Employee Productivity and Engagement Will Drop Working from Home. Myths of the Remote Workplace – Part 2

As we continue to make this transition around how we manage our lives and careers, managers have the added responsibility of ensuring their employees are staying engaged, maintaining productivity, and feeling supported and connected to the team and the company. To avoid sabotaging yourself and your team, it’s essential to be mindful of these four costly myths that strike fear and doubt in the hearts of every manager.

Here’s part one in this four-part series



MYTH #1 –  Employee Productivity Will Drop

“It’s more difficult to manage, hold my team accountable, and run my business this way.”

I’m certainly not disputing the value of managing and coaching a team face to face, and the additional physical cues that can be observed when doing so.

However, with the growing number of companies making the permanent shift to a remote workplace, managers will no longer have the luxury of calling a face-to-face meeting and instead, find themselves selling, supporting, coaching, and managing their people, and meetings, remotely.

So, if you’re worried about your employees being productive, Business News Daily reported that working from home actually increases productivity. Statistics show that those who work remotely at least once per month are 37% more likely to be happy and productive in their roles than those who can’t or don’t work remotely. And that’s only one day per month! 

Remote workers take longer breaks on average but they remain productive for an additional 10 minutes per day. Remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year.

In addition, remote workers say they work more than 40 hours per week, which is 43% more than on-site workers do. However, on-site workers are also working longer weeks because it’s required of them, while more remote workers are doing so because they enjoy what they do. (Owl Labs)


Myth #2: Employee Engagement Will Decrease

If you’re concerned about attrition or rising disengagement, 76% of respondents said they’d be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. (HBR)

To further refute this myth, companies that allow remote work experience 25% less employee turnover than companies that do not allow remote work. (Owl Labs)

The truth is, remote workers say they’re 35% happier in their jobs than on-site workers. Also, 81% of remote workers say they’re happy in their job, and only 46% of on-site workers say they’re happy in their job.

Remote work isn’t just convenient for both employers and employees, but studies have shown that it’s also more effective.

According to Gallup’s report, employees across various industries who spent 60 to 80 percent of their time working remotely had the highest rates of engagement.

Finally, based on a two-year study by Stanford professor, Nicholas Bloom, incredibly, employee attrition decreased by 50% percent among the telecommuters. They took shorter breaks, had fewer sick days, and took less time off.


MYTH #3 – You Can’t Maintain the Same Team Dynamic

Some managers think they are at a disadvantage coaching and managing remotely, and as a result, don’t put forth the effort to learn how to coach at a distance, often leaving it up to their remote team to do their job. Consequently, there’s a growing number of organizations who are now questioning whether coaching should still be their #1priority, especially during this pandemic.

In a situation like this, managers are thinking,

  • How do I follow up with each person? When? How often?
  • How do I maintain our relationship, now that I don’t see them every day?
  • How do I hold them accountable?
  • How do I know if they’re working, what they’re doing, and how they’re doing it?
  • How do I build or rebuild trust at a distance?
  • How am I supposed to have difficult conversations that I typically have in person?
  • How can I ensure we still maintain the team dynamic and social, human connection?
  • What happens when there’s something that requires immediate attention?
  • How can I observe them doing their job or when in the field selling?

These are just a few questions that every manager and team need to answer, together. Which is why I developed this coaching talk track template so that you can facilitate this conversation in a healthy, productive way for others, and for yourself.


MYTH #4 – Working From Home Will Make You Feel Isolated and Want to Get Back in the Office

Not when we’re all looking to improve the #1 thing we all want – our quality of life.

Getting your children ready for school. Walking the dogs instead of commuting, having the flexibility to get that mid-morning gym workout in, the freedom to catch up with friends, and not having to schedule time off for appointments.

In fact, more than one-third of workers say they work remotely to care for their children. (SHRM)

These are just some of the ways remote workers can enjoy a flexible schedule. In fact 40% of respondents rate this is the biggest benefit of remote work.

The reasons workers want to do their jobs remotely aren’t surprising: better work-life balance (91%), increased productivity/better focus (79%), less stress (78%), and to avoid a commute (78%).

According to FlexJobs’ Annual Survey, 77% of people said having a flexible job would allow them to be healthier (eat better, exercise more, etc.) and 86% said they’d be less stressed.

Here’s a fact that may startle you. People prefer working remotely so much over commuting, that l Labs found that 34% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely!

In part three of this four-part series, we will be answering this question, “Can you still observe people and provide feedback remotely that results in measurable, positive change?”