The Interesting Link Between Remote Work And Higher Engagement

Renee Morad, Forbes
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According to a recent survey from Gallup, more Americans are working remotely—and nearly a third of those working out of the office are doing so four to five days a week.

Among 15,000 adults surveyed, 43 percent of employed Americans said they’ve spent at least some time working remotely over the past year. About 31 percent of remote workers reported being out of the office four to five days a week, up from 24 percent in 2012. And 20% of employees are working from home full-time.

Gallup wrote in its State of American Workplace report, “new and emerging technologies are transforming the way work gets done. More people do their job virtually or remotely and at various times of the day rather than between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and teams have fewer face-to-face interactions, communicating increasingly through email, instant messaging and conference calls.”

Brie Reynolds, a career specialist for FlexJobs, explains that over the past two years, growth in remote work has grown in every type of work-from-home arrangement available, from full-time to part-time and temporary. FlexJobs has seen a 52% increase in telecommute-friendly jobs posted in its database over the last two years.

“Companies are more willing and able to put resources behind tracking the success of work-from-home programs,” Reynolds says. “Before, it was really ad hoc, but now we’re seeing companies increasingly putting together more formalized programs, tracking the results and seeing the success.”

Reynolds predicts that in 2017, more employers will focus on solidifying remote work arrangements as truly viable options for people. “It won’t be seen as a perk but as a means to attract better talent, increase productivity, decrease the number of sick days and improve retention.”

Anne Donovan, innovation leader for PwC, explains that today, “remote work is not even a big deal anymore.” She says there’s much more of a focus on “what you produce and the quality of work you bring, and whether you’re in the same room or dressed a certain way just doesn’t matter.”

On the flip side, workplace relationships are thriving—even under remote work arrangements. She explains that remote workers certainly don’t lack a desire to build relationships with their colleagues. In fact, many times she’s seen just the opposite.

According to Gallup’s report: Today’s employees “come into a role wanting frequent communication with their manager, development opportunities, flexibility and autonomy, coaching, and a sense of stability and security.” They want to be “engaged and motivated, doing work that feels meaningful and makes the most of their talents and strengths.”

To compensate for a decrease in face-to-face interaction, remote workers are relying on texting, FaceTiming, Google Hangouts and the like to not only collaborate on projects but to build lasting relationships, Donovan says. “It’s equally as possible to build a relationship over text, email and phone calls as it to have one by working in the same building.”

Interestingly, employees who reported spending 60% to 80% out of the office working had the highest rates of engagement at work, suggests Gallup’s report. And those who spend three to four days a week working remotely were the most likely to report that they have a best friend at work.

For millennials, this way of working is often times more of an expectation than a workplace benefit. This group is “more likely to expect flexible scheduling and work-from-home arrangements from their employers since technological advances have made working at different times and from different locations practical for many companies,” the report states, adding that millennials view these workplaces as being more modern and in tune with their lifestyles.

Now, if more people are working remotely, what will they desire next? They could be looking for flexibility in the day’s work hours, the Gallup report suggests. Some 54% of respondents said they would change jobs for the ability to choose when they work, and 52% admit they already have such flexibility.

 

This article was written by Renee Morad from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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