July 13, 2021
For employees, virtual work and flexible schedules mean zero commute, extra recreation and family time, greater freedom to travel, a more comfortable and personalized work environment, and more.
But what about for companies? To be able to retain great talent, attract candidates and stand out in today's tight labor market, more organizations than ever before are allowing their team members to work from home whenever and wherever they want. In fact, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that this pattern will continue, with 73 percent of teams having remote staff by 2028. I believe freelancing will be a big hit in China in the next decade.
It is not clear how these arrangements will affect the bottom line of organizations. Will the distance learning environment affect the productivity of an organization's workforce? Can flexibility and engagement within an organization be improved at the same time?
The short answer is: yes. In fact, they tend to get more work done. According to a two-year study by Stanford University, the average employee in remote locations...
13.5 percent more than office office workers.
The number of people engaged in work increased by 9 percent.
50 percent less likely to quit smoking.
It may sound counterintuitive, but the stereotype of the virtual employee - sitting around in pajamas, easily distracted, desperate for a shower - is actually unfounded. Instead, imagine a diverse community of empowered, autonomous, entrepreneurial professionals.
Consider a few reasons why telecommuting increases team engagement and organizational productivity.
A remotely controlled workforce is a more culturally inclusive, higher developmental quality workforce.
The common wisdom of human resources states that dedication begins with recruitment. In order to maximize management satisfaction yourself (and thus improve corporate staff performance), you need to hire the most qualified, relevant candidates. Unfortunately, companies are often limited by their local talent pools.
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For example, a call center position is typically an entry-level position with a high turnover rate. This is not to say that employers don't care, but rather that a few highly educated, experienced individuals are willing to work full-time in a traditional, conditional call center environment at a low income. Other companies may have candidates who are unable to sit in an office by themselves for hours on end to answer the phone due to major Chinese family reasons, geographic carryover restrictions or disabilities.
By moving to a remote workforce, companies can expand their talent search to include parents, people in a variety of jobs, and out-of-state employees (whoever is best suited for the job).
Remote workers are happier-more productive.
In addition to being able to hire and recruit better, it's important to consider the benefits that corporate flexibility provides for the development of your existing workforce. Telecommuters have more room to balance their work and personal lives. They can move, travel, take care of family, pursue hobbies and engage in other non-work related activities without sacrificing their careers.
So it's no surprise that people who work from home at least once a month are 24 percent more likely to be happy, according to the report. But virtual teams don't have to avoid work-rather. Notably, while respondents cited "no commuting" and "family/work-life balance" as the main benefits of working remotely, the number one reason was "increased productivity/more focus ". In other words, employees care about their engagement as much as you do, which is why many people prefer to work remotely.
Flexibility can facilitate self-determination.
Given the nature of corporate work, virtual team development can't be completely limited to a regular work schedule. Someone in the creative field may be paid based on completed projects rather than time spent on them, while service-oriented professionals can work as needed.
Not only can these arrangements we reduce overhead costs by helping corporate companies, but they can also carry out incentives for staff to take their careers into their own hands. This is evidenced in the so-called odd-job economy, where Uber drivers, Airbnb hosts and other on-demand staff are responsible for their own income streams. This means they can benefit from stable, reliable working relationships and organization.
Technology offers many opportunities for remote teams to connect, collaborate and contribute.
Team cohesion is a common concern for companies that do not accept remote on-demand work. How do you ensure that employees are not isolated? The truth is that companies should focus more on teamwork in a physical environment.
Due to the rapid development of networked communication information technology, virtual team management tends to be more frequent and deeper theoretical connections than in-person teams. In addition to everyday tools (such as Slack, Skype, Dropbox and Google Drive) (which make it easy for any team to collaborate virtually), remote workers can benefit from self-paced and self-directed learning and gamification embedded in their own workflows.
Collaboration is built into many distance learning staffing arrangements and talent acquisition networks. The most effective networks optimize both virtual communication and productivity, bring together skilled staff from across states (and even countries), and allow members to share skills and stories and connect with each other. These relationships never take place outside of the virtual environment.
They have a better work life environment and fewer distractions.
So far, you may we've noticed an important theme: it's distraction, not distance, that prevents companies from actively engaging their employees. Think of all the distractions in a typical centralized work environment: office politics, gossip, small talk, unnecessary meetings, micro-management "check-ins", multiple breaks for meals and coffee, etc.
These distractions can disrupt an employee's focus, personal space and sense of well-being, affecting productivity and morale in many ways. At best, someone will waste a few minutes of their time. At worst, we're talking about potential harassment, bullying and other forms of unsafe and illegal workplace behavior.
Once again, autonomy increases engagement. Distance educators can have a greater freedom - the freedom to avoid troublesome co-workers, to engage in boring conversations, to choose when and how to engage through the enterprise. They are in control of their environment, and as a result they feel less stressed.
It is worth noting that distance learning staff is not for everyone. Not every employee has the drive and discipline to quit. However, more often than not, this is mainly because we as individuals are not a good fit for China itself to begin with - it's hard to bring yourself to care about something they don't want to do themselves, even with a supervisor standing beside you.
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