Are remote workers more productive than in-house employees?

HRKatha came across a couple of studies, which said remote workers are more productive than employees who work in offices. But what is the truth?

0
2194

Five years ago, the viability of working remotely was the hottest topic of discussion. A lot of questions revolved around whether working from home will affect productivity. But now, when we see a lot of new-age progressive startups bending their policies to make the lives of their employees more flexible, it seems the prejudice around working remotely is on its way to being wiped out, albeit slowly.

Learning from the startups, some traditional home-grown companies are also trying to introduce more flexible and progressive policies. This also makes sense because Gen Z will prefer to work for organisations that think about offering flexibility and work-life balance to their employees.

It’s amazing to see the rapid change in the workforce environment. Earlier, people resisted policies related to remote working. But now, with the presence of some technology enablers, people are actually open to the possibility of remote workers being more productive than in-house employees.

Saba Adil

“Remote working is gaining popularity and trending with the new generation workforce. From my personal experience, I see more accountability when people are working remotely. Come what may, the work gets done”

There are a few studies and surveys, which reveal that remote workers are more productive than people who work from offices.

Not surprising, since the remote employees not only enjoy their own space and time, but also face less distractions. Remote workers get to function in a stress- free environment, and work at their own pace. Also, they are far more accountable.

However, before finalising any decisions in this regard, we need to consider certain parameters.

1. Employee comfort or preference: There are many people who find it difficult to focus on work when they are trying to function from home. They need a formal office working environment to give their best.

“We cannot say that remote workers are more productive than employees who are working in the offices because it all depends on individual preferences and adaptability. Sometimes, when I am stuck with a problem I talk to people from diverse groups, and the work gets done faster. On the other hand, if I am working on a whitepaper, I prefer doing it at home,” shares Deepti Varma, head of HR, Amazon India, Middle East and North Africa

2. Nature of role: Another essential parameter or factor to be considered is the kind of role the person is essaying. Today, companies can certainly not give team and collaboration as an excuse to criticise the concept of working remotely. Technological interventions, such as video calling and conference chatting have been game changers.

Deepti Varma

“We cannot say that remote workers are more productive than employees who are working in the offices because it all depends on individual preferences and adaptability. Sometimes, when I am stuck with a problem I talk to people from diverse groups, and the work gets done faster. On the other hand, if I am working on a whitepaper, I prefer doing it at home”

However, certain roles in operations and even in the HR function cannot allow employees the flexibility to work remotely.

An assistant manager working in a tea estate cannot dream of working from home. An operation manager working in a bakery factory can hardly enjoy the benefit of working from remote locations.

“Even in the recruiting function, it is still difficult for recruiters to conduct interviews over the phone or on a video call, because there too all depends on the preference of the candidates. Sometimes, they are fixed in the office and at other times, outside,” says Saba Adil, chief people and operating officer, Aegon Life Insurance.

Yuvaraj Srivastava, group CHRO, MakeMyTrip.com adds, “The productivity fairly depends upon the role you are in. Certain roles are far more productive if played remotely. For instance, coders in the IT industry can work remotely and give better results as the function requires focus.”

“I am a very big supporter of working remotely and I feel roles which can be enabled to work from remote locations should be shifted to remote working as it will enhance productivity,” mentions Srivastava.

Yuvaraj Srivastava

“The productivity fairly depends upon the role you are in. Certain roles are far more productive if played remotely. For instance, coders in the IT industry can work remotely and give better results as the function requires focus”

Adil also adds, “Remote working is gaining popularity and trending with the new generation workforce. From my personal experience, I see more accountability when people are working remotely. Come what may, the work gets done.”

Varma shares that Amazon also has some progressive work-from-home polices to make the lives of its employees more flexible.

While it is difficult to say with certainty that remote workers are more productive than in-house employees, the reactions from HR leaders clearly indicates that the tides are shifting.

Comment on the Article

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here