Today, working or doing schooling online is becoming extremely common. Remote work and online classes are options all around the U.S. Advanced technology allows for internet connections, video conferences, phone calls, email, chat software, and other programs that make doing online schooling or remote work extremely easy and convenient. Most schools and businesses are allowing some remote options, if not giving people full-time remote possibilities for their work. As technology continues to advance and our world changes, these remote options may be even more available.
When students or employees begin doing their work-from-home or remote situation, they may wonder and worry about their productivity in the workplace. They may be nervous about isolation from being remote and removed from colleagues and friends, and wonder if they will actually get all their work done while they’re at home. Some people may not have the drive and discipline that is needed to be efficient at work-from-home or remote positions, but most people do have that motivation inside of them to get a lot done remotely. Those working or doing school at home don’t need to be worried. The reality is that research shows remote workers and students are actually more productive.
You read that right, more productive. You are likely to be more productive working or studying at your home than you are at the office or in a classroom. How is this possible?
Learn how working or studying at home tends to lead people to be more productive with their time and energy.
It may seem like a no brainer, but when you work or do school at home your commute is from your bed to a chair! You can get to your office in about 7 seconds, instead of driving 45 minutes or more in rush hour traffic. This does a few things for you. 1. You are in a better mood when you begin working because you haven’t been in a traffic jam or are running late due to a pileup on the freeway. You’ll feel better about the start of your day because the first thing you’re doing isn’t sitting in your car! And 2. You can spend that valuable time in the morning working instead of flipping through radio stations. That 45 or more minute commute just became 45 minutes of meaningful work time. When you have a remote job or do remote work, every minute counts to help you be as productive as possible.
Traditional employees and students often feel that their commute is part of their working time, so they may quit working earlier to drive home or feel they’ve already put in a decent amount of time because of their added commute. When you have a remote job or do remote work, you don’t have this issue! When you work remotely, you don't have to quit the day early to fight traffic or feel that you've already been on the clock since you got in their car. Thus, workers who are remote are able to get more done and be more productive with their time.
Think about sitting at your desk at the workplace. People walk by, you chat, you stop and visit in the break room. Think about your college classes. You are busy talking to a friend and miss part of a lecture, or think you’ll go on-campus to study and run into some people you know and get sidetracked. It’s so easy to get distracted when you work or go to school in-person. Remote workers often find they have fewer distractions at their house than they would in a classroom or office. And distractions that they do have can be more easily controlled. For example, if a worker wants to get a snack in the office they may have to walk to the break room, stop and chat with some people, search around for the snack they want, prepare it, and bring it back to their desk. With a remote job, the worker simply run over to the kitchen, grab the snack they know they have, and get back to work! The flexibility and benefits of remote work make it much easier for employees to avoid time-consuming distractions.
Additionally, studies show that remote employees are able to get into the zone and focus on their work more deeply and longer. When they are at home in their own office, nobody is passing by, tapping them on the shoulder to talk. Remote employees were able to get more focused on their work, accomplishing more and being more efficient. In fact, studies show that remote employees work an additional 1.4 days per month compared to in-office workers. They are able to accomplish more every day largely due to the lack of distractions around them. Remote work often entails full-time concentration sessions where employees can produce great content because it's quiet around them, their employer or manager isn't looking over their shoulder, and they don't worry about what's happening around them. This is a rare opportunity that doesn't happen in the office. Full-time remote positions are actually increasing productivity for the entire workforce.
Research shows that the best way to stay productive when working is to take breaks. And remote employees find they are able to take shorter breaks more regularly, giving them an advantage of productivity. Remote students and employees may benefit from taking a minute to go change their laundry, talk to their children, or run an errand. These breaks are different from distractions at the office—remote employees choose when to take a break, while distractions creep up on you while you’re in a focused-zone. Remote jobs and those who do remote work find that they are able to have much more flexibility and opportunity in their day, a huge benefit to them personally and to their efficiency. Choosing to take regular breaks will help boost productivity of for remote jobs. Breaks can act as a reward for completing a task or can help you get unstuck on a problem.
While research shows remote employees were able to take more official breaks, they spent at least 10 less minutes each day being distracted compared to office employees. So remote employees are better able to be in control of their schedule, taking breaks when it is a good time and overall boosting their productivity.
Remote positions may often involve a telecommuting workforce, which also lends itself to fewer distractions. Meetings are shorter when they are held remotely, and studies show that remote positions often are enhanced by telecommuting opportunity because employees can better prepare to have conversations because they are scheduled in advance. Nobody is popping by a desk to talk to a remote colleague, they schedule time to have a phone conversation.
Remote employees and students find they’re more flexible with their full-time office hours than traditional employees and students. This can be a bit of a negative—remote employees are more likely to say they struggle with work/life balance of a full-time remote opportunity. But it also often results in increased productivity. While remote students and workers strive to find a better balance, they are often more comfortable to start their day earlier or finish their day a little later because they aren’t rushing home to put dinner on the table or avoid traffic. Remote employees and students are able to be in their home when their children get done with school, and don’t feel the same pressure to leave the office exactly on time in order to get home. This can be a great boost to productivity and efficiency.
Working remotely often means that employees don't feel as upset with a phone call or email after-hours. They've had the chance to be at home during the day, so doing some additional work later in the day isn't as big of an issue. Remote work is greatly enhanced by the flexible work arrangements and time that remote team members enjoy.
Research shows that remote employees and students take fewer sick days and fewer days off, and have an attrition rate that’s 50% less than traditional workers. Remote employees are generally healthier, and that’s likely due to the fact that they have more time for exercise and can prepare their own meals instead of eating out. Remote workers and students don’t worry about their commute, so instead they take some of that time working out and getting healthier.
Similarly, remote workers may be able to continue working if they’re feeling a little under the weather because they’re at home, not infecting anyone. Thus, they need to take less sick days completely away from work. Remote workers often need fewer days off as well, they can do appointments and take mental breaks as they need them instead of having to take time off to accomplish everything they need.
As more employers and schools move to online and remote options, it’s important to understand that remote opportunities can increase productivity in important ways. Online students and employees alike can be confident that remote options can help them to be far more productive and effective. If you’re considering an online schooling option, WGU could be the perfect fit. We help you take advantage of the productivity you can get doing schooling online by giving you the flexibility you need to take your effectiveness to the next level.