The COVID-19 pandemic and the need to safeguard public health saw several companies switching to the remote work model.
Realizing how it posed no evident threat to employee productivity, the outsourcing sector joined the league of remote companies too.
While evaluating remote work benefits, numerous studies found that remote workers may have increased productivity and greater job satisfaction.
In this article, we’ll look at some key statistics related to work from home productivity and how these are true for the outsourcing industry as well.
We’ll also cover some handy tips that outsourcing companies could give their remote workers to ensure greater work from home productivity.
8 interesting statistics on work from home productivity
Here are the top productivity data points that’ll give you better insight into the world of remote work in 2022:
1. Working remotely has increased employee productivity by 47% post COVID-19
Several surveys over the past few years have found that remote work has resulted in better project turnarounds and increased productivity.
For example, a study by Prodoscore reported an increase in employee productivity by 47% percent from March 2019 to March 2020. This was despite employees working from home due to the pandemic. This study was conducted on 30,000 Prodoscore users based in the United States.
The report further shared insights like:
- Employees were most productive on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
- Employees did the most productive work between 10:30 am to 3:00 pm.
- Friday was the least productive day, followed by Monday.
Another two-year study by Great Place to Work revealed that most remote workers reported stable or increased productivity when they started working from home. This study was conducted on 800,000 employees of Fortune 500 companies in the United States. It compared their productivity level from March-August, 2020 to March-August, 2019.
When it comes to the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) sector, a recent study also revealed similar findings. A major outsourcing company in Asia used the time tracking and productivity app Time Doctor to see how remote work affected its agent’s productivity.
Time Doctor’s productivity reports revealed that:
- There was a 56% decrease in unproductive time when working at home vs. in the office.
- There was a statistically insignificant change in social media use (less than 1%.)
- Remote work allowed outsourced agents to work more weekend hours.
- Allowing work from home for more than six months increased the company’s NPS score (Net Promoter Score) by 10%.
2. 37% of remote employees take regular breaks to stay productive
While taking breaks might seem counterintuitive for boosting productivity, it’s one of the best ways of doing so.
Supporting this, a 2020 study by Airtasker stated that 37% of remote employees preferred taking regular breaks to stay productive throughout the day.
And, even though remote workers took more official breaks than in-house employees, the study revealed that taking breaks actually led to higher employee productivity.
This study was conducted on 1005 full-time employees in the US, out of which 505 workers were working remotely.
3. On average, remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month
Staying at home distraction free has allowed remote workers to work more and get more things done than office workers.
The 2020 Airtasker survey revealed that remote workers worked 1.4 more days monthly or 16.8 more days per year than their in-office co-workers.
These remote workers were less distracted by co-workers and, as a result, they spent 30 minutes less talking about non-work-related topics. These employees also spent 7% less amount of time talking to their office management.
On the contrary, office workers reported spending 37 minutes each day not getting their work done, while remote workers only lost 27 minutes of each working day for the same.
4. Working remotely after the pandemic would make 87% of employees happier
While it took a while for employees to get used to working from couches and kitchen tops, everyone eventually got into the groove.
It became increasingly appealing to workers to work from home in the city of their preference. They started to see perks like getting better sleep, eating healthier home-cooked meals, and getting time to do some exercise, thereby having a better work-life balance.
The same sentiment resonated in the “State of Remote Work 2021” study by Owl Labs. It stated that working remotely after the pandemic would make 84% of the respondents happier. Many of these employees were also ready to take a pay cut for the remote work option.
Owl Labs conducted this study in collaboration with a leading remote work consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics and surveyed 2,050 full-time American workers.
Here are some of the other studies that revealed similar and supporting findings:
- The “State Of Remote Work 2021” study by Buffer found that 94% of the employees working remotely during the pandemic would like to continue working remotely for the rest of their careers.
- An Owl Labs study revealed that 59% of its survey respondents were likely to choose an employer that offered hybrid work or remote work options. The study also found employees to be 22% happier working from home than in an office setting.
- Time Doctor clients saw an increase of 10% in the ENPS score (Employer Net Promoter Score) when they allowed their call center agents to work remotely. These BPO employees also performed better working from home.
- The labor statistics of the 2020 Flex Jobs report revealed that remote workers had a higher workforce happiness index at 75 out of 100, compared to in-office employees (71/100.)
5. Saved commute time leads to increased productivity
Besides becoming more efficient by staying distraction-free at home, employees have also become more productive by saving transit time.
According to a 2020 study by Jose Maria Barrero (Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology, Bloom) and Steven J. Davis (Chicago Booth), US workers were commuting an average of 54 minutes daily before the Coronavirus. However, a pandemic-led shift to remote work resulted in a whopping 62.5 million fewer commuting hours per day.
Another Airtasker survey reports that, on average, an office worker saved 8.5 hours a week by not commuting, adding up to 408 hours a year.
When taken into account, almost three-quarters or more of the productivity gains reported by remote firms resulted from reduced commuting time. And, if we were to eliminate the commute factor, researchers estimate only a 1% productivity boost in the post-pandemic remote work environment.
6. Remote work technology is a crucial factor for productivity
The widespread acceptance and use of remote work technology have significantly boosted employee and team productivity.
According to a model developed by Morris A. Davis, Andra C. Ghent, and Jesse M. Gregory, remote work technology will help boost productivity by 46% by the end of the pandemic.
However, to sustainably boost productivity, companies need personal information about employee work habits and how each person spends their work hour. They can easily derive such insights from time-tracking tools, task management software, and productivity analytics systems.
In fact, according to the latest Time Doctor case study, keyboard and mouse activities tracked by Time Doctor were the second most significant performance indicators (after weekend work hours).
Productivity tools like Time Doctor can help BPO companies track key performance indicators (KPIs) like:
- Attendance and schedule adherence.
- Check-in and check-out times.
- Total hours worked on each task.
- Number of calls handled.
- First response time.
- Average handle time.
- Abandon rate.
- Web and app usage.
- After-call work.
Such time tracking data can help BPO companies identify how and where employees spend each work hour. It can also help them set future productivity goals for each team member and the remote team collectively.
Watch this webinar featuring Time Doctor’s customer study of a 450-seat call center that transitioned from on-premise to fully remote with surprising results.
7. Remote work leads to better mental health
A person’s work environment can significantly impact their mental health and productivity. Likewise, remote work (telework) has had its impact too.
As per Flex Job’s 10th annual survey (2020), 70% of its respondents said that being a remote worker or having a flexible work environment has improved their mental health. Out of these, 48% of employees said that having flexible work options has also allowed them to have a better work life balance.
Moreover, one in five respondents said that one of the biggest mistakes companies made was not offering mental health support during the pandemic.
8. Company culture influences remote work productivity
Business owners and decision-makers realize that company culture is critical in boosting individual and team productivity.
According to a 2017 survey by The Alternative Board, 86% of respondents believed that the company culture directly impacted productivity.
This remains true to the day.
A productivity study by Great Place To Work did a comment analysis on the respondents to prove this. It asked each person an open-ended question – “Is there anything unique about this company that makes it a great place to work?”
Some of the common phrases used by high-performing individuals included:
- “Catered lunches at home” – suggesting the power of perks for boosting employee wellbeing and productivity.
- “Genuinely loved” – indicating the feeling of belongingness in a workplace.
- “Positive atmosphere” – indicating what makes their company a great place to work.
The findings concluded that while perks helped bolster employee productivity in the early months of remote work, camaraderie and a positive work atmosphere sustained long-term productivity.
The above stats give us enough evidence to show that remote work (telecommuting or telework) does help boost WFH productivity.
Now let’s look at some things employers could suggest to their remote employees to become more efficient and productive.
6 helpful tips you can give your employees to boost WFH productivity
Whether you run a remote BPO or have employed knowledge workers in your KPO, here’s how your workers can boost their remote work productivity:
1. Choose a proper home office
While it’s tempting to work from the couch or bed, creating a functional office space at home can help boost their work efficiency and WFH productivity.
Ask your employees to choose a spot in a separate room with ample natural light and no distractions. Having a separate workspace also allows them to set healthy boundaries between work activities and personal life.
2. Follow a schedule
According to an Airtasker survey, 33% of remote employees believed that having set working hours was the most effective way to stay productive.
A schedule can help employees manage their workload and complete allotted tasks on time. It can also help them feel more structured and efficient and keep them focused throughout the day.
3. Keep a to-do list
Employers should encourage their remote team to write down tasks for every working hour. They could use a digital to-do list, Google Docs, or a physical day planner.
The team could also conduct daily or weekly meetings to discuss priority tasks for each employee so that everyone stays on track and meets their deadlines.
4. Take breaks
Taking shorter and regular breaks could lead to increased productivity.
Many WFH employees follow the Pomodoro Technique of taking a 5-minutes break after working every 25 minutes. This technique has proven effective in combating multitasking and improving concentration.
Employees can use this break to grab a healthy snack, check their social media feeds, drink water, talk to family members, meditate, etc.
5. Invest in quality WFH setup
For a remote work arrangement, employees must have all the necessary home office equipment at their disposal.
- A computer.
- Adjustable desk.
- Ergonomic chair.
- High-speed internet connection.
- High-quality messaging and video call tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, etc.
- Electric surge protectors.
- Power backup.
- Backup drives.
As a business owner, you could also provide a WFH allowance to each team member for setting up their office space at home.
6. Limit social media use
Social media is considered a top distraction at work.
Are your employees spending too much of their work time checking social media feeds or interacting with friends online?
In that case, you could suggest they log out of their social media accounts during work hours or at least turn off their notifications.
You could also use Time Doctor’s web and app usage reports to monitor the websites your employees surf the most during work hours. Likewise, employees could check their online activity to see where time is being wasted the most and correct their web usage accordingly.
Check out the other ways you could help your employees to be more productive and efficient at work.
The pandemic lockdown forced every industry, including the BPO sector, to face their fears about remote work.
However, the key takeaway from all the data points discussed above is that remote work or hybrid work is not only a viable option but a widely preferred modus operandi for employees worldwide.
If you’re planning to start your own BPO or KPO company, allowing flexible working options and using Time Doctor to monitor each employee’s work habits can go a long way in boosting WFH productivity.
Sign up for Time Doctor’s 14-day free trial to make WFH transition a smooth ride for your outsourced agents and ensure optimum WFH productivity even post-pandemic.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.