Is remote working good for the business?

Is remote working good for the business?


The global coronavirus pandemic has affected workflows around the world. Companies are sending their employees home and allowing them to work remotely. Many are concerned that this will bring productivity issues, yet others think it is the perfect opportunity to prove that remote working boosts productivity.

Here, we will discuss if remote working is actually good for the business and its main productivity benefits.

The context

Concerns over coronavirus have authorities and businesses encouraging social distancing to avoid transmission. The first companies to take a step and ask their personnel to work for home, where the tech giants. Google said to all its North American workers to work from home, and in Ireland, both Google and Apple did the same. Universities across America and Europe canceled lectures and moved towards online classes, and smaller companies are encouraging smaller meetings while everyone works from home.

Even as the circumstances are far from ideal, is this temporary experiment a good idea?

The flexibility of remote working

Why have people gathered in one place when most of them will just sit around in a cubicle in a computer, messaging individuals via email that they have 5 meters away when you can send them all to work remotely without any issues? There are plenty of time-tracking, remote desktop, project managing, video chatting apps the team can use. That gives the team flexibility and comfort and reduces costs for the company, as it can have smaller spaces for their offices and the units that truly need to work in-person and for team meetings from time to time.

Live quality improvement

If remote working is taken as a long-term strategy, it will allow people to live in lower-cost cities, as they can work comfortably from there. For example, a tech developer, instead of being forced to leave near the Bay Area, can live miles away or in smaller towns that are more affordable. Other members may have mixed roles with shared remote and on-premise work.

Productivity boost

Not all people are prepared for remote work. Some feel the temptation to procrastinate if they’re home, but others feel way more comfortable. If home procrastination is an issue, then people can work from a coworking space or a café.

A study conducted by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom proved that the pros of remote working overcome the cons significantly. He used Ctrip, China’s largest travel agency, as the lab rat. James Liang, the CEO, wanted to enable the work-from-home option because the HQ offices in Shanghai were incredibly expensive, and employees weren’t finding affordable housing in the city.

Bloom design a test where 500 employees were divided into two groups: one that continued working at the HQ and one that worked from home. The study lasted almost two years and showed an incredible productivity boost from those who worked from home and employee attrition decreased by half. They took shorter breaks, lesser sick leaves, and time off. The company also saved almost $2,000 per employee as it could reduce the HQ space.

In conclusion

Bloom recommended going for a mixed version of remote working: allowing some days-per-week remote working in front of some mandatory days at the office. Even as the circumstances today force companies to go for full-scale remote work temporarily, it is an excellent choice to evaluate the possibility of applying this model to your business. It may boost productivity, save you some costs in office space, and allow you to offer better wages to your crew.