Should you hire remote workers? While the answer to that question probably depends greatly on your company and the culture you’re trying to cultivate, a new study has some pretty convincing evidence that employing remotely might be worth considering.
The study, which was conducted by ConnectSolutions, a private-cloud solutions provider, found some pretty remarkable benefits both for the employee and employer of remote workers. The study, which surveyed 202 employees over a range of occupations, found that 32% of employees already work at least part-time from somewhere other than the office. While the home was listed as the most likely place for remote employees to work, some said they were working from such unconventional locations as the local swimming pool.
The number one reason remote workers wanted to work from home was to cut out their commutes. That saved them not only precious time, but an average of $4,628 a year. Of course money and commute weren’t the whole reason people wanted to work remotely. Respondents said they got more exercise, spent more time with their families and, perhaps most importantly to employers, had way more positive attitudes towards their work than their desk-bound brethren.
Those quality of life improvements translate into workers who are more productive too. A whopping 77% of respondents reported being more productive when they were working away from the office, and another 30% said they accomplished more in less time. Another 52% of employees were less likely to take off sick time, and employees with the option to work remotely were much more likely to remain with their current employers.
Ok, so there is a bit of a tradeoff. Getting a remote team to collaborate and communicate effectively can be a challenge. People work on different schedules, have different needs and communication preferences. The study found that 58% of respondents didn’t feel as connected to their colleagues as they had when they were working in the office.
The thing is, the technology that is allowing people to work remotely is new and normative uses and expectations of remote employees are just being created. As time progresses and working remotely becomes more normal, accepted and expected by employees, these sorts of issues will likely sort themselves out. But when that happens, I’m going to bet that you’re going to start seeing a whole lot more people with laptops at the pool.