The corona crisis has put teleworking under the spotlight. CEO’s are, of course, concerned about productivity. But are such worries well founded?
The Corona crisis has increased teleworking exponentially. With several parts of the world locked down, workers can’t commute. Thus, companies are dealing with large remote work for the first time.
Facing the above, corporate leaders are worried about productivity. It’s easy to assume workers will be distracted, while at home. But is such assumption well founded? Perhaps not. It happens that teleworking can increase productivity. A survey by Airtasker polled 1,000 US employees. Half of these were teleworkers. Actually, the latter worked 1.4 days per month more than the former.
Where does remote work productivity come from? There seems to be a determining factor: commuting. The study was conducted in the US. Here, workers spend on average 30 min. to get to work. By staying at home, such time was saved. No traffic jams, late buses or cancelled trains. These “clock savings” also benefited workers, of course. They translated, for example, into a total free time of 17 days. Also, it stimulated employees to exercise. Homeworkers spent more 25 min. doing so, as opposed to their counterparts. This was the major secret of how teleworking can increase productivity.
Homeworking also seemed to reduce distractions. At home, employees lost about 27 min. on non-work topics. Yet, they wouldn’t be able to talk with their colleagues so easily. Thus, “water cooler talk” would decrease drastically. Indeed, time wasted for regular employees amounted to 40 min.
It seems that teleworking can increase productivity. Employees seem to gain something, too. Thus, is this a perfect win-win relationship? Not necessarily. The study showed remote work also flaws. For example, work-life balance was very affected. Such should be considered, when deciding about switching to regular teleworking.
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Related to previous article “How Europe accepts the Digital Challenge“.