It is the rare remote worker who thinks they aren’t productive. One study of more than 20,000 remote workers showed 87% said they were more productive at home than in the office. Only about 12% of managers and supervisors hold with the old assumption that a remote worker is an unproductive worker. Inc. calls that attitude “productive paranoia” and it doesn’t match the reality of what is really happening in remote locations all over the U.S. Yet, paranoia around productivity remains an issue in some companies. What is the state of remote work right now? Is working remotely causing you stress and burnout? Is it leading to workplace paranoia? We have answers.
How Many Workers are Remote, and Do They Like It?
More than 91 million Americans have been offered the option to work remotely this year and many gladly take this option. For better or for worse, remote work is here to stay. But remote has lent itself to burnout recently, and one report suggests the issue is getting worse. Vox says, “That’s because work hasn’t improved. Workloads are still too high, and employers don’t understand what their employees are dealing with.” What’s going on?
According to a recent study, 58% of at-home workers suggest “unnecessarily duplicating work or doing rework is more challenging now than it was 12-18 months ago.” The study pointed out that team miscommunication is another issue affecting productivity on remote teams. An issue that’s just as challenging is tracking down the assets that teams need to get their job done; 53% of remote workers agree that simply finding the right file is a chore.
These findings should lead managers to ask a basic question: Is their concern that remote workers are less productive simply paranoia, or are these valuable off-site employees simply being slowed down by our own internal inefficiencies?
The Cause of Remote Work Stress
In September 2022, Business News Daily reported on a recent study and found remote work:
- Increases work/life balance.
- Increases productivity.
- Fosters healthier lifestyles.
Employees benefit from this, certainly, but employers do, as well. For those remote work haters at the corporate level, the latest data should appease their worries; 40% of your workforce ends up putting in nearly 50 extra minutes a day when they’re working from home. Yet, there has been some backlash against the messy state of work organization. There’s been The Great Resignation and quiet quitting. There are polls says that remote workers will quit if they have to go back to an office. Strikes have and are happening, and unions seem to have made a resurgence. Even growing layoffs don’t seem to shake the confidence of a newly focused and enabled workforce.
CNBC says, “Work has always been dysfunctional, our tolerance for it just got lower.” So, remote work, like all work, may be uniquely geared for causing stress and frustration. Managers interested in lessening these feelings in their remote workforce should avoid online productivity trackers and instead work with their employees to improve the workflows and tools available to their teams. Take care of your remote workforce, employers. If you give them the right tools, productivity will increase.
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