The age-old debate of whether remote work increases productivity has taken on a new level of significance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some swear by the perks of working from home, others fear it’s a productivity killer.

So, what’s the truth? Can working from home really boost your output, or will it leave you feeling like a couch potato?

Recent studies have attempted to answer the questions about remote work productivity, and the results have been mixed. Owl Labs’ report found that remote workers in the US were 22% more likely to feel productive in their jobs than on-site workers. However, these remote workers worked an additional 1.4 days per month compared to on-site workers, increasing their risk of burnout.

The question of whether working from home increases productivity is complex, and the answer varies depending on the individual and the job. This article explores the impact of working from home on productivity, delving into the many advantages and disadvantages.

Quick Summary

  • There are a variety of flex working models, including work-from-home, remote work, hybrid work, office decentralization, and flexible work.
  • Employees overwhelmingly favor flexible work — and they want more of it. Survey after survey proves that employees feel more productive and focused when they’re given the option of hybrid work.
  • Organizations are reporting 5 key trends arising from remote work, including an increase in coworking, flex, and hybrid spaces, rethinking office space function and design to support workers, the expansion of recruitment and talent to a global scale, a significant cost reduction for companies eschewing traditional offices, and an overall increase in manager-employee trust.
  • There are several ways to support remote work productivity, including innovative workspaces, better time management, a culture of flexibility, and the use of the right software and tools.

Working From Home vs Remote Work

Working from home, remote work, flexible working — what do all these terms really mean? Do they all refer to the same thing?

Although these terms are all related to the concept of flexible work arrangements, there are some key differences. We’ll explain each model and its trends below.

remote worker

Working From Home

This work model involves employees working from their own homes instead of commuting to a physical workplace. This could be a full-time or part-time arrangement.

The US Census Bureau notes a considerable uptick in people working from home between 2019 and 2021. During this period, the number of people primarily working from home tripled from 5.7% (roughly 9 million people) to 17.9% (27.6 million people).

Remote Work

Remote work means working from any location outside a conventional office. This can include working from home, but it can also include coworking spaces, coffee shops, or even outdoor areas like beaches. So although working from home is a type of remote work, not all remote work is done from home.

Upwork research highlights the growing trend of remote work, with approximately 36 million Americans expected to embrace this work style by 2025.

different flexible working models

Hybrid Work

In a hybrid work model, employees split their time between working from home and working from their employer’s physical workplace. Hybrid work merges on-site and remote work, giving employees the flexibility to divide their time between the office and remote environments.

Hybrid work has become increasingly popular, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. An AT&T study projects that this blended model will skyrocket from 42% in 2021 to 81% by 2024.

Here’s an interesting article on keeping hybrid workers engaged.

Flexible Working

Flexible working gives employees the freedom to decide when, where, and how they work. This can include working from home, but it can also include flexible hours or job sharing.

CNBC data reveals that 67% of workers say they feel more empowered to take advantage of flexible working arrangements at their companies — a significant increase from 26% pre-pandemic.

Office Decentralization

Office decentralization involves moving away from having a centralized physical office. Instead, companies disperse their office spaces across multiple locations.

This could mean multiple smaller “satellite” offices or coworking spaces in different places. CBRE findings show that 39% of companies plan to expand their office portfolios within the next three years.

How Does Working Offsite Increase Remote Work Productivity?

With remote work exploding over the past few years, the debate about whether it increases productivity has intensified.

Some managers hold “productivity paranoia” and fear that their remote workers are not as productive as they would be in the office. In fact, half of all business leaders believe that when employees are working “out of sight,” they don’t work as hard.

But as the debate between management and employees continues, one thing is clear: employees overwhelmingly value flexibility. A McKinsey study shows that between in-office or remote working, 87% of employees prefer working remotely.

Despite some managers’ concerns, a closer look at the evidence suggests that remote work does, in fact, boost productivity. And there are facts to prove it.

remote work productivity precentage

  • According to an Owl Labs study, 62% of remote workers feel more productive when working from home.
  • Stanford University’s research shows that remote workers are 13% more productive than their in-office colleagues.
  • FlexJobs found that employees with flexible schedules are 29% more productive and 53% more focused than those with traditional working arrangements.

5 Trends Emerging From the Rise in Remote Work

As remote work becomes the new normal, it’s not just employees’ professional and personal lives that are affected. The working world is shifting, and companies need to adapt to ensure their remote workers remain engaged and productive.

trends emerging from the rise of remote work

Here are five key trends shaping the new world of work and what they mean for remote workers’ productivity:

Rise in Coworking Spaces

The remote work boom has resulted in a remarkable expansion of available coworking spaces. Research and Markets anticipates the global coworking spaces market to grow by $14,124.67 million between 2022 and 2027, and the rising number of freelancers, startups, and remote employees looking for professional workspaces will propel this growth.

Unsurprisingly, companies searching for flexible office space solutions are also getting in on the coworking trend. Not only are coworking spaces beneficial for remote work productivity, but they also provide a sense of community and collaboration among remote workers.

Reinvention of the Office

As remote work becomes more prevalent, companies are rethinking the purpose and design of their physical offices to ensure remote work productivity.

A Harvard Business Review article highlights the transformation of offices into collaborative social spaces that foster employee well-being and productivity. Companies are also investing in technology and digital tools to facilitate communication and collaboration among remote teams.

Global Talent Acquisition

Remote work has made it easier for companies to access talent from anywhere in the world. This can lead to increased innovation, creativity, and improved employee performance.

Many companies are taking advantage of this by hiring remote workers from other countries. This trend has both created new opportunities for workers in countries with lower costs of living and allowed companies to tap into a more diverse and global talent pool.

HR Brew reports that 54% of organizations operate in at least two countries, tapping into a diverse range of skills and expertise.

Cost Reduction for Companies

Remote work can lead to considerable cost savings for companies. By allowing employees to work from home or other remote locations, companies can save money on office space and related expenses, such as rent, utilities, and office supplies. According to a blog post, startups can save up to $10,601,000 annually on remote workers.

These savings can then be invested in remote work productivity tools like collaboration software, project management tools, and communication platforms.

Read more on that topic here.

Nurturing Trust

Fostering trust between managers and remote workers is crucial for maintaining morale and productivity within an organization. Without trust, managers may dictate what remote workers should or should not do. This hinders creativity and innovation, which can lead to a less productive team.

Many at-home employees feel that their managers lack trust in them — often due to close monitoring during work hours. An Owl Labs study reveals that 44% of employees are concerned about potential micromanagement.

The Advantages of Remote Work

Working remotely has multiple potential advantages, many of which can increase employee productivity. Let’s look at a few of them.

benefits of remote work

Less Travel Time

Commuting can be a source of stress for some employees and take up a lot of their day. Before the pandemic, US workers spent an average of 54 minutes commuting each day.

For those working from home, travel time to and from work is reduced to zero (barring those few minutes of walking from the bedroom to the at-home office).

Fewer Interruptions

Working remotely can provide a more focused and productive work environment for some. Employees aren’t subject to the same interruptions and distractions as those in a traditional office setting.

According to a study by FlexJobs, distractions at the office take up 78 minutes of the work day compared to just 43 minutes of the day when working from home. With fewer interruptions, employees can better concentrate on their work and complete their tasks more efficiently.

Better Work-Life Balance

Without the necessary time and stress of commuting, remote workers have more time for healthy activities, like exercising, hobbies, and cooking at home. This contributes to better physical and mental health and, therefore, improved employee well-being and productivity.

According to a study by Owl Labs, 33% of fully remote employees say they have a better work-life balance, compared to 25% of hybrid working employees and 17% of fully in-person employees.

The Challenges of Remote Work

Just as there are perks to working remotely, there are downsides.

remote work challenges

Let’s take a look at a few of these consequences.

Isolation and Loneliness

Remote employees may feel detached from their colleagues and company culture, potentially leading to loneliness and reduced remote work productivity.

A study involving over 1,000 remote workers across 55 countries revealed that 21% of participants experienced recurring loneliness.

In addition, that impacts employee collaboration and engagement.

Limited Access to Resources

Remote workers may not have access to the same resources and equipment as those in a traditional office setting.

One common problem is technological difficulties, such as unreliable connectivity. In a study by Slack, almost 1 in 4 employees (24%) recognized unstable remote connectivity as a challenge.

Overworking and Burnout

Without clear boundaries between their work and personal lives, remote workers may find it difficult to disconnect from work, leading to overworking and burnout. A recent study found that 51% of workers were concerned about experiencing burnout due to consecutive calls when working from home. This can have a negative impact on their mental health and job performance.

5 Tips to Increase Remote Work Productivity

Increasing remote work productivity comes down to helping employees feel organized and in-control of their work and workday.

tips for increasing remote work productivity

Let’s look at some best practices for employees working remotely to prevent challenges like loneliness and burnout.

Create a Schedule

Creating a consistent schedule for work and personal activities can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and stay on task. This could include setting specific work hours, scheduling breaks and meals, and allocating time for personal activities.

Mix It Up

Prevent the monotony of working and living in the same space by using coworking spaces. Or if your company is using a hybrid work model, visit the office on certain days. This change in your environment can be refreshing, helping to foster social connections and camaraderie with your colleagues.

Time Box Tasks

Designate timeframes for tasks to stay focused and motivated. Try using the Pomodoro Technique, which includes working for a set duration (typically 25 minutes) followed by a brief break.

Set Boundaries

Establish boundaries between your work and personal life to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Set limits on your work hours, avoid checking work-related messages outside of work hours, and create a physical separation between your work and personal spaces.

Create a Designated Workspace

Establishing a dedicated workspace can help minimize distractions and encourage a healthy work-life balance. Allocate a section of your home for work purposes to mentally separate your professional life from your personal one.

For more cool tips on improving productivity watch the insightful video below:

5 Tips for Managers to Support Remote Workers’ Productivity

It’s important for managers to support their employees who are working from home. Here are six tips for managers to support WFH employees and boost their remote work productivity.

Encourage a Work-Life Balance

Encouraging a solid work-life balance can help remote workers stay motivated and focused. This can involve setting clear expectations around work hours and communication, as well as promoting healthy habits like exercise and mindfulness.

Don’t Micromanage

Trust forms the foundation of a successful remote work environment. Giving employees autonomy and trust can foster a more positive work culture and increase productivity. Managers should prioritize the quality of the work produced over the quantity.

Build Trust With Your Employees

Trust between managers and remote employees can boost morale and productivity. Regular check-ins, transparent communication, and professional development opportunities are essential to fostering it.

Embrace Flexibility

Accommodating diverse work arrangements shows employees that they are valued and respected. This can involve offering flexible work hours, allowing employees to work from different locations, and encouraging creative problem-solving.

5 tips for managers to increase employee remote work productivity

Use the Right Software

Using the right software and technology can help managers optimize communication and collaboration with hybrid employees. OfficeRnD Hybrid is a hybrid work management platform tailored specifically for companies and organizations transitioning to the hybrid way of working. It includes useful features such as, but not limited to:

  • Desk booking
  • Meeting room booking
  • Collaborative scheduling
  • Advanced analytics

All these tools allow hybrid and remote teams to remain connected and productive and ensure a smooth workflow within the hybrid work realm.

Watch the introductory video below that showcases the challenges that OfficeRnD Hybrid solves:

Also, don’t forget to educate them and yourself about the impact of remote working on taxes.

Before You Go

When done correctly, remote work can increase productivity. And it’s on the rise.

The way we work is becoming more flexible, with remote and hybrid models, like hot desking, increasing in popularity. Companies need to build a culture of trust, autonomy, and work-life balance to manage their remote and on-site staff.

OfficeRnD Hybrid is the perfect solution for companies looking to facilitate flexible and hybrid working. It helps you easily communicate with remote and on-site staff, build a culture of trust, and improve remote workers’ productivity.

The software also includes collaboration-boosting features to entice employees to return to the office for in-person interactions.

With OfficeRnD Hybrid, employees can:

  • Keep track of their favorite colleagues and invite them to work from the office.
  • Effortlessly book desks and meeting rooms on an interactive floorplan directly from the apps they’re already using
  • Easily schedule in-person meetings with their colleagues

Discover how our OfficeRnD Hybrid can help create a more flexible, productive, and collaborative working environment for your team. Start for free with OfficeRnD Hybrid.


Does remote work have a negative impact on productivity?

No, remote work does not have a negative impact on productivity. While each employee is different, research shows that being able to work remotely can improve employees’ productivity.

According to a survey conducted by Owl Labs, remote workers are more productive than their office-based counterparts. 62% of remote workers report higher productivity.

What is remote productivity?

Remote productivity refers to the ability of individuals or teams to efficiently and effectively perform work tasks while working remotely. The working location of a remote employee is outside of a traditional office environment, such as a coworking space or at home.

Remote productivity includes collaborating with colleagues, managing projects, and communicating with customers, all while using technology to stay connected and productive.

Does remote work increase productivity?

Remote working improves productivity for many people. It eliminates many of the distractions of the traditional office environment and provides more flexibility and control. However, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and may not be suitable for everyone.

According to research on remote work, 62% of remote workers report higher productivity, while just 11% feel less productive.

What makes remote work successful?

Remote work can be successful when certain factors are in place. Some steps to take include the following:

  • Set clear expectations and goals
  • Provide the necessary tools and resources
  • Promote a healthy work-life balance
  • Offer flexibility in terms of work hours and location
  • Foster open communication and collaboration
  • Offer support and feedback
  • Trust that your employees are working diligently and responsibly

Does working from home increase productivity?

Working from home increases productivity when done in the right way. It’s important to note that each person is different.

According to a study of over 30,000 U.S. employees, even one day per week spent working from home could boost productivity by 4.8%.

However, remote work can also lead to isolation and stress as the line between work and home life blurs, and there are concerns about its potential negative impact on productivity. This is where hybrid work comes in. Hybrid work models allow you to leverage the benefits of remote work and in-person work for the best of both worlds.

What is the biggest problem with remote work?

One of the biggest challenges of remote work is isolation and loneliness. Without regular, in-person interactions with colleagues, remote workers can feel disconnected. Remote work can also lead to blurred boundaries between an employee’s work and personal life, making maintaining a healthy work-life balance difficult.

Miro Miroslavov
CEO and Co-founder of OfficeRnD
Miro Miroslavov is a software engineer turned into a tech entrepreneur. In 2015 he co-founded OfficeRnD - a leading flex space and hybrid work management platform. As a CEO at OfficeRnD, he grew the company from inception to a leading software vendor that serves thousands of customers worldwide. He is a big fan of flexible working and is on a mission to "Making Flexible Working the Way of Working".