The global shift to remote work was thrust upon the professional world unexpectedly, with equally unexpected results. Increased productivity, improved job satisfaction and environmental benefits have been observed around the world. While the shift to working from home correlates with these desirable outcomes for businesses and their employees, a number of business leaders, workers and supervisors don’t wish to see remote work remain the norm

Apart from subjective preferences or habit, there is compelling data speaking to both the benefits and drawbacks of remote work. As we navigate a new generation of professional, technological and economic change, we should look to this data for guidance. Let’s explore the pros and cons of remote work, and ways to build sustainable professional systems that are better for business leaders, employees and those they serve. 

What Makes Remote Work a Success

When office workers were sent home in 2020, many business leaders expected to see a huge drop in productivity. The opposite turned out to be true. This shouldn’t have come as a shock. CTrip, a Chinese travel agency, demonstrated the efficacy of remote work during a 2013 experiment which showed a 13% increase in productivity, improved job satisfaction and less turnover. Similar results have been seen in recent studies within the US, including three highlighted by Forbes which also showed improvements for workers’ mental and physical health. This is key to what makes remote work successful. With more autonomy and trust, no burdensome commute and more opportunities for exercise and saving money, remote employees are happier. 

The type of job is also important. Whereas teachers and students struggle with remote learning, people with more autonomous work, from customer support to finance and accounting jobs, soared. Success for remote work is solidified by regular team and manager check-ins, a dedicated home office space, and occasional meetings that allow employees to socialize remotely.

What Makes Remote Work Fail

Working remotely can fail for a number of reasons. Young children in the home can hurt parents’ ability to focus. Some people rely on in-office engagement to satisfy social needs, resulting in a sense of isolation at home. Technology is also a factor. Poor internet speeds can shut people out of video conferencing while insufficient internet security at home can pose a risk to company data. Roles that rely heavily on collaboration can also take a hit when facetime is replaced by FaceTime. 

Other reasons remote work fails include insufficient oversight, cultural attitudes and a lack of workplace innovation. Remote workers are often not given the same tools, tech or opportunities to succeed as their in-office counterparts, as noted by executives in a study conducted by Vyopta Inc. ​​Because hybrid work is expected to be the norm by 2024, businesses need to invest in technology and staffing solutions to stay competitive and attract top talent.

Devise a System That Works for Your Team

The benefits that remote and hybrid work have for both employees and employers are exciting, as are the benefits for the economy and the environment. Despite some situational and individual drawbacks, it is now necessary for companies to devise remote and/or hybrid work models for their teams. According to research from Harvard, an intermediate hybrid model drives the most original and successful work. With teams working the same 1 or 2 days a week in the office, workers enjoy both the freedom and flexibility of remote work with the value of face-to-face interaction, collaboration and mentorship.

Whatever form your remote or hybrid work model takes, now is a good time to start planning. 

Build Stronger Teams with Accountability Resources

As the business world changes, companies need recruiting partners who can source and place the right people to deliver needed results. Accountability Resources has been connecting Austin businesses with top talent to fill their finance and accounting jobs for 15 years. We have keen insight into the industry, business needs and local market, and our recruits all hail from CPA, MBA, and Big 4 backgrounds. As industry leaders, our firm has grown by listening to the needs of our clients and delivering staffing solutions that exceed your expectations. We provide our clients with a true partnership, prioritizing your success to build lasting relationships.

Whether you need remote talent for accounting and finance jobs, are seeking to build your in-office team or looking for strategic solutions for a hybrid transition, we are here to help. Let us know what we can do by getting in touch with us today.

Explore other job market insights here.