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It’s no secret that remote work arrangements have become more prevalent over the last decade. These scenarios range from employees working from home once or twice a week, to nationally or globally distributed teams, or even companies who have no offices and operate exclusively from the cloud.
Just how prevalent is remote work becoming, and what unique challenges do remote teams present for managers? According to the US Department of Labor, over the past five years there has been a 50% increase in companies that have the majority of their teams working remotely.
We were so curious about this phenomenon and its impact on business, that we surveyed hundreds of managers, supervisors, and executives about their experiences. This included participants working in large and small businesses, in every major department, and in just about every vertical. Here’s what we discovered:
– 53% of companies continue to have standard workplaces, with nearly every employee coming into the office 4 or more days each week.
– 37% have a main office with some people working remotely.
– 10% have no office space at all.
Many people believe that this shift is being driven by millennials, who desire flexible work arrangements to optimize work-life balance. 24% of respondents agreed, saying that remote work improves the quality of life for their employees. Others like remote work because it saves on overhead and allows them to access a global talent pool.
But remote work can also be a scary prospect for managers who may feel that employees will shirk their duties or that relationships with managers and other employees will suffer. So we asked how flexible work arrangements really impact employee performance and communication.
63% of respondents said that communication with remote employees was the same or better than with in-house employees, and 21% of our respondents found that productivity and performance improved on remote teams.
The shift from clocking-in at a desk to working from home is being made possible by advances in technology. Communication and collaboration tools help keep teams connected and productive no matter how far apart they are geographically. Many of these tools are available on mobile devices, which have also become far more prevalent. In fact over two-thirds of respondents answered our survey on a mobile phone or tablet.
No matter what tech you use to stay in-touch, ask your remote team these weekly questions to keep relationships strong and to ensure alignment with team and company objectives:
1) How have you improved your remote working skills this month? Have you identified any challenges?
2) What has communication been like with team leaders, managers, and directors?
3) What are your primary goals this week/month/quarter?
Check out the infographic below for the latest remote work trends, and for techniques that managers can use to keep their distributed teams connected and on-task.
Get this infographic as slides too. Download them from Slideshare here.