Why remote workers outperform office workers

An article appeared on my LinkedIn feed this week about remote workers producing more output than their office-bound counterparts. I’m a great advocate of remote working. I’ve written before about how my staff are free to work from where they like – as long as they do the job properly.

Members of my team have variously worked from villas in Spain, kitchen tables in Manchester, and my co-director Tony Macdonald and I are heading to work for a month in the South African sun this March. This is partly to escape the tail end of British winter, but it’s a sure-fire way to throw in a bit of change to our working year, and we’ve learned that we prefer working in an environment that helps enhance our happiness at work. As long as the work is done well, I’m happy.

I believe remote workers achieve more than office workers for a variety of reasons. They have fewer distractions, and no commuter stress, and they also tend to have a better work/life balance.

When I am working from home, I love the fact that I can walk my pets throughout the day. Sometimes I have a complete break; and I can equally easily schedule in conversations with travel clients and candidates from anywhere in the world after normal office hours. Everyone has commitments at home and the majority of people understand that business no longer needs to be conventional.

Better productivity, teamwork and attendance

This latest article cites productivity, teamwork, and presence as three areas where working from home is advantageous. A whopping 86 percent of the American workers interviewed said that working alone allows them to hit maximum productivity.

As for teamwork – at first glance that’s an odd upside of homeworking. But think about it a little, and it makes perfect sense. You’re still in a team, but without the daily niggles and politics of all being in the same room every day, so you benefit from the best bits of your team without the frustrations. The distance means you have to communicate effectively, using phone, video calls and email or messaging, and probably waste less time discussing last night’s TV. Yet you’re still colleagues; and you still wish them a happy birthday, or congratulate them on an achievement.

Presence, or attendance, is definitely better with remote workers. Because work hours are often more flexible, home workers will catch up on time they’ve missed for running errands. They will also work with a mild cold, rather than take a day off. However, it’s worth being aware that this can also be a downside for those working at home – that they feel they must always be ‘on’. But with good management in place, this issue shouldn’t be a problem. Good managers must make sure that home workers’ time off is respected.

Of course, it’s true that good workers do well wherever they are – in an office or at home. But in my experience, the trust placed in remote workers is rewarded with more dedicated employees and higher output.

In recruitment, productivity is easily measured. We have invested in the tech that has reports in terms of how productive a travel recruiter is.  We also have weekly reviews, no matter where our travel recruiters are based in the world – we have offices on 4 continents. And as our company remains permanently busy, it’s easy to see if someone is slacking. The only time it ever slows down is over Christmas, in those countries that celebrate.

Good management of homeworkers

Any manager with a homeworking team needs to make sure they have an effective way of measuring how well the team is doing. This means their output and their happiness and dedication to the job. I find that most home office workers are so grateful that they have the freedom to work remotely, that they have a higher job satisfaction rate than those working in an office. They appreciate the autonomy. See an earlier blog by my colleague Nicola Townsend about the happiness of travel homeworkers.

My tuppence worth of advice for other managers with remote workers (or those thinking of employing home workers) is to trust your people. You have hired your team as they are great. It should make no difference whether your team are office or home based. Regular communication is key. Make sure you have a habitual team call and/or a weekly review that is consistent. I would also recommend that you invest in industry-specific tech that allows ease of communication, no matter where you are in the world.

Employing homeworkers could help your company. Would you be happy for your team to work remotely? I’d be interested to hear others’ views.

Connect with me on LinkedIn to share your views or start the process of posting a homeworking travel role. Or submit a homeworking travel vacancy here.