The COVID-19 pandemic made remote work commonplace, causing a significant shift in many employment models across the business landscape. Employees enjoyed the lack of a commute, with many professionals producing higher-than-expected productivity levels. This scenario caused many organizations to wonder if in-office work was becoming obsolete.
The effects of the pandemic beginning to wane caused many companies to desire a return to the office. Especially now, many business leaders are missing the close collaboration and interaction gained by employees physically working together in the same geographic location.
However, requiring employees to work from the office was a large contributor to The Great Resignation, with many professionals opting for new opportunities that offered flexibility to work from home. In order to strike a balance, some companies introduced a hybrid model with in-office work only required a few days each week.
Businesses must weigh their hopes for a return to the office against today’s needs of current employees and candidates. Of course, each company is different, and making the best decision for your company requires considering all sides of the issue. The following insights can be used to inform your business’s decision-making process on what employment model fits your culture and operational model.
Are Employees More Productive Working from Home?
The recent pandemic forced companies to quickly adapt to remote working, but it also provided useful insights into productivity. Various research studies analyzed productivity levels for those working at home compared to those in the office. Next, we will explore these findings to help your business decide on the right employment model. Ideally, you can determine which model will best foster high productivity, engaged employees, and a strong talent pool of future workers.
Remote Work Productivity
It is important to note that many studies found that employees who were productive in the office achieved similar work-from-home productivity levels. They found a similar correlation with workers who had less productive habits at the office. Between the various studies, an overall productivity increase of around 5 percent was typical among both groups. One study found a 22 percent increase in happiness/engagement for remote/hybrid employees compared to those working in an office full-time.
Employees also enjoyed higher levels of job satisfaction when given the opportunity for remote or hybrid work. They found an improved ability to balance their personal and professional lives and enjoyed more time for exercise. Employers providing wellness programs to their staff also contributed to a boost in mental and physical health.
Time spent working as opposed to commuting contributed to the increased productivity of the remote and hybrid approach. Additionally, studies found that remote employees tend to work an extra hour per day compared to those in the office. This is notable when considering the increased job satisfaction – employees working from home may be working longer hours while simultaneously feeling more fulfilled in their roles.
Not surprisingly, in-office workers found it easier to make connections with the rest of their team members working in the same physical location compared to remote workers. This remains a relevant issue when considering the importance of building a strong professional network to foster career growth. Additionally, companies that value employee inclusion and connectedness must focus on ensuring hybrid and remote workers feel part of the team.
As highlighted above, productive employees in the office tend to maintain those productivity levels at home. In this scenario, managers need to be proactive and innovative to sufficiently engage workers both on-site and remotely. This plays a key role in building a company culture able to attract and retain talent over time, no matter their work location.
Ultimately, adopting a balanced approach provides a sweet spot for businesses, combining the advantages of remote and in-office work. Hybrid models help your staff to better balance their personal and professional lives, leading to an improvement in morale and better productivity levels. Additionally, ensuring your managers focus on team building, professional networking, and development will be beneficial to all parties and, in turn, your organization as well as customers.
What Should Employers Consider in the Remote Work Debate?
During the hiring process, businesses should consider adopting a hybrid employment approach to keep their candidate pool robust and geographically diverse. A hybrid environment provides employees with the ability to telecommute some of the time while still enjoying in-office collaboration. You might lose a few candidates who are only looking for remote work, but remember, others prefer and value the connections created by person-to-person interaction with their coworkers.
Understanding the positives of both in-office and remote work helps your company make an informed decision. Reviewing insights on the benefits of both approaches can help to inspire your analysis when weighing the desire for strong collaboration and teamwork against having access to the widest array of talent.
Benefits of In-Office Work
- Collaboration and Teambuilding: Many companies aiming for a return to the office miss the in-person interaction and team building. While holding meetings over video helps with collaboration, there remains no substitute for sharing the same physical space. Companies relying on DevOps (an integration of software development and IT) or a similar methodology relying on teamwork benefit from this employment model.
- Supervision and Performance Monitoring: Simply stated, some managers don’t trust remote employees to stay focused on their work assignments. They want all their direct reports to work from the company’s office to better supervise their daily activities. The in-office employment model still provides the best way to supervise employees and monitor their daily performance.
- Office Culture and Engagement: Building a welcoming company culture remains a critical goal for any business, no matter the industry. Cultural fit also plays a significant role in attracting great candidates while retaining your best employees. Naturally, some business leaders question the ability to foster a top-shelf culture with remote employees. The in-office employment model can make it easier to keep employees engaged and build a meaningful company culture.
- Access to Physical Resources and Infrastructure: Working in an office allows employees to easily access the company’s technical infrastructure and other physical resources. Obviously, the nature of your organization’s work greatly matters when determining whether remote working is even possible. While cloud-based storage provides telecommuters access to your IT infrastructure, this approach might not work for some businesses.
Benefits of Remote Work
- Flexibility and Work-Life Balance: Providing the ability to work from home makes it easier for employees to balance their personal and professional lives. The lack of a daily commute also reduces stress while allowing more time for exercise and meditation. These are prominent health-related issues illustrating why many professionals want to work for companies that allow remote work.
- Cost Savings for Employees: Remote employees enjoy significant cost savings without having to commute to the office. Saving on the high cost of gas while reducing wear and tear on vehicles helps reduce personal budgets. Additionally, parking fees, depending on the location of your office, are also saved.
- Access to a Global Talent Pool: When your organization needs to quickly fill a skills gap, finding the right candidate becomes difficult. This is especially the case with certain high-demand technology roles, like cybersecurity and AI engineers. However, if you employ a mostly remote staff, it greatly expands your company’s talent pool opportunities.
- Increased Productivity and Autonomy: Trusting employees to maintain high productivity levels outside the office remains critical for managers in remote or hybrid scenarios. It provides remote workers the autonomy they need to be successful in the modern business world. Leveraging state-of-the-art time and performance tracking tools can help to ensure your projects stay on schedule.
Recruitment Strategies for a Hybrid Workforce
Successfully recruiting talent in the hybrid work era requires companies to adopt a flexible strategy. This includes quickly determining whether the remote working model is compatible with your organization’s operational approach. Some businesses, especially those in the manufacturing space, obviously need employees to work on-site. Nevertheless, following a remote or hybrid employment model can undeniably increase the breadth of your company’s candidate pool.
It is also important to keep in mind other benefits that modern professionals want from their employers. This includes fostering a positive company culture that’s both welcoming and inclusive. Highlighting this culture on your website, social media posts, and in your job listings will help to attract exceptional talent. Since cultural fit plays a crucial role in a high retention rate, attracting candidates compatible with your culture is key.
Modern professionals also want to work for companies that provide significant professional development opportunities to their employees. You may want to offer a robust training program focused on earning professional certifications and incentivize your employees to take advantage of it. Awarding a gift card, bonus, or PTO for earning a certification serves as a great incentive. Additionally, tuition reimbursement remains another important professional development perk. Requiring employees to stay with your organization after receiving assistance directly improves your retention rate.
Finally, adopting an open and transparent communication policy also contributes to forging a company culture able to attract top candidates. In fact, meaningful communication remains crucial in keeping all employees engaged and inspired. Ensure your managers understand the importance of regular meetings and open communication with both in-office and remote working teams.
Navigate the Evolving Talent Landscape with a Professional Staffing Company
Ultimately, your business needs to adopt an employment model that benefits both your company’s operations and your employees. In an evolving business world, the hybrid model continues to gain popularity as it provides the advantages of both remote and on-site work. Partnering with an experienced professional staffing company is a great option to help your business successfully navigate these changes. Contact our team at Dahl Consulting if you have any questions or are looking to hire great talent!