Remote work has become the norm for millions. Probably for you too. But some leaders are skeptical about it.
In 2023, we heard a lot of buzz around companies forcing employees back to the office. Thus, the return-to-office policy resulted in office occupancy increasing from 70% to 90% in the Middle East and Europe. In certain Asian cities, it reached 80-110%. But the question remains: was the remote experiment a success?
Workers would vote “Yes!”. Studies show remote employees like flexibility so much that they don’t want to give it up and go back to the office. Especially sought-after talent. So businesses see remote work as a balancing act entailing many challenges. Can you accommodate a distributed workforce without sacrificing productivity?
To help you make a final decision, we separate myths around hybrid, remote work from reality, relying on global statistics. Now, let’s get started.
Comparing work from home vs office, remote work show 29% higher productivity and 53% better concentration. That’s not only the stats from my team. The global survey of 10,766 workers and managers reveals these numbers. Can you guess the roots of the productivity boost?
Very simple. People feel less stressed. Less time spent in traffic jams, minus expenses on extra childcare (which has always been a concern for working parents). So believe it or not that affects productivity: 8 out of 10 remote employees show increased efficiency.
Moreover, 30% of remote people accomplish more work in less time due to remote work from home.
Although about half of the managers track attendance, executives still mistrust productivity data. To keep workers in sight, several big brands expect them to return to office desks. Among these companies, you can find Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, and JPMorgan. But don’t rush to blindly follow the pathway of giants.
Based on a Future Forum survey, this skepticism toward remote work from home comes from traditionalist leaders in their 50s and 60s.
Executives under 50 are much more open toward hybrid/remote work and focus on how to do it well. Probably, you’ll find your way somewhere in the middle.
Let’s break down another myth.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we swallowed the belief that remote work from home came to forever remain. But now as you can see companies experiment more with hybrid mode.
About half (40%) of global brands are striking a balance between remote and on-site attendance. With that, only 16% of employers stick to fully remote work. On the other hand, you find employers who still feel nostalgic about traditional offices.
According to the 2022 Microsoft Work Trend Index, 50% of companies are making plans to return to in-person work five days a week. Wow…slow down, please.
Let’s see what actually do workers think of it.
52% of them, by contrast, are considering going hybrid or remote. And their voices are loud. Every third respondent (surveyed by Owl Labs) said they would leave their job if they were forced to return to the office.
No wonder many companies find themselves between two extremes: going back to the office or staying remote. Many opt for a hybrid scenario. Let’s name a few.
Salesforce managers require 3 days a week in the office for nonremote employees and 4 days a week for employees in customer-facing roles. People in tech positions are asked to work from the office 10 days per quarter. A ride-sharing company stands for a less strict policy.
Uber staff was required to return to the office at least half the time. Other tech companies, Dropbox and Adobe, have democratized the right to choose remote, hybrid, or on-site options. They encourage talent to develop their own perfect combination.
Let’s go further to the next myth around remote work.
Humans are social beings. Even remote employees are no exception. That’s why some of them sometimes feel lonely and hard to collaborate missing the camaraderie of colleagues. Relying on this data, you might grab onto a keyboard and draft the return-to-office mandate. But it’s not the only lifeline.
Of course, during remote work from home, employees won’t bump into coworkers around the water cooler. But you can double down on virtual communication. Simply add:
Seeing everyone’s lovely faces and having cheerful small talk will increase the sense of belonging to a group.
Create a dedicated chat in Slack or WhatsApp just to share memes, fun topics, and non-business updates.
Adopt short daily meetings to keep everyone involved despite different geographies.
Plan regular virtual events such as coffee breaks, and game nights with team-building games to keep everyone engaged even in a remote office.
Alright, what you’ve definitely got is that remote work is not as limited as they seem. Greater productivity and employee satisfaction inspire employers to adopt a hybrid office policy. But before you align your strategy with either way, don’t forget to consider the basic principles.
Employees stress out going through abrupt changes. The more stringent the return-to-office or remote work policy, the more it’s been met with resistance from employees. Just take time to prepare for the shift.
Keeping that in mind, Disney company steadily prepared its workforce to return to the office. For roughly the entire of 2022, Disney’s staff was required to come to work on-site three days a week. And later in 2023, the company increased the mandatory days in the office to four days a week. As a result, the administration doesn’t face heavy resistance from employees.
Staying remote or hybrid can’t just be an individual choice. Either way, it affects the daily activity of your employees and the whole organization. Don’t hesitate to ask staff what they expect.
Don’t miss this step because you can accidentally spin up turnover. For example, Google surveyed its 1,000 employees about their preferred working mode. And revealed that two-thirds feel displeased about being forced to work in the office 3 days per week. So don’t rush with such movements.
No wonder the overwhelming majority (97%) of remote employees would recommend remote work from home to others. Indeed, this is the most preferred benefit today. 32% simply adore flexible schedules while 25% cherish the possibility to work from anywhere. Seeing that trend, you can attract more quality hires. To learn how to use remote work to retain talent, read this article.
Three years after the outbreak of Covid-19 were enough to compare working from home vs office. So, what are you leaning towards?