When you hear the phrase "remote worker," images of people binge-watching Netflix or putting off work may come to mind. But it's time to drop the stereotype. In our Remote Workers Report, we discovered that 91% of these folks claim they get more work done outside of the office. As it turns out, you don't need to force someone to come into a physical office daily to keep them engaged.
Of course, that also doesn't mean you need to close the doors to your office just yet. Further responses from the remote workers show how beneficial some workplace arrangements can be — and how detrimental to engagement others are.
There are many reasons why employees choose to work remotely. 41% of remote workers said they enjoy having the freedom of choosing when and where to work. Others cited family needs and a dislike of working in an office.
Another common reason (22%) was that their job requires them to. This group of employees had very different answers from the freedom-loving workers when it came to workplace happiness, appreciation, and retention.
So with that in mind, carefully think about what kind of remote work arrangements you introduce in your organization. Flexibility is important — and that also includes the flexibility to not work remotely. Forcing people to work remotely could leave employees feeling unappreciated, which leads to greater turnover risk.
Another factor to consider is a remote worker's schedule. And it turns out that the happiest employees are the ones who work every day of the week but with shorter hours.
Now, on the other hand, those who have more standard-length workdays but not the usual set of days report some of the lowest levels of happiness.
Flexibility in the workplace is a great way to increase employee engagement. But you can't assume that everybody prefers to work from the couch. If you give them the flexibility to both work from home and at the office, then you'll reap the true benefits of remote work.