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Amid Calls for Return to Office, Study Shows Productivity Surges In Fully Remote Businesses

Striking a balance in work arrangements is becoming increasingly important.
Cover Image Source: Fully Remote Companie | Photo by Fauxels | Pexels
Cover Image Source: Fully Remote Companie | Photo by Fauxels | Pexels

A new report has revealed that most fully remote businesses are more productive when compared to hybrid and fully in-person workforces. These insights contradicted the popular opinion held by some leaders that the best way to operate a business was in person.

Image Source: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels

Recently, tech giants like IBM and Amazon successfully implemented their Return-to-Office policies. The RTO movement is currently drawing a significant number of US workers back into traditional office spaces. However, a recent report suggests that this shift may not yield the anticipated impact.

According to the Impact of Technology on the Workplace study, which surveyed over 1,000 businesses across various industries, 64% of fully remote businesses reported high productivity levels, compared to 54% of fully in-person businesses and 53% of businesses that mandated in-person attendance.

Woman working on a Kaptop with a child in her lap | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Pixabay | Pexels

It was observed that fully office-based businesses reported the lowest levels of productivity, reaching 7%, while remote workers capped at 2%.

When workers were asked why they felt working from home increased their productivity, the reasons cited included poor equipment at offices, background noise, and a lack of private spaces for making calls. However, it was also noted that 34% of remote businesses still encounter productivity challenges, such as distractions from family members.

The report further revealed that physical offices encounter fewer hurdles when recruiting new staff. 44% of fully remote companies found talent acquisition relatively easy, compared to 32% for in-person companies and 31% for hybrid teams.


The study also highlighted the significant role of AI in enhancing productivity. It revealed that 72% of businesses extensively utilizing AI reported high organizational productivity, contrasting with only 51% of businesses less reliant on AI.

The majority of businesses are employing AI to automate routine and repetitive tasks, with 32% utilizing it for activities such as scheduling, calendar management, and data entry. 

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Image Source: AI | Pexels | Photo by Pixabay

Unsurprisingly, the concept of Return to Office (RTO) policies is met with disfavor among employees who prioritize flexibility in their work arrangements. Another survey indicated that many employees would consider leaving their jobs if required to return to the office on a full-time basis.

"Many studies have found that flexible work schedules improve well-being, engagement, and organizational commitment. Offering flexibility can mitigate the risks of burnout, and ensure employees are maximizing their productivity," said IBI Researcher Carole Bonner, MET, MSAS.


Employers, on the other hand, offer various justifications for urging employees to return to the office, citing factors such as unused office space costs and the perceived lack of collaboration. "Employers that are seeing improved attraction and retention rates, and attracting top talent, are often the ones offering the most flexibility," Bonner told HRO Today.  

Amid these differing viewpoints, finding a middle ground becomes imperative. The Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) measurement report highlights that onsite workers tend to report lower levels of happiness.

"Happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%," writes Sean Achor, author of the book "The Happiness Advantage."