Does Working from Home Reduce Employee Productivity?

During the coronavirus crisis, many businesses have had to experiment with remote work for the first time. While employers are still learning on the fly, the shift to online work has actually had a minimal effect on employee productivity levels. Research reveals that those working from home due to COVID-19 are just 1% less productive than they would be working in the office.

How will this statistic affect remote work in the long run? Let’s take a closer look at remote work and employee productivity to see how businesses are dealing with online work.

Home Environment Affects Employee Productivity

Some employees have fewer distractions when they work from home, others have more. While having kids around may seem like the most obvious drain on productivity, social media is actually a bigger distraction for many people. A third of remote workers, including many parents, point to social media as their biggest distraction during the workday. These workers spend about 2 hours per workday on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or other social media platforms.

For some remote workers, having kids in the house is actually better for productivity than being alone. While those with kids report a 2% decrease in productivity, those living alone report a 3% decrease in productivity (possibly because they have no one to hold them accountable). People living with other adults are the best at maintaining their productivity while working from home.

Remote Employees Can Struggle with New Technology

Remote employees spend an average of 15 minutes every day dealing with tech issues, which can really put a dent in their long-term productivity. While 95% of employees say their employer is already good at supporting their remote work, businesses can improve trust with employees by minimizing tech issues and providing knowledgeable support when something goes wrong.

Even when Productivity Suffers Slightly, Businesses Benefit

Remote work has many benefits for employers – especially given its negligible effect on employee productivity. Many employees prefer to work from home, for one, so remote work can boost employee morale. Remote work also comes with a host of employer benefits, including reduced overhead costs for office space, utilities, and equipment and reduced legal liability.

More and more businesses are embracing remote work, even when it isn’t necessary. Facebook, Shopify, Twitter, and Upwork – for example – say they’ll let employees work from home indefinitely, even after the coronavirus crisis is over. Google, Zillow, and others say their employees will have the option to work from home until at least next year.

The benefits of remote work aren’t reserved for big businesses. Small businesses can also improve employee morale and reduce overhead costs by offering remote work options. Rural businesses, too, can also expand their workforce much more effectively by offering remote positions that can be filled by people living outside commuting distance of the office.

Reliable Internet for Remote Work in Rural Areas

A reliable internet connection is the key to avoiding tech issues during remote work, but, in some areas, it isn’t easy to find an internet connection that can get the job done. Fixed wireless internet is usually the best option for businesses and remote employees in rural areas.

Stephen Kota

About Stephen Kota

Founder & Primary Author

Stephen enjoys photography, boating and gardening. He cares for pet Kois in his water garden.

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