A question we get a lot is, “Where do you get the information about remote workers you share in the blog?” Truth is, we do a lot of reading and web-surfing just like you do. One of the more interesting surveys we found recently revealed that the image of the remote worker as someone working anywhere, anytime and blithely unaware of how the poor souls at home office work isn’t necessarily true.
A recent survey was done by the TalentLMS research team, Aris Apostolopoulos who’s a researcher and content writer, and Ana Casic, who’s in charge of Media Relations. The results were worth sharing. I’m not sure I agree with all of their conclusions, (I think the company’s idea of training and the employees’ understanding may not be the same) but hard numbers are hard to come by and well worth discussing.
Here are a few key questions and the answers this survey came up with:
1. What was the most surprising thing your research showed?
“We would say that the finding that emerged was about productivity. We knew that employees would suggest that working remotely is a true productivity boost. Yet, we never expected that 90% would say that they feel more productive when working from home.
“We additionally need to make reference to one more, however. Six out of ten employees said they’d like their job less if they needed to go to a physical office every day and do the exact same job. In this way, things being what they are, working remotely isn’t just a way of doing your job, but a satisfaction factor as well.”
2. What do you think is the biggest misconception companies have about remote work?
“That it’s uncontrollable. Numerous businesses believe that remote workers cannot be monitored, don’t really work, slow down, or stall. That’s completely off-base.
“According to our survey, 60% of remote workers work fixed hours, and among the top aptitudes they believe beginners should ace include time management, self-discipline, and organization.
“Also, they even get training with 70% expressing that their company provides it. So, indeed, companies can monitor employee performance and train their remote workers in any skill they want.”
3. What does your research show about how to engage the remote worker?
“The survey showed that there’s a general feeling of ‘9-5 loneliness’ among the community of remote workers. When asked about what they do when they feel lonely, 43% said that communication apps were the solution. So, the number one tip for engaging a remote workforce would be to sign up for an excellent communication service like Slack, Skype, and so forth.
“Along these lines, another tip is to hear what your remote workers have to say. Despite the fact that only 13% say they receive no training at all, 67% say they’d like to receive more. And when companies hear their employees’ needs, high engagement rates are bound to come.”
4. What misconceptions do remote workers have when they begin?
“I think it all goes back to one of the first findings we also mentioned above. Many people mix remote workers with digital nomads.
“Digital nomads get the chance to work at their own pace and hours. Then again, remote workers are employed for wages and, according to our survey, 60% of them work fixed hours and have to log on to their computers at a specific time every day. So, there might be some flexibility with respect to where they can work. But regarding when they work, remote employees are not that different from office workers.”
5. What don’t we know yet (long term implications) about where remote work is going?
“We know the eventual fate of remote work will be glorious. Sooner or later, the number of work-from-homers is going to blast. But is there a limit?
“Eighty-eight percent of our respondents said they would recommend a remote work career to their best friend while 85% say remote workers was their decision. On top of that, remote workers are investing in their career with 31% of them building a home office to work from.
“So, yes. People want to work from home but is there a ceiling in the number of workers who can work in their PJs? Who knows?”
That’s some extremely valuable information and insight. What do you think of these numbers? Do they reflect your reality as a remote worker or Long-Distance Leader? Let us know in the comments and/or send a message with your more detailed observation and response.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Co-Founder and Product Line Manager
Wayne Turmel is the co-founder and Product Line Manager for the Remote Leadership Institute. For twenty years he’s been obsessed with helping managers communicate more effectively with their teams, bosses and customers. Wayne is the author of several books that demystify communicating through technology including Meet Like You Mean It – a Leader’s Guide to Painless & Productive Virtual Meetings, 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations and 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar. His work appears frequently in Management-Issues.com.
Wayne, along with Kevin Eikenberry, has co-authored the definitive book on leading remotely, The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership.