At the beginning of 2021, 38% of companies still hadn't communicated their intention to keep a permanent remote workforce or not.
This can be a mix of lack of transparency to share their current beliefs and a fear of sticking to working remotely.
To help managers decide which direction to go for, we’ve done the extended analysis of the benefits of remote work versus its disadvantages. If you’re still uncertain about what direction to go for, remember you can switch back to an in-office work environment or opt for a hybrid model instead.
Let’s get to the benefits of remote working for employers and how you can make sure you’re getting them for your business too.
Increased productivity [Yes, really!]
As the months passed in 2020, both employers and employees could admit that productivity while working from home has improved:
In fact, most studies done over the past 3-5 years show how remote workers can be at least as productive as their counterparts.
So what’s behind this productivity frenzy?
“Blame” it on more flexibility to work during their most creative hours, a more comfortable work environment, and asynchronous communication.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your team stays productive without burning out:
- Opt for a team communication or work management tool that keeps all information in one place and sends regular reminders of approaching due dates.
- Allow for flexibility to be a daily thing but don’t cut back on your KPIs.
- Run regular employee surveys and feedback sessions to get a feel of the general team environment and their potential challenges.
- Don’t just call up a meeting when you need to say something. Wait for important information and announcements to add up. Ask only the team members who have a say in the matter to participate and use one-on-one meetings for other issues.
- Let your team take full advantage of async communication. Bonus points if you’re managing a team that’s distributed across multiple time zones.
Happier employees who will stick with your organization
So we know they’re productive, but how happy are remote employees?
Even through a difficult year like 2020, remote team members reported a score of 75 out of 100 on the Happiness Workforce Index. Their in-office colleagues? 71.
This is because remote work provides a myriad of benefits for the individuals who is working from home:
- More free time
- Higher flexibility
- Increased freedom
- No commute
- Lower overall costs
Overall, employee wellbeing is boosted because managers now have to focus on the individual. No more snacks half of the team wouldn’t eat, no more “fighting” about what temperature to keep in the office, no more “I can’t believe they went home earlier”.
More opportunities to grow your team culture towards new directions
Strong remote team culture is responsible for keeping team members engaged, increasing your employee retention rates, and supporting any employer branding efforts to further grow your teams.
What’s keeping these teams bonded and thriving in their work culture?
Here are some examples from teams making the most out of their remote work life:
With a global employment platform as our product, it’s only natural for us to make having a transparent and strong remote culture our core priority. We engage in several asynchronous activities via Slack, and we also host regular team activities and meetups over Zoom—from having a French magician teach us his tricks to Poker sessions with a professional player.
"It's very important for us to maintain high levels of positivity and productivity. Because our team is remote, we make sure to always go over our company values: integrity, respect, dependability, reliability, consistency, and efficiency. We ask each other about our weekends and touch on personal matters when relevant in order to foster greater connection while video conferencing.
Because we’ve always been a remote working team, I host year-end parties in the Philippines every December for our 300+ member team. That way we can meet in person and learn together. When we come back to remote work after the retreat, we’re closer and stronger.
In 2020 instead, I sent a surprise dinner to every virtual assistant and their family to make sure they felt appreciated. We created several online contests and giveaways where people could submit videos and pictures to win prizes. Connection can decrease when working remotely so it's important that leaders and remote teams put forth an effort of staying connected in unique ways." - Pavel Stepanov, CEO @Virtudesk
The Remote Company
“At The Remote Company, everything starts with our values. Before we hire someone, they must read through them and agree to follow them. The cornerstone of our values is trust and personal responsibility. Without complete trust, remote work culture can’t thrive.
We also understand that remote work is different from the office—specifically in how different forms of communication connect people. We use asynchronous communication to ensure people can work in their own time zone, we record our presentations, and we use a variety of tools to involve everyone.
And of course, we have plenty of virtual events and social Slack channels for our team members to get to know each other and have fun!" - Karina Norkaitienė, People & Culture Lead @The Remote Company
“When managing our team, we emphasize the importance of connecting every day for a few minutes. Every morning we spend time chatting and catching up. This way, we keep up with any news and learn about how we can help each other.
When it comes to the benefits of a remote team, having flexibility with our schedules and working asynchronously is the way forward for us. We work collaboratively and also encourage one other to take breaks when needed.” - Erika Khanna, Content Producer @Officevibe
“A common myth I keep hearing is that working remotely disconnects employees from one another. This couldn't be further from the truth.
We've built a culture of celebration by sending our employees personalized boxes on several occasions. We do it to greet new hires, celebrate achieving milestones, as well as simply enjoy together (but apart) national holidays. Recently, we celebrated Fat Tuesday with donuts delivered to our employee's houses.
Apart from that, we get together every month for so-called product demos and organize occasional Zoom parties to hang out and catch up with one another. It's a challenge with the company growing so fast and people distributed around Europe, but it's do-able and helps keep our culture strong. Employees also report feeling more connected with one another. This converts into higher happiness and motivation rates.
One more thing that we've implemented is a system for recognizing each other's achievements that also helps boost morale. We use a tool called Hibob where each team member gives kudos to another person for helping them out or reaching an important milestone.
As for the benefits of allowing employees to work remotely and supporting a strong team culture, our team members are more likely to become advocates for the company. They recommend Tidio (as a workplace) to their network and share their work experience via social media, helping our HR department attract more talented candidates.” - Eve Melon, Head of People and Culture @Tidio Live Chat
“Celebration improves employee retention and culture but a majority of teams are spending less time socializing. This is no surprise given that it’s hard to recreate the magic of in-person happy hours and team lunches.
Celebrations are a core part of our DNA, but we too have had to go the extra mile to make personal and professional milestones feel special while remote. What that may look like in a given month: dedicated time (and a Slack channel) each week for sharing shoutouts and gratitudes, group cards to gather messages for teammate's birthday, company-wide activities like cooking classes or holiday parties, and coordinated DoorDash treats for everyone on super special occasions.” - Dalia Katan, Founder and CEO @Presently
“Alongside nurturing a growth mindset in your company, developing a learning culture brings our employees closer. It’s a catalyst for forming virtual groups that gather around a common goal or area of interest.
In the current remote work setting, employees can frequently feel isolated and lonely when working alone from their homes and far away from each other. That’s when taking upon a learning journey among teammates and colleagues can also be a team-bonding activity that helps them reconnect.
While providing hard skills courses and training is undoubtedly valuable, an awesome learning culture also means including non-work-related learning initiatives. For one, we organize regular work-related training activities such as group language lessons where employees learn groups Spanish, German, French, Greek, or English in groups. We also have a master class in Philosophy that helps far-flung employees find meaning in times of uncertainty.” - Ana Casic, Content Marketer @TalentLMS
A larger talent pool and customer service coverage
The ability for remote teams to tap into reach markets is an indisputable benefit of remote working for employers. Working with a diverse team allows companies to better understand different cultures, cater to specific requirements, and even provide customer support during all possible hours for a complete global extension.
At Panther, we let you focus on your business growth and team engagement while we take care of the administrative tasks—from providing the right benefits, doing background checks, ensuring labor law compliance, and more.
Remote work also accommodates the rise of the gig economy. Upwork’s Freelance Forward survey found that while 3 out of 10 professionals have quit their job to pursue a freelancing career, as many as 73% of HR managers will partner up with independent workers in the future.
Another benefit of working remotely is the huge list of costs you can reduce, like:
- Office utilities and rent
- Snacks, beverages, and other types of catering
- Hiring costs
- Cleaning services
- Extra taxes
- Recruiting and training
- Absences and employee attrition
These advantages of remote work extend to whatever your other general goals may be. Have you positioned yourself as a green company? Telework reduces greenhouse gas emissions with the right measures in place. Are you an employee-first organization? The flexibility and extra perks that working from home provide will let meet every individual’s needs right where they feel most comfortable—home.
To allow managers to focus on keeping their team happy and engaged, Panther takes care of the payroll and compliance issues for your global team.