Some remote employees say they experience boosted productivity. Without chatty coworkers, frequent meetings, and the stress of a commute, they can focus and accomplish more tasks. They may also want to prove that they can perform well while working unsupervised. It’s also possible that the “newness” of working from home has warn off and the indicators of higher productivity is slowly falling as workers suffer pandemic fatigue, a sense if insecurity due to market conditions and the lack of interpersonal contact sinks in.
Remote work may actually lower productivity for some employees. One reason is that they can’t collaborate as easily with colleagues and lack motivation and drive to accomplish tasks. In the office, in-person meetings and quick stops at a co-worker’s desk make working together easy. Collaborating over the phone or email may slow the process and cause employees to feel frustrated.
Distractions in the home may also lower employee productivity. When they’re in the comfort of their own home, they may take more snack, nap, or television breaks than they should. They may decide that a pile of dirty laundry or a sink full of dishes takes priority over work tasks.
Finally, there is no one to hold employees accountable when they work remotely. While many work fine independently, others need a supervisor looking over their shoulder to stay on task. Remote employees may start scrolling social media and before they know it, half the day is gone, and they haven’t accomplished a thing.
Employers can reduce the risk of lower productivity by doing some of these things:
- Encourage managers to check in with remote employees frequently on their progress and ensure they stay on task.
- Offer options to make it easy to collaborate such as video conference and instant messaging.
- Set mutually agreeable schedules that are reviewed and adjusted frequently.
- Managers must be flexible to the different styles of workers and adapt to keep deliverables on track.
- Encourage workers to take regular breaks from work throughout the day.
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