workers are often more engaged with colleagues and supervisors than in-office workers.  

Technology Must be Used Properly to Support it Effectively
While there are many benefits to remote work, these benefits can only be achieved when the proper technology is utilized to support remote work.  Collaboration levels can be maintained or even increased when the right technology is available.  A study by CosoCloud found that 42% of remote workers feel they’re just as connected with colleagues as if they were working on-premises, and 10% feel even more connected.  That same study found that of the digital communication and collaboration tools available, email is the most used at 88% with instant messaging (47%), video conferencing (36%), VoIP/Skype (32%), and presence functionality (30%). 28% of those surveyed use an enterprise unified communication solution, such as Microsoft Skype for Business.

ASE’s soon to be released 2018 Workplace Flexibility Survey revealed that 62% of Michigan organizations offer telecommuting. 

Here at ASE, we have been experimenting with remote work and what the best balance is for our employees.  During the recent Polar Vortex, with the exception of a few employees who weathered the storm, most of us worked remotely.  We utilized Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business for meetings.  The overall opinion was that productivity was not lost during this time period.  In addition, employees were very thankful; therefore, increasing morale.

ASE has always supported a healthy work-life balance, and often, remote work is a very simple way for an employee to achieve that.  We currently support it on a partial time basis for several employees and as needed for most others – if the position supports it.  As our technology evolves, we will continue with monitoring its effectiveness on a wider scale.

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