Debating the Remote Work Option

The trend of allowing office employees to work remotely is lagging employee expectations, according to the 2018 Staples Business Advantage Workplace Employee Survey. 40% of office workers surveyed claimed that this is a key factor for them in selecting a new employer, yet only 35% of companies allow the option.

Many have cited inadequate investment in technology, lack of trust in workers, and resistance to change as factors holding back the trend. The fact that the tech sector has the highest adoption rate (52%) seems to support these observations, as these companies tend to have progressive management policies and superior technology.

Divided opinions on the issue shows how complex the issue is. 43% of employees claim they are more focused in the office, yet 57% sometimes work remotely because it removes the distractions of the office. Furthermore, the quality of the office environment is very important to workers – 41% will not accept a job offer without first seeing the work environment.

Managers, concequently, need to look beyond the trends when considering the remote work option. If people are working at home to avoid distraction, maybe this is a sign that the office environment needs to be improved. Furthermore, the option is about the team as well as the individual. For example, if employee X is allowed to work remotely, could this employee’s absence harm the productive of other employees?

Work patterns are evolving, but office work is ultimately about people working together in a productive manner. Regardless of workplace trends, this is a fundamental that’s not going to go away.

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