Are you looking for a way to increase employee satisfaction and retention? One solution many employers have turned to is allowing team members to work at remote locations. The 2018 Global State of Remote Work from OWLLabs reveals how widespread the remote work trend has become and what managers need to know to implement this option successfully.
The folks at OWLLabs surveyed over 3,000 employees, managers and business leaders globally in order to compile this year’s remote work report. Overall, 56% of companies have a formal remote work policy. In the U.S., we are a bit ahead of the curve, with 85% either allowing some remote work or requiring all employees to work remote. On average, about half of employees work remote one day a week.
Why Employees Choose to Work Remote
In North America, employees opt to work remote for the following reasons:
- Increased productivity/better focus 18%
- Less stressful 7%
- Family work-life balance 7%
- No commute 15%
- Save money 3%
Analysts reported interesting findings based on gender. Male employees frequently cite focus and productivity as a reason for working remote. Men also say they like to work from home to save money.
As a manager, if you notice more people asking to work from home, these requests could also be a red flag. Is there a specific reason that your employees are having trouble focusing in your office environment? It’s worth checking with employees to see if you need to make improvements to the office space or culture.
When you give employees the option to work from home at least once a month, you’re increasing their satisfaction levels. Overall, 24% of employees who have this option are happier and more productive than those who don’t. Researchers also reported that younger employees, those ages 18 to 24, are the happiest group at work. On the other hand, employees at the vice president level don’t share those feelings. They are more likely than any other group to feel unhappy and unproductive. As a leader, you should be checking in with your vice presidents regularly to find out what’s frustrating them and map out a plan to improve their job satisfaction.
The OWLLabs study also encompassed the topic of learning styles and their impact on remote work. It turns out that men are more likely than women to be physical learners. In this learning style, employees excel when they can participate using physical objects or simulations. Interestingly, physical learners are more likely to choose remote work when they need to reduce stress. The same holds true for auditory learners, those who learn best through group discussions, listening and speaking.
As a manager, it pays to know your employees’ learning styles and their work preferences. When you sense an individual is feeling stressed about an upcoming project, suggest they work at home for a day or two. Their productivity will increase, along with their job satisfaction. And when they get a break from long commutes, they’ll feel they have more of a work-life balance.