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Remote work is here to stay, as part of our permanently hybrid future. 

Yes, we said this already in our blog post two weeks ago. But it really can’t be emphasized enough. More than half of companies have had more than 80% of their employees working remotely during the pandemic. And another 15% of companies had between 60 and 80% working remotely. That leaves less than one in twenty companies who even had half of their employees going to work at the office.

The pandemic didn’t start this trend. 83% of businesses had already adopted a flexible work policy before 2020. In the five years before that, remote work grew 44% in the US, and over the previous decade, 91%. But COVID did radically accelerate the situation. Especially as companies offering flexible work options almost universally reported significantly greater productivity as a result.

Remote works works. That much is obvious. To help make that clearer, here are some important reasons why. And a few tips to maximize your success in remote work.

1. Remote workers are more productive

Employees who work from home are more productive than those who work from an office. In fact, up to forty percent more productive! They average seventeen days more work than office-based workers each year, and rate their own productivity much more highly. Already years ago, when remote work was still called “telecommuting,” companies like Cisco and AT&Tproved that it saves hundreds of millions of dollars per year in productivity. Such results have been shown in studies to be consistent over the past decade and still today across many types of businesses and industries.

2. Remote workers are healthier

The commute to work stresses employees more than the job itself, according to Ford. In fact, nearly 90% of remote workers say remote work reduces their stress. Science backs their opinion, with one study from PGIshowing 82% of remote workers actually experiencing significant stress reduction. According to the American Pscyhological Association, remote workers handle the stress they do experience much better. They are also less likely to become sick, with COVID-19 or otherwise.

3. Remote workers are happier

Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics earlier this year reported that just one day a month of remote working can lead to a 24% happiness increase at work. And 77% agree they would prefer to work from home after COVID-19. Indeed, 36% of workers would choose remote work over a pay raise, while fully 23% would take a significant pay cut to stay working remotely. Shortly before the pandemic, Staples already showed that 90% of workers believe their morale would improve radically by providing flexible work options to everyone. And the PGI study above proved this opinion true with a measured actual 80% morale boost among remote workers.

4. Remote workers save themselves, the company, and the planet money

Remote workers save $7,000 on average annually on commuting costs, food, clothing, child care, etc. in comparison to in-office employees. And save their employers up to $11,000. Remote work helped IBM save $50 million in real estate costs. Aetna, $78 million. American Express, $15 million. And these numbers are only increasing and applying to more and more companies today. Add to this the savings for the planet. The impact of lessened commutes from remote work amounts to as many as 14 million less cars. And hundreds of billions of miles less petrol emissions. 54 million tons, to be exact. Equating to 20 million USD less spend on petrol yearly.

5. Remote work options help acquire, retain, and train top talent

Millennials currently are the largest segment of the workforce. And 85% of them prefer working from home all the time. In fact, the biggest demands of recent graduates to make them happy to join a company are work-life balance and a flexible work schedule. In another survey, 79% of employees said they would be more loyal to a business that provides flexibility. Remote workers are also far more eager and willing to learn on their own.

Maximize Your Benefits from Remote Work

As promised, here are a few simple tips to make your remote work work.

1. Clear communication

86% of both employees and employers blame poor collaboration for workplace failures. This applies even moreso to hybrid teams. When your team members are distributed, clarity in communication matters as much as oxygen for breathing. Don’t leave space for misunderstandings. Fully 97% of employees and executives say lack of alignment impacts project outcomes, according to McKinsey. That’s pretty close to everybody.

2. Provide continuous and positive feedback

Key to clear communication is honest feedback. And not only honest, but regular. 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important”, yet only 18% of employees, including managers, get communication evaluations at their performance reviews. Even weekly or daily feedback allows greater independence by employees as they can course-correct along the route. Praise, as we know, catches more flies than vinegar. Share what team members are doing right with everyone. Discipline them quietly.

3. Provide solid project management

The lack of clear goals accounts for 37% of project failures. Much of the rest comes from the failures in communication and feedback referenced above. A paltry 5.9% of companies communicate goals daily. After setting the end point in place, manage the process steadily. It doesn’t matter where your people are. Project management may be the easiest part of hybrid work management. If, that is, you approach it with the right technology and processes.

4. Build strong hybrid teams

97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment in a team negatively impacts the outcome of a project. And 89% of those surveyed by Globoforce said that work relationships are integral to their overall quality of life. Team-building activities can actually be much easier in the virtual space, where it doesn’t involve travel and large investments of time and money. Quick virtual water cooler chats, morning check-ins, birthday parties, online coffees – all of this can happen with little effort. And you can use AI/ML analytics to build great teams and empower them to work together. Based on actual data from their daily workflow. None of that is possible in the traditional environment.

5. Choose the right collaboration tools

Four of five businesses use at least one remote collaboration tool. And fully 83% of employees depend on technology to collaborate. This number will only continue to rise alongside innovations in the employee experience tech space.

So don’t wait for the future. Get on board with Innovation Minds’ innovative experience solutions now. We will strengthen your company in all five of the above areas and many more. We are the only solution combining the best in employee experience and innovation into one platform and system that will bring you into the future today.

Contact us to find out more.

Michael Lee, SVP Strategy and Marketing, Innovation Minds