Working From Home Productivity Statistics (Is Remote Work a Good Idea?)


These working from home productivity statistics offer valuable insight for anyone looking to weigh the costs and benefits of this non-traditional work environment that has become the norm.

An unprecedented number of people around the world are working from home right now—whether they want to be or not. For some, it’s been a nightmare. For others, a taste of freedom.

But is it actually effective? Is it a good idea in general to work remotely?

Let’s take a look at some of the most significant working from home productivity statistics to see what they say.

Long commutes account for 25% of attrition

In a survey of 1,004 U.S. employees (about half of which worked remotely), Airtasker found that approximately 1 out of 4 respondents had quit a job due to the long commute. In fact, remote workers saved an average of 34 hours per month due to not having to drive to and from the office.

It might be mind boggling to think that a quarter of the population would undergo such a serious life change just because of a daily drive. But studies have linked increased commute time to decreased life satisfaction, and it’s even reported that people with longer commutes are more likely to suffer depression and tend to get less sleep.

Since hiring new staff is such a costly endeavor (in time, money, and energy), companies can boost their overall productivity with more remote employees who will be less likely to turnover.

Remote workers spend more time working and less time being distracted

That same survey from Airtasker compared how both types of employees spent their time throughout the work day.  

Office workers spent about 37% more time being unproductive when they were supposed to be getting work done. As a result, the average remote employee actually worked almost on and a half extra days every month.

In fact, when employers tracked computer usage through screen and mouse movement monitoring, office workers were discovered to be looking for ways to distract themselves a full 17 percentage points more often than remote workers.

Remote workers struggle more to maintain work-life balance

Working from home isn’t all sunshine and buttercups, of course. 29% of remote employees surveyed by Airtasker reported struggling to balance their work time with their regular life, compared to just 23% of traditional employees.

Honestly, it is surprising that the difference wasn’t even greater. When you work from home, it can be difficult to “turn off”. Without a physical space to enter and exit, you have to actively force yourself to separate business and leisure.

Perhaps the fact that remote employees are so much more productive during work hours makes it not as tough as we might imagine for them to decide how to balance their time.

Remote work boosts performance by 13%

One study conducted out of Stanford followed the performance of 503 call center employees who were randomly selected to work from home. The researchers looked at two metrics in particular: minutes worked per shift and calls fielded per minute.

After following both work-from-home and call center employees for 9 months, they discovered that working from home boosted the performance metrics by a combined 13%.

This might not seem like too much, but the company being studied employed some 16,000 workers. Once they decided to scale up their work-from-home efforts, they were able to see significant boosts in profit and productivity across the board.

Productivity of remote employees can increase by as much 45%

Of course, there is no magic number that dictates how much more productive you will be if you work from home. It varies from person to person and even industry to industry. Some people, of course, will even thrive better in an office environment.

But some businesses have found incredible success in switching to a remote working model. JD Edwards found that their remote employees performed at least 20% more efficiently than office employees. And Compaq found productivity gains to range from a mere 15% to as much as 45%.

Working remotely makes you better at creative tasks…  

A study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization found that people who telecommuted tended to have more positive outcomes in creative endeavors than office workers. This is attributed to the fact that rigid structures can often inhibit creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking.

But worse at boring tasks

On the other hand, that same study found that office workers were more productive when it came to mundane tasks. The theory is that boring tasks like checking email are much easier to get distracted from than creative ones. Combine that with the fact that there is a lot more to distract you at home than at the office, and you’ve got a recipe for procrastination.

Remote workers spend less time on communication and more time on the stuff that matters

Given those working from home productivity statistics about mundane versus creative tasks, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that remote employees spend more time on core work tasks and less on communication than their office-bound counterparts.

When working from home, employees spent almost 68% of their time performing non-communications tasks—the stuff that really matters. Office workers, on the other hand, only allocated 63% of their time to these core tasks.

How is working remotely working out for you?

These working from home productivity statistics seem to imply that, on average, people are more efficient at home than in the office. But every statistic is just one piece of a much larger puzzle.

Do you currently find yourself working from home, whether by choice or not? How is it working out for you? What are you doing to stay productive at home and maintain your work-life balance?

Let us know in the comments!

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