Remote Work: Gauging Effects, Morale and Efficiencies of Employees Working Remotely
Remote work is a relatively new, prevalent and seemingly popular alternative to the traditional onsite at work dynamic—but is it what employers need, and is it what employees want?
As we view the world post-pandemic, we can anticipate the possibility of something similar appearing again. Many companies showed their resilience and the importance of being able to fully utilize technology to communicate and keep their businesses functioning when employees could not physically be on-site, due to unacceptable risks. Building new systems and a greater percentage of positions that can be permanently carried out remotely, may be a necessary and practical step for the sake of future operations across many industries. The energy industry is currently examining remote work and its potential as a standard employment option.
The Value to Employer and Employee
According to a remote work study by Owl Labs, many employees would be willing to work for less pay if given the option and the flexibility of remote work. Thirty-four percent of the workers surveyed were willing to take a five percent pay reduction; a larger 24 percent were willing to take a 10 percent cut to earnings, and astoundingly twenty percent of those participating in the study would take a reduction larger than 10 percent.
Improving Quality of Life
What are the reasons for an employee’s willingness to earn less? They are not that surprising. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed reported better productivity. Seventy-eight percent wanted to avoid the time sink of a commute. Nearly all (91 percent) wanted a better work-life balance. Seventy-eight percent simply valued the reduction in stress associated with working in an office environment.
Is Remote Work More Efficient?
There is often the perception that those who work remotely work fewer hours than their on-site counterparts, but this study and others have shown this not to be the case. While many of those working remotely initially work more hours because they are adjusting to being unplugged from the office environment, a third of those studied in the Owl Labs study said they worked over forty hours in a workweek because they simply enjoyed what they do, while a considerable 51 percent work longer hours to support their teams.
Employee Happiness and Loyalty
One of the primary takeaways from this study is reflected in a statistic that might have the largest effect on employee retention, productivity and loyalty. Eighty-three percent of those who participated in this study reported that remote work would make them happier; 82 percent of them would feel more trusted by their employer and 81 percent would recommend a friend to the company. Building a space, even if it is remote, where an employee can feel appreciated and safe is valuable in and of itself and provides exponential opportunities for those employees to innovate and produce, trusting in the leadership and support of a company without the limitations of the physical apparatus of an office environment.
From the statistics, we can tell remote work is growing in popularity among this nation’s workforce, but it is also evident it is not for everyone. Some enjoy the office environment, the structure it and a regimented schedule offers, along with the communal atmosphere. When you’re at the office of a great company, there is support and camaraderie and the sight of people visibly working with you—and some of us need that.
Remote work has shown to be a viable alternative to traditional on-site models during the trying circumstances of 2020. It has shown the advantage of flexibility enabled by employee resilience and the importance of fluency in communications and logistical technology. While we need to study its use further, refine training and support structures with it, not considering its use would be an oversight looking towards future circumstances that have proven to be uncertain.
At J MAR & Associates, we are committed to bringing the most relevant skill sets and practices to the evolving landscape of the energy industry. Together, we can build teams that can efficiently and effectively address concerns the future might offer.