According to Gallup research, there’s a remote work sweet spot that optimizes employee engagement and productivity.
An “optimal engagement boost” occurs when individuals work remotely 60% to 80% of the time (roughly three to four days a week), Gallup says. These employees are 31% more likely to “strongly agree that they make more progress in their workday” than those who work remotely fewer days per week. And employees who work remotely all of the time actually lose ground in terms of engagement and productivity—at least for particular types of work and job functions—because they miss out on some meaningful connections and conversations with colleagues during the week.
Gallup plans to explore the issues surrounding full-time remote work in an upcoming article. I’m looking forward to reading it because the “disconnect” Gallup refers to is often not the fault of remote workers. Rather it’s the result of poor performance management and communication practices—problems that employers must learn to resolve to fully leverage the advantages of remote work (e.g., lower costs, increased retention and productivity, and greater employee well-being, to name a few). You can read about these advantages in the recent Entrepreneur article, “4 Reasons Why Smart Companies Are Going Remote.”
What Else Drives Engagement?
Gallup’s research also reveals that high engagement is closely tied to how well employers meet workers’ developmental and personal relationship needs. When examining the most engaged employees (again, those working remotely three to four days a week), Gallup found they’re the most likely of all employees to strongly agree that someone at work:
- cares about them as a person;
- encourages their development;
- and has talked to them about their progress.
In addition, these individuals are the most likely of all employees to say they have opportunities to learn and grow.
Bottom line, working remotely gives employees flexibility to maximize their productivity, while working onsite enables them to interact face-to-face with coworkers and managers. It’s this “best of both worlds” approach—applied in the right proportions—that lifts engagement.
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