A two-year study by Stanford University also found an impressive increase in work productivity among the WFH crowd. Researchers compared the in-office employees to fully remote employees at a Chinese travel company. Stanford found that remote employees were 13% more productive than their on-site counterparts, equating to nearly an extra day of output per week.
Remote workers have no commute, less or no office small talk, and fewer distractions. Working from home also allows more time for family and exercise – resulting in a higher quality of life and better work-life balance.
The Results are In
Employees overwhelmingly agree that a fully remote or hybrid remote and in-person work model is strongly preferred. But as you can see, employees are pretty evenly split on their preferred workspace.
So how do you accommodate all preferences? And is choosing only one option the right choice for your business? How do you decide?
We suggest going right to the source and asking employees how they feel. Here are some questions to help you determine the best path forward.
Questions to ask your team:
- What percentage of the time would you prefer to work remotely vs. in-office?
- Are you interested in working from a third-party location, like a coworking space?
- What essential resources do you need to work from home successfully?
- Do you have any concerns about a remote work environment? Ex; lack of visibility, culture not as prevalent, hard to work with distractions at home, lack of proper space in your home, etc.
- What would you consider to be the biggest pros and cons of working 100% remote? In-office? Hybrid?
Questions for leadership to ponder:
- Does a fully remote or hybrid option make sense to our bottom line?
- Do we have the bandwidth and staff to update policies and put procedures in place?
- Do we need to re-evaluate or change our physical office space to accommodate?
- Are there positions where it’s not logical to be remote in the long run?
- Are leaders comfortable with adopting an ‘output vs. hours’ mentality?
- Will employees have any flexibility on what hours they work?
- Are you prepared to treat in-office and remote employees equally?
- Do you have the tech tools and resources available to make remote work a success and ensure equitable treatment? If not, are you willing to invest in them?
Though these are far from exhaustive lists, they can help you start to build the right questions and discussion points to help you make the best decision for your business. You can use a free tool like Google Forms to build out a questionnaire and capture feedback, or you can ask your managers to speak with each individual on their team. Employee experience platforms like Cleary also have built-in poll and survey features that allow you to easily collect data – confidentially or anonymously.
It may even be helpful to do both – because you can collect survey data anonymously, then capture one-on-one feedback, and compare. The goal is to make sure every voice is heard so you can effectively support each member of your organization.
Next Step: Designing Your Ideal Workplace
The above questions will help you gauge how to structure your business model as we head into 2022. The most successful companies we work with are instituting two key things; the power of choice and some degree of flexibility.
A recent Gartner productivity survey shows an increase in the number of a company’s high performers based on the types of decisions they’re given the autonomy to make and the amount of flexibility they have.
The power of choice allows employees to work how they prefer to work – resulting in better business outcomes. This means, if someone wants to come into the office, they can reserve a spot and do so. If someone prefers to be fully remote, they have the option to do so. Logistically, supporting this model can be complicated because it fluctuates and impacts the amount of office space you need.
Some companies are solving this by giving employees access to locally-owned coworking spaces. This allows employees who prefer to work outside the house a place to go and makes it possible to set up client meetings and team meetings in a collaborative-friendly space. Other companies have gone full virtual, embracing the need for technology-based collaboration tools.
- Use the questions above to collect employee opinions on the best way forward.
- Gather leadership and align on additional questions that relate to training and logistics.
- Build policies that fit your decided-upon outcome to support your entire workforce.
- Create an execution plan for your technology and processes moving forward.
Taking these steps to make a data-driven decision on what 2022 will look like for your business will help you head into the new year ready for action.
Cleary was built specifically to support remote and hybrid workforces. Staying connected is more important than ever in a distributed workforce, and Cleary makes it easy to help teams stay more connected than ever. Cleary brings the best of in-person to a digital world, offering collaborative workrooms, a culture-first design, interactive org charts, and tons of productivity tools that help employees stay connected and engaged.