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Research shows majority of employees working remotely; number expected to rise

By Daryl Person | December 14, 2012 | Blog Posts | Employee Recognition White Papers | Engage Employees

According to data  collected by Wrike Project Management, the majority of employees (83 percent) work from home for at least part of their day. This data was released in March 2012, and it reflected responses from 1,074 employees with different levels of experience at their companies.

The statistics show most workers are willing to give up every day perks at the office for the opportunity to occasionally work from home. Such perks include free meals at work (78 percent), employer paid cell phone plans (54 percent), reductions in paid vacation time (31 percent), and a salary decrease (25 percent). These numbers show just some of the sacrifices employees are willing to make to qualify for telecommunicating opportunities.

Employees who have the opportunity to work remotely value it as one of the main perks of their job. Eighty-nine percent of respondents who work from home list doing so as one of their three top perks, along with reputation and salary.

The data also shows the number of companies that have offered telecommuting in the past, as well as the expected increase over the next few years. Listed below are some figures that represent this growth:

  • 2009: 43 percent of employees worked from home occasionally
  • 2012: 83 percent spend at least part of the day working from home
  • 2015: 66 percent believe their office will be fully virtual

Employees seem increasingly willing to forgo perks for the opportunity to work remotely. Three quarters would opt out of free meals provided by their employers and a quarter would take a reduction in salary, some interesting points for companies to consider when offering incentives to workers.

As Daniel Pink expresses in Drive, one of the three essential elements of motivation is AUTONOMY – or, the desire to direct our own lives.  As we continue to see an ever-increasing shift towards semi-remote workforces, managers should be encouraged by the opportunities to further engage and enrich the work experience by offering that flexibility to those employees who can effectively embrace that option. 

 Of course, this increasing trend presents new challenges to engagement as well.  It becomes even more difficult for managers to make direct, personal connections with team members that are not in the office. As a result, the bar is raised for finding unique and creative ways to connect with employees on a personal level.  Managers must find new tools and resources for providing meaningful feedback, validating work and recognizing above-and-beyond effort as a means for replicating the direct human interaction that is lost with remote, and, in some cases, semi-remote employees.  

 How have you addressed the challenges of keeping remote and semi-remote employees engaged?

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