Your Remote Workers Are Likely Working Longer Hours
Remote workers are working MORE hours than they were in the office. But does this mean they’re more productive or less productive?
Airtasker did a study that found remote workers work 1.4 more days each month or 16.8 more days every year compared to people working in the office. Why? This is likely because they’re no longer commuting, which means they have an extra hour or so in their day, as well as the fact that it’s hard to separate your work from your home when you’re working in your own house. But are they more productive because of the extra hours? Well, this is debatable and almost entirely dependent on the person.
Extra hours equals higher productivity depending on the person
The truth is, one person can accomplish ten tasks in the same amount of time it takes someone who is less focused to accomplish one task. This is why it’s hard to create a connection between the number of hours worked and how productive the individual is. Although many remote workers now have extra time in their day because they’re no longer commuting, some will contribute that time back to the organization. In contrast, others will provide that time back to themselves.
In reality, neither option is necessarily the right option. Working more hours can take a toll on your ability to:
- Stay focused throughout the day
- Maintain a positive approach to work
- Stay well in terms of mental health
All of the above can potentially lead to a significant decrease in productivity, depending on the person. Researchers have found that working from home can be more stressful than working in the office, with 54% of remote workers reporting feeling overly stressed throughout the day compared to 49% of office workers. It’s quite likely this is because they’re working more hours.
How should employers approach this challenge
As we’ve mentioned, it’s all about the individual at hand. If someone is happy and thriving working an extra 30 minutes or so each day, and they’re more productive than ever, you may not want to change anything. But there are ways to improve productivity amongst your remote workforce while empowering your team to balance their work and their home life. Here are our recommendations:
- Measure the hours they’re working using a time tracking system. This is more so for mental health as opposed to making sure they’re working when they’re supposed to be – assuming you trust the people you’ve hired.
- Create structure within the working environment and make sure it’s enforced. For us, this means two checkpoints: in the morning and the afternoon. They create a cadence for everyone to design their workday around – a defined break of sorts.
- Embrace the “Pomodoro” technique wherein you choose a task, work on it for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break and repeat. Every four “sprints” ends with an even longer break.
- Look into apps and other options for managing to-do lists. There are tons of apps out there for this purpose, but you can also opt for a good old fashioned pen and paper to keep track of your work.
During this difficult time, mental health is more important than ever before. 29% of remote workers feel they have a hard time maintaining a work-life balance, and this means they’re feeling stressed, and in turn, at risk for stress-related illnesses. In an office setting, you have peer pressure playing a role in keeping you social, taking coffee breaks, and overall, assisting with prioritizing mental health.
Questions about implementing some of the tips mentioned above? Get in touch with us.