Expert: Remote workers are more engaged

Though it may be hard to believe for many managers, one expert says that employees who work away from the office are more engaged in their jobs than their office-based co-workers. 

IT departments in many companies have begun setting up the technology necessary for employees to work remotely. Some organizations are allowing people to work off-site in order to expand the pool of potential employees and increase employee satisfaction.

But developing telecommuting programs and allowing more off-site work may have some other benefits, as well. Remote workers tend to be more engaged and committed to their work, says management consultant Scott Edinger in a recent blog post for the Harvard Business Review. They also think more highly of their managers compared to employees in the office.

Edinger’s insight is based on his recent experience working with an investment firm and examining the results of a 360-degree feedback survey. Employees who didn’t work in the same location as their manager gave slightly higher responses to questions in those categories.

Edinger said the differences in the results were likely due to the fact that when employees and their bosses are separated geographically, they both make greater efforts to communicate more often.

Is your organization starting to allow more employees to work remotely? If so, IT will need to take some steps to ensure that remote workers can stay in touch with the office and keep their productivity high. That includes:

  1. VPNs, encrypted laptops and other devices, and other tools to protect data security when it’s held or accessed remotely
  2. Videoconferencing, instant messaging, remote meeting applications, and other communication tools
  3. A robust remote support system and help desk staffers who know how to support remote workers, and
  4. Increased user training to decrease the likelihood that remote workers will need help from IT in the first place.

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