Despite a year of learning, adjustment, and success; many companies still question the benefits of remote work.
We are shifting to a late-phase pandemic. Businesses are ditching the remote work paradigm and returning everyone to the office full time.
It worked before, so let’s get back to the office right?
Not so fast – I would implore you to look into the benefits of remote and/or flexible work model.
“Remote Work Will Never Fit For Us”
Before you dismiss this view as naïve or overly optimistic in an industrial or manufacturing setting: I get it. I’ve been working in these spaces for over 15 years and the culture has never previously supported this idea.
It has always been a strong belief that anyone in manufacturing needs to spend massive time on the production floor learning the operation. I am not disputing these convictions.
However, I am asking you to approach some of the big problems facing manufacturing today.
- Manufacturing is seen as dirty, dull, and dangerous. Younger generations do not think manufacturing is interesting, fun, or worthwhile for a career.
- Technical employees who prefer remote/flexible work are seen as less valuable and/or giving less effort.
- Many manufacturing facilities are located in areas that younger generations do not want to live.
- Thus, we have massive problems attracting and retaining good talent in manufacturing
These are huge problems and they require a new way of thinking.
I believe remote and flexible work can be a tool to overcome some of these problems.
Remote Work Benefit 1: More Productivity
Worried that you will lose productivity with a remote team? Well fear not – there is evidence that remote teams are actually more productive than traditional work teams.
This is evidenced by a flat-out increase in time available to spend on work tasks. For example, a Global Workplace Analytics report found that a partial remote work arrangement could generate “an additional five million man-hours per year”. Note that this is just 50% of workers who can work remotely, and only 50% of their time doing remote work. This is an estimated economic benefit of $700 billion a year!
Additionally, a 2019 study found that 79% of remote workers reported an increase in productivity.
Why does this productivity increase happen? A remote employee’s time is not spent on commuting to the office, walking to meetings in different buildings, water cooler discussions, frivolous gossip, and so on. Employees are typically more comfortable in their remote setting, which allows them to focus and crush their tasks.
Remote Work Benefit 2: Improved Efficiency
Another remote work benefit is increased efficiency.
- One study by Stanford determined that workers were 13% more efficient when working from home.
- Another survey found that 77% of workers reported they were more efficient while working remotely.
- And a separate Stanford study found actual profits in remote work. Companies that allow remote work see an average increase of $2,000 in profit per remote employee.
There are a number of reasons as to why people can be more efficient:
- There are fewer interruptions in a remote work model, so employees can stay focused. This allows them to get into deep, meaningful work more easily.
- When the team is separated physically, everyone needs to be clearer on task delegation and management. With proper team alignment, this cuts down on frivolous activity.
- In general, workers are happier, less stressful, and more engaged in their work.
Which brings me to my next point…
Remote Work Benefit 3: Attracting and Retaining Talent
A final key benefit of remote work is in reducing employee turnover.
A Buffer remote work report found that 97% of people reported they want to work remotely, at least part of the time. Additionally, 97% of respondents stated that they would “recommend remote work to others”.
Those numbers speak for themselves.
If your company does not offer a remote or flexible working option, you risk losing workers. They may just leave for a more flexible workplace.
The same Stanford study cited above saw worker turnover drop by 50% for remote workers.
Employee turnover is a massive problem in the workplace today, especially in areas like manufacturing. This turnover leads to enormous costs in productivity loss, as well as costs for hiring and re-training. In another article, I wrote about how a remote work model saved Best Buy millions of dollars in reducing turnover.
One possibility to cut down on this turnover is by offering a flexible working arrangement.
Think twice before throwing out the remote work and/or flexible work model. There are a number of benefits of remote work that make it worth the effort. The productivity and efficiency boost are potentially very good, and turnover reduction is even better.
If you have concerns about how to successfully implement sustainable remote work, we will continue to cover the topic. Know that Circle View is designed to help fill the potential gaps in remote work.
Still want more info on how to manage a remote team? Download our free Remote Roadmap to Success here to get you started on the journey.