Remote working is the big trend in America’s working patterns. Right now, thanks to expanding cloud services, videoconferencing, etc., 37% of our workforce is working remotely for some, if not all, of the work week. FlexJob, an online connector for job seekers and job posters, predicts that 50% of the workforce will be working remotely in 2020.
Gallup, one of the most trusted names in research, gave this topic of remote/offsite working, center state in its most recent annual report on the State of the American Work Force in 2016. Clearly, the surge in the number of remote workers, up +103% in just a decade, and the number of remote hours worked has enormous consequences for both the individual remote worker and the company for which that remote worker works.
In 2012, Gallup’s research data indicated that an optimal ratio of remote/offsite working and onsite working was 20% remote/offsite to 80% onsite. In 2016, that ratio is 60-80% remote/offsite to 40-20% onsite!
This 60-80% remote/offsite working is directly related to boosting the worker’s engagement with the company. As long as they can have “face time” with their friends and managers at work on a regular though shorter basis, remote/offsite workers report being more connected with the company when they have the autonomy and flexibility to work on their own the majority of their working time. Not only do remote/offsite workers feel more engaged with the company when working “on their own” 3 – 4 days a week, remote/offsite workers report feeling that they are most effective and make their best progress when they have this home office balance.
Despite a few large companies such as IBM and Yahoo pulling the pull on remote/offsite working, such data has a reassuring effect on company leaders and managers who are involved with and/or promoting remote/offsite working. The 60:40 – 80:20 ratio of working remotely/offsite indicates that workers’ engagement levels with their respective companies are more than satisfactory. Workers working these ratios report that they have a best friend at work and that they have sufficient opportunities to learn and develop in their professional lives. They also report feeling that they make more progress during their workdays than those who work remotely 2-3 days a week or at the lower ratios of 40:60 – 60:40. Remote/offsite working at the optimal 60 – 80% or 3-4 day a week ratio enhances, does not deter, engagement and progress.