Why Remote Working is a Smart Move
The future of work is remote, and in no industry is this truer than in programming and software development.
A globalized workforce allows companies to harness the skills of programmers from around the world, saving time and money in the process. Many companies, including Stripe, ESPN, have capitalized on working with top developers no matter where they live.
As with most things in business, productivity and cost are the dominant factors when choosing between remote and co-located workplaces.
Why remote workers are more productive
Studies repeatedly prove that remote employees get more done. They perform better, get work done faster, and take less sick time.
Employees also love remote work. Remote teams are happier, and people who regularly work from home report higher job satisfaction. That leads to higher engagement and better productivity.
Many studies have shown that remote working has valuable effects on employee productivity, happiness, and general wellbeing. For example, this article on Harvard Business Review points to an experiment in a Chinese call center, where employees were given the opportunity to volunteer to work from home for nine months.
Half the volunteers were allowed to telecommute; the rest remained in the office as a control group. Survey responses and performance data collected at the conclusion of the study revealed that, in comparison with the employees who came into the office, the at-home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit but also more productive.
One of the most commonly cited studies on remote worker performance was conducted by Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom and other scholars. The 9-month study showed a 13% performance increase.
One survey found 77% of workers were more productive when working remotely; 30% of those surveyed reported that they did “more in less time than when they worked in-house.”
Remote workers confirm this themselves, with 76% claiming that they’re more productive when working remotely because they experience fewer distractions, and 62% attributing their productivity to a less noisy work environment.
Remote teams take less sick leave
While working from home, employees take fewer breaks. They also stay healthier and take less sick leave. Most importantly, working remotely allows people to take better care of themselves. They can sleep a little later and adjust their work schedule to allow time for healthy activities.
In fact, 89% of employees believe that a flexible job would help them take better care of themselves, and 77% think it would help them be healthier in general by allowing them to eat better or exercise more.
Remote teams log more hours
Gallup’s study, State of the American Workplace, found that remote employees log four extra hours every week. This was confirmed in a study of AT&T workers who worked five hours more per week when working from home.
Another survey calculated that remote workers put in an extra 1.4 days more every month compared to office workers.
Because of the flexibility that working from a distance allows, employees are also more likely to spread their work throughout the day in different ways. They’re more likely to work before and after business hours.
How to sustain performance while working remotely?
With the right policies, leadership can combine the strengths of agile teams, such as self-motivation and the ability to shift course, with the new productivity potential of working remotely.
Creating an Effective Working Environment
Principle 5 of the Agile Manifesto states: “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.”
For remote team members, ‘environment’ covers everything from the technical and physical infrastructure, the tooling they have available as well as access to appropriate support.
Replicate agile rituals while working remotely
Regardless of the environment, agile teams should stick to foundational agile rituals, such as sprint retrospectives and daily stand-ups, to prevent their work environment from hindering their effectiveness and to assist with engaging employees.
Cultivate bonding and morale
Team members should encourage one another to introduce their pets and family members and to show any meaningful items in their working space. Working remotely, teams need to make a more conscious effort to be social, polite, precise, and tactful — to ensure everyone feels just as safe contributing remotely as they did in person.
Conclusion — Why Remote Working is a Smart Move
The work of your remote teams as well as those physically present in your offices should be aligned toward the achievement of your company’s vision and goals. Simply put, everyone should be moving and working in the same direction.
Many remote teams value the need for regular, scheduled check-ins by their employers. They need guidance and reassurance that any work that they produce is not veering away from the company’s goals. If so, adjustments can be made for realignment.
Remote teams can also report if they are having problems or challenges with the work. They can also be kept updated on any changes or important events that are taking place within the company.It is possible to retain a high performance within teams, even when they are dispersed.
Here, frequent communication and building a trusting environment are crucial. Agile rituals come especially handy to create connections and a supportive community. Leaders should lead with purpose in mind, set expectations while remaining flexible, and encourage vulnerability.