Working remotely is a core part of many organisations’ flexible working initiatives. Here are 10 important facts you need to know about working away from the office
Technology has enabled the number of remote workers to rise rapidly in recent years; the TUC estimates that the number of UK people working from home increased by a fifth in the 10 years to 2016, and now stands at around 1.5 million people.
As employees demand more flexible working options, it’s vital that HR departments and line manager fully understand the implications, benefits and downsides of teams that include remote workers. Here are 10 essential statistics you need to know about working remotely.
- Research by CanadaLife found that remote workers regard themselves as more productive: home workers rated their productivity at 7.7 out of 10. Those working in open-plan offices rated their productivity at an average of 6.5 out of 10
- More than half (58%) of workers surveyed by PowWowNow in 2017 said working away from their office would improve their motivation levels
- According to the same PowWowNow survey, 56% of employees believe managers need to adapt their skills to manage a remote workforce
- Three-quarters (76%) of US workers surveyed by FlexJobs in 2015 said they prefer to do important tasks in places other than the office. Four-fifths (82%) said they would be more loyal to their current employer if the organisation had flexible working arrangements
- More than a third (39%) of people who mostly work from home often work additional hours to complete their tasks, compared with less than a quarter (24%) of those in fixed workplaces, according to 2017 research by Cardiff University
- But employers must take care that remote workers maintain the right degree of work-life balance: the Cardiff University study also found that two-fifths (44%) of remote workers struggle to relax and unwind after work, compared with 38% of staff who work in fixed locations
- An April 2018 study by the CIPD found that a third (32%) of staff felt that working remotely meant they could not switch off in their personal time. Nearly a fifth (18%) likened the constant connection to the office to being under surveillance
- Two-thirds (64%) of US hiring managers surveyed by Upwork in 2018 said they have the resources to hire remote workers – but more than half (57%) say they don’t have policies in place to support remote working
- Hiring managers surveyed by Upwork also predicted that 38% of their full-time, permanent staff will work mainly remotely within the next 10 years
- Nearly three-quarters (70%) of UK workers say it’s important for organisations to allow their employees to work remotely, found a 2015 YouGov study – but 48% said their employers don’t allow them to work remotely. More than 1 in 10 (12%) said their companies’ IT systems were modern enough to facilitate remote working
This article was first published in August 2016. It was updated in July 2017 for freshness, clarity and accuracy.
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