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The Impact of Remote Work on Productivity Levels

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For both full-time and part-time employees, remote work is becoming increasingly popular. Here’s how working from home impacts remote employee productivity.

The ActivTrak team believes that working from home has a numerous advantages for employees and the enterprise, especially in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, we also acknowledge that understanding the productivity of your remote workers feels more challenging than it did pre-pandemic.

That’s why we’ve made it our mission to help managers and team leaders unlock the productivity insights they need to help employees work wiser. As the future of work shifts to include more remote workers and flexible working arrangements, digging into remote work productivity becomes more important than ever. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of remote work productivity, discuss different ways to keep productivity up at home, and explain how remote workforce productivity software can help you and your team reach new heights.

Choose where to start:

Understanding The Science Behind Remote Work Productivity

What does the research say about remote work productivity? Good things, as it turns out! According to a ConnectSolutions survey, 77% of respondents who worked remotely at least a few times a month were more productive. Also, 30% of remote workers were able to do more work in less time, and 24% could do more work in the same amount of time. It’s clear remote work can improve productivity, but why exactly is that the case?

One of the biggest (and most surprising) reasons why remote work productivity levels trend high is that you can shape your work environment. Numerous studies show there is a clear relationship between your workspace and your productivity. In fact, a Forbes study found that employees who take control over the design and layout of their home office are up to 32% more productive than those who don’t. A few critical aspects to a productive WFH workspace include:

  • Natural light — Working under a natural light source helps you stay alert, and doesn’t strain your eyes or give you a headache. A study at Cornell University found that employees who sit next to a window reported increased productivity by two percent!
  • Temperature — Another study at Cornell found that warmer temperatures also boost productivity. In their findings, a temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit (rather than 68°F) enabled workers to improve their typing rate.
  • Plants and artwork — Having nice things around your office space, particularly artwork or plants, can increase your attention capacity and offer some relief from stressful or demanding work.
  • Customization — When you work from home, you can curate your working environment so it’s designed to help you be most productive. This could mean playing music or white noise from a stereo, clearing your desk of any distractions, and making external elements (like temperature and light) suit your personal preferences.

Remote work productivity levels also tend to be higher than in-office levels due to a lack of distractions. In a FlexJobs survey, the top two answers to why respondents are more productive working remotely were tied between fewer distractions and fewer interruptions from colleagues, both of which reflected 76% of respondents. The third reason, which 70% of respondents listed, was reduced stress from commuting.

Remote work also allows employees to prioritize their physical and mental health. In this FlexJobs survey, 84% of respondents believed having a flexible job would help them better manage their mental health, and 89% thought it would help them take better care of themselves overall. Plus, 86% believed working remotely would decrease their stress levels, and 67% believed remote employment would give them the opportunity to exercise more. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically goes a long way to preventing burnout, and it’s easier to be productive when you’re feeling healthy and well-balanced.

How Employees Can Achieve a Better Work-life Balance by Working From Home

Employees who work remotely have the freedom to prioritize self-care without feeling like they’re neglecting their duties, whether that means attending to childcare emergencies, going to a doctor’s appointment, or simply working healthy habits into their schedule. This is probably why remote workers tend to love their jobs more! Also, remote workers tend to be more engaged than their in-office counterparts.

To keep yourself engaged, increase productivity, and improve your overall well-being while working from your home office, it helps to have remote work productivity strategies. Here are some ActivTrak approved remote work productivity tips that work well for everyone — from business leaders in the C-suite on down.

  • Communicate with the people who will be home with you.

    Make sure that your roommates or family members respect your workspace and productive time during working hours. You can put sticky notes on your office door to let everyone know you’re taking a call or create a house rule that says you don’t like to be disturbed in the morning because that’s when you’re most productive.

    Also, it’s important to “over-communicate” with housemates about your remote work schedule, availability, and any important tasks or meetings. This often involves repeating yourself! Even if you make a joke about how you must’ve mentioned that big client call a hundred times already, it’s good to communicate all important events early and often.

  • Take breaks during the day.

    Try to step away from your immediate workspace a few times a day to give yourself a quick refresh. You can go for a walk, pick up a book, chat with your roommate, pet your cat…the possibilities are endless! It’s easy to spend your breaks on your phone, but try to give your eyes. It might be tempting to skip a break or two to get more work done, but we strongly recommend taking advantage of this time away! Breaks are essential for recharging your mind, helping you stick to a dedicated schedule, and avoiding burnout

  • Have clear start and end times.

    Be clear about when you start working and when you’re done. This doesn’t mean you have to start and stop at exactly the same time every single day, but having a routine for the beginning and end of the workday helps you separate work time from free time, and be more productive during working hours. Having clear start and end times is also essential to improving work-life balance!

  • Interact with people regularly.

    It’s important to interact with people throughout the day, and not just the people you live with. Reach out to your colleagues for a quick Slack chat or use the first few minutes of your Zoom video calls to talk about something light or fun before diving into work. You can also get some face-to-face time with colleagues by scheduling a quick check-in. Even a short conversation can help you stay connected, and ensures everyone is regularly expressing their needs.

  • Leave home from time to time.

    When working remotely it’s essential to move around, get some fresh air, and see the world beyond your desk. This breaks up the monotony of working from home full-time, plus the natural light and fresh air can boost your mood and productivity. If your company offers a hybrid work option, try coming into the office twice a week just for a change of pace. If you’re a full-time remote worker, you can work at a coffee shop or even at a friend’s house for a change of scenery.

      Maximize Your Productivity Gains with Remote Productivity Software

      For managers, the best thing you can do to help keep remote work productivity up is to use remote workforce analytics software. The ActivTrak platform gathers user activity data directly from the source and analyzes it according to top employee productivity metrics. With this remote work data, you can help employees gain clear insights into their productivity levels and work towards continuous improvement. When individuals and managers collaborate on goals and solutions, employees are empowered to take charge of their own productivity improvements.

      Also, ActivTrak’s features are specially tailored for the needs of any enterprise with a remote or hybrid work model. You can view remote employee time utilization, identify inefficient workflows, pinpoint any compliance gaps that may have arisen from remote work, and uncover productivity insights for your remote teams that you otherwise might have missed. With these features at your fingertips, you have everything you need to help your employees work wiser — no matter where they choose to log on.

      Boost Remote Work Productivity with ActivTrak

      At ActivTrak, we want to help employees and team leaders maximize the benefits of the work-from-home movement. Working remotely can help employees lead happier, healthier lifestyles and spend their working hours really focused on their tasks! One of the best parts of working remotely is that you can set up your space, schedule, and working style in the ways that work best for you. And, with the help of ActivTrak’s workforce analytics, you can help remote employees improve their productivity even more.

       Pro Tips:

      • Clearly defining your working environment and times will help employees stay engaged, focused, and more productive.
      • Keeping track of productivity is a group effort! Empower everyone to track and measure their remote work productivity in ways that are meaningful to them.
      • Use workforce analytics to understand remote work productivity, identify obstacles, and take corrective actions.

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