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The Effect of Remote Work on Employee Performance: Insights and Strategies

The COVID 19 pandemic has led to drastic changes in the way people work worldwide. Remote work became a necessity when most countries implemented lockdowns and social distancing measures globally to contain the virus’s spread. Despite the pandemic’s overwhelming challenge, remote work has proven to be a viable option for most organizations, resulting in an increase in demand for virtual teams and a redefining of the traditional office workspace. The natural question that arises is, what effect does remote work have on employee productivity?

This long-form blog post aims to provide a comprehensive insight into the effect of remote work on employee performance, detailing empirical evidence and suggested strategies to improve employee productivity in remote work.

The Effect of Remote Work on Employee Performance

The benefits of Remote Work outlined:

Reduced Travelling

Remote work reduces commuting time and travel expenses. Time normally spent on looking for a parking spot or beating traffic can be engaged in other productive activities. Remote workers can walk from their bed to their desk, dressed in comfortable attire, hence promoting work-life balance.

Increased Productivity

Remote workers are more productive than their office-based counterparts. According to the 2019 State of Remote Work Report, 84% of remote workers believe that they tend to accomplish more while working from home. This view was also supported by the results of the Stanford University study, indicating that telecommuters tend to complete an extra day’s work when compared to their office-based colleagues. The flexibility in deciding when to work, without the confines of a 9-to-5 workday, enables workers to manage their time and work on tasks when their energy and concentration levels are at their peak.

Job satisfaction

Remote work employees report higher job satisfaction levels resulting from a variety of factors, such as autonomy, creativity, and flexibility. Workers who have control over their working schedule can incorporate personal activities, spend more time with family and friends, and pursue hobbies, among other things.

Lower Costs

Remote work increases financial savings for businesses and employees. Organizations that implement remote work options can save on rent, utilities, and other overhead costs associated with running a physical office space. Remote workers save on transportation and operational costs while having access to the same job opportunities and benefits as their office-based counterparts.

The downsides of Remote Work:

Unfortunately, Remote work can lead to negative impacts on employee productivity. For example:

Emotional exhaustion

Remote workers report higher levels of emotional exhaustion than office-based workers, mainly due to the blurred lines between work and personal life. The flexibility in working hours can cause remote workers to overwork, leading to burnout and a decline in productivity.


Remote workers may feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues, leading to a sense of demotivation with time. According to Regus’s study, 41% of remote workers regarded isolation as their primary challenge when working from home.


Working remotely may bring several distractions, such as household chores, children and pets, and social media, among others. Remote workers must establish an environment free of distractions to maintain focus and enhance their work productivity.

Strategies to Maximize Employee Performance in Remote Work

Remote work comes with its sets of challenges and limitations, resulting in the need for effective strategies to maximize employee performance while working remotely. Implementing the following strategies can ensure optimal performance in remote work:

Clear Expectations

Clear expectations are the foundation of a successful remote work arrangement. Managers need to communicate the team’s goals, objectives, and expected outcomes clearly to their team members using easily understandable language. Additionally, it is vital to explain the metrics of measuring these goals.

Provide the Right Tools

Remote workers need a range of technology tools and equipment to execute their work efficiently. Providing the required tools such as virtual messaging apps, video conferencing software, and cloud-based storage can assist remote workers in collaborating effectively and ensuring work continuity despite working remotely.

Regular Communication

Effective communication is critical for remote workers to feel connected to their colleagues and managers. Regular virtual check-ins, team meetings, and informal conversations can make the remote workers feel included in the company’s culture and stable support system.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

Remote workers must achieve a work-life balance, just like their office-based counterparts. Encouraging and allowing flexible schedules, promoting taking breaks, setting boundaries, and prioritizing individuals’ wellbeing can improve work satisfaction and reduce employee stress levels.

Promote Social Connection

Remote workers may feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues, becoming demotivated with time. Engaging in social connection activities, such as virtual coffee breaks, team-building exercises, and online games, can help remote workers feel included, maintain positive energy, and result in increased productivity.

Provide Opportunities for Development

Remote workers need to learn and attain professional development continuously. Providing virtual training, learning opportunities, and professional development opportunities can help remote workers feel valued in their jobs, remain motivated, and enhance their work productivity.

Track Employee Performance and Recognize Achievements

Remote working lacks the physical presence that an office provides, making it challenging to track employee performance. Organizations need to establish a performance tracking method unique to remote environments and recognize employees who achieve exceptional results. Recognizing employee excellence can boost employee morale, promote healthy competition, and promote consistent excellent work performance.


Remote work has proven effective in promoting flexibility, work-life balance, and increased productivity, as evidenced by multiple studies. However, the downsides, such as isolation and emotional exhaustion, are equally valid. Organizations need to understand how remote work affects their employees and implement strategies to maximize employee productivity. Providing clear expectations, promoting social connection, ensuring that remote workers have the right tools and technology, and offering opportunities for personal growth and development can boost remote workers’ job satisfaction, work productivity, and foster a better work-life balance. Above all, organizations should strive to strike the balance between productivity and employee wellbeing, adopting best practices that align with their work culture and business goals.

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