The remote work era that started abruptly in 2020 has proven that in-person collaboration and communication aren’t crucial for employee productivity and business success. This is why the statistic from 2021 shows that 1 in 4 Americans are expected to work from home.
Furthermore, 70% 0f remote workers in 2021 stated that their meetings felt less stressful. Numerous studies have shown that employees working remotely during the pandemic were more productive, worked more, and got more things done.
According to Future Forum, this trend continued in 2022. Their report shows that employees with increased work flexibility were 28% more productive than their office-based peers, with 53% increased ability to focus on their tasks.
Even though these numbers show that work flexibility has become a crucial factor for increased productivity and employee well-being, numerous business leaders are skeptical about hybrid work and its potential effects on overall business performance.
The reason for this skepticism lies in the fact that most leaders (49% of them) can’t trust their employees when working outside of the office, no matter what statistics show.
If you belong to this group of business leaders supporting the traditional way of working, an advanced employee monitoring software that tracks all employees’ activities during work hours can shatter your doubts.
A study based on monitoring software for employees’ data shows that employee productivity has grown by 5% in the fully remote era with 60% of workers stating that they were more productive.
What may stand behind the boosted productivity of remote workers? Here are a couple of plausible answers.
Reasons Why Employees Prefer Working Remotely
The absence of commuting is one of the major benefits of remote work. An estimate is that remote workers dedicate 35% of this saved time, which is about an hour every day, to working on their critical tasks. This reflected the most in the results of the study that compared remote workers’ productivity to their office-based peers, stating that remote workers’ days were 48.5 minutes longer.
But, judging from the employees’ experience, work flexibility and the freedom to work when and where they want to work seems to be significant productivity booster and remote work benefit.
The fact is that productivity fluctuates throughout the day and that the productivity peaks don’t fit into fixed 9 to 5 work hours. Letting employees work when they feel most productive and engaged in their work can motivate them to achieve more than when working within strict hours.
Despite these facts and numbers, many business leaders still believe that their employees will be more productive in the office. However, numerous studies show that office-based workers tend to spend 36% to 38% of their work hours productively.
So why numerous business leaders thought to make data-based decisions ignore these statistics and force their employees to come back and work from the office?
Why Do Bosses Want to Bring Employees Back to the Office?
Reasons for this trend may be numerous, but the bottom line is that these managers want to see their employees working to believe them. This said many business leaders believe that presence in the office is sufficient proof of employee productivity. This said those who arrive early and leave late are perceived as hard workers notwithstanding their actual results. This is an entrenched opinion about employee productivity also known as a cognitive bias. that undermines the efforts and results of remote workers.
For this reason, business leaders taught to evaluate employee performance on their presence in the office will often undermine the efforts and results of remote workers, giving them biased employee reviews leading to fewer promotion opportunities and decreased raises.
If you want to escape this trap and provide equal chances for your employees to grow, you should embrace data-driven approaches to employee performance evaluations, using employee monitoring software tracking records in this process.
This information will give you a clear picture of their daily activities and productivity during work hours. In this way, you’ll be able to appraise your remote employees’ performance objectively and reward them accordingly.
Eliminate Proximity Bias with Frequent Data-Based Employee Reviews
Another factor that may cloud managers’ judgment regarding remote employees’ productivity is “proximity bias” which indicates managers’ favoritism toward employees that they see and work with every day in the office. Due to this in-person collaboration, managers tend to create more positive impressions about their office-based employees, overseeing the results of their remote team members even though they may be more productive.
If you want to address this issue that can cause serious discrimination and conflicts among your workforce you need to train your managers to lead hybrid teams and adapt to the changing workplace and employees’ needs.
One of the priorities in leading productive and tight-knit hybrid teams is to base your decisions on performance data rather than their instincts and subjective opinions when it comes to employee reviews.
By doing this you’ll prevent various mental blindspots that may cloud your judgment regarding employee productivity and engagement. More importantly, you can use employee monitoring data to perform frequent and objective employee performance evaluations to offer your remote and office-based employees equal opportunities for professional growth and success.
The future of work looks hybrid. If you want to succeed in the reinvented post-pandemic workplace you need to offer increased work flexibility to your employees and rely on advanced collaboration and communication tools to optimize your team results.
And if you want to be sure that your employees are highly productive while working out of sight, try using employee monitoring software to gain invaluable insights into employees’ performance.
You can also use these monitoring data to eliminate proximity and presenteeism to give all your employees equal chance for professional development and advancement.
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