17 May, 2021
Over the past year of COVID-related lockdowns and social distancing regulations, huge numbers of businesses have seen some or all staff needing to log in remotely. As you’d expect, the subsequent glut of work from home productivity studies across a vast range of sectors has yielded some highly enlightening results.
Within thousands of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), this extremely challenging time has also functioned as a valuable experiment in the feasibility of employee home-working - an enforced proof-of-concept, in a sense. For many, the results are now raising various interesting and urgent questions about what the office of the future might look like.
Now that we finally look to be approaching a long-awaited return to ‘normal’ work regulations, a key issue for companies of all sizes will be evaluating the best way forward in terms of how and where staff are based. In particular, plenty of business owners will be keen to assess whether their ongoing commitment to expensive physical office space is still a worthwhile investment, or if a gradual transition to flexible virtual office solutions might make better long-term financial sense.
The answer, of course, will vary greatly from company to company - but whichever boat you find yourself in going forward, the following 35 working from home productivity statistics make for interesting reading.
Hundreds of academic, media, and business analysis outlets have performed updated work from home productivity studies over the past 12 months. The likes of Forbes, Microsoft, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), YouGov, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have all added their own findings and insights to the growing debate, with certain key trends appearing fairly well established at this point.
For the most part, results tend to suggest that working from home can indeed improve overall productivity rates for many employees - but certain conditions need to be in place for the virtual office model to provide optimal benefits.
UK financial comparison site Finder calculated that over 60% of the British adult workforce were logging on from home during peak lockdown. Of these, almost half expressed an intention to continue doing so on a permanent or partial basis after the enforced period was over.
In specific productivity terms, the same study group revealed that:
A similar survey by academics at Cardiff University and the University of Southampton unearthed similar sentiments - but this time, their study group of 6,000+ workers went even further:
Further, an official UK ONS study found that, in 2020:
However, as noted earlier, these findings aren’t without their caveats. Chief among these are the need for remote staff to have an appropriate work space set up - ideally either a reasonably well-equipped home-based virtual office, or access to a suitable hot desk/coworking space.
Moreover, it’s clearly very important to support home-working employees with the same kinds of tools and technologies they’d expect to use in a traditional office. Statistics to back this up were referenced by Workplace Insight magazine, in an article reiterating claims that around half of UK workers feel more productive at home:
While it does indeed seem that there is a convincing business case for working from home to be made as we emerge from a difficult year in lockdown, it’s clear that any move towards a more flexible approach to remote staffing will need to be handled carefully - check out our top tips here.
If you’d like to chat with a member of the Hoxton Mix team about our range of powerful and virtual office solutions - including industry-leading virtual mailroom and virtual phone system services from as little as £15 per month, with free anytime cancellation - then don't hesitate to drop us a line.