- The 2018 Global State of Remote Work report by OWL Labs, a video conferencing hardware company, found that 56% of employers worldwide offer either a completely remote workplace or a hybrid form of remote work. The survey of more than 3,000 employees across the globe also found that employees who work remotely at least once a month are 24% happier than those who never work off-site.
- In other highlights in the report, 52% of the respondents work remotely at least once a week, and as the number of employees working off-site grows, so do the reasons for working remotely. Interestingly, the top reason for working remotely shifted from maintaining a healthy work-life balance in 2017 to productivity and focus in 2018.
- Leading the pack of remote workers are finance and insurance professionals, at 40% of respondents. The report also showed that 32% of respondents never work remotely and 16% of companies worldwide are fully remote.
The question of whether remote work will become the default option in how work gets done might no longer seem unreasonable. Flexible work is increasingly seen as a powerful alternative to standard, 9-to-5 scheduling. The shift in reasoning for working remotely from maintaining work-life balance to being focused and productive could mean that employees see working off-site as a way to increase performance, rather than just as a means of making time for personal responsibilities. For instance, most employees in a recent FlexJob survey believe they would be more productive working from home.
But remote work isn't for every employee, as the OWL Lab report indicates. In fact, remote workers are often stressed out and feel isolated from office activity, according to 51% of respondents in a WorldatWork report. HR needs remote work policies that address what positions are eligible, what tools or equipment remote workers need to do their jobs, and how their schedules will coincide with office workers. Also, HR will need to work with managers in recognizing signs of burnout and feelings of isolation in remote workers.