Are employees really more productive in teleworking than in the office?

For many French employees, the health crisis linked to covid-19 and more precisely the confinements have been synonymous with a new work organization from the office to the home. In fact, in recent weeks, teleworking has practically become the norm. However, its effect on productivity and business performance is debated today. What upheaval has this […]

For many French employees, the health crisis linked to covid-19 and more precisely the confinements have been synonymous with a new work organization from the office to the home. In fact, in recent weeks, teleworking has practically become the norm. However, its effect on productivity and business performance is debated today. What upheaval has this change caused? Is the pandemic permanently changing work patterns? Quite simply, are employees more productive in teleworking than in the office? We tell you everything!

When telework divides …

Since the resumption of the Covid-19 epidemic last October, the Minister of Labor, Madame Elisabeth Borne clarified that teleworking “ should be privileged as long as the health situation requires it and as much as possible “. If in normal times, teleworking cannot be set up on the employee’s voluntary basis, it can be imposed on the employer in exceptional circumstances, as is currently the case with the epidemic threat. Employees therefore “discovered” last March the virtues of working at home. On the business side, the benefits in terms of individual and collective performance are not automatic.

Also, remember that teleworking took a long time to establish itself as a serious alternative to work because in France, the office is still perceived as a “producer of social ties”. In 2019, only 5% of French employees teleworked at least 1 day per week. To this end, for a long time, many practitioners reported that teleworking employees were less productive and that, for many reasons!

In addition, with regard to the advantages one can find there: reduction of absenteeism or a better articulation of professional / personal life. Teleworking also allows the development of a culture of results, autonomy and responsibilities. However, there are also negative effects like:

  • Withdrawal of information from employees;
  • Less interaction than in the office;
  • More formal requests;
  • A waste of time dedicated to team coordination

Also, the loss of visibility in the company or the propensity to scatter is very present. In addition, isolation can eventually wear out some employees. There are also opposite effects to teleworking: the greatest danger is that of the employee who does too much. And yes, there are!

But still, we all know it: too often our concentration is strained in the office. Does that have an impact on our productivity? Recently, an American study showed that employees teleworked on average 48 minutes more per day compared to the data of the so-called usual periods. This is the reason why it is essential to set up a charter relating to teleworking because it is a good way to prevent any possible overflow on the part of the employee but also of the company.

However, it should be understood that productivity in teleworking strongly depends on the initial quality of its implementation within teams, but also on the quality of management as well as the nature of the tasks entrusted. The more the missions are framed, the more efficient the organization of teleworking will be and each company plays a primordial role in the latter.

To truly measure productivity in teleworking, it is imperative for the company to distinguish individual productivity from the collective productivity of employees …

Teleworking: individual productivity against collective productivity!

In the long term, individual productivity resists, unlike collective productivity. Indeed, it has been shown that depending on the sector of activity, employees lose efficiency on collective tasks because difficulties arise when it is necessary to coordinate activities remotely. Most companies therefore have reasons to remain hesitant about the benefits of the organization of work on collective performance. Indeed, when one works alone, the task is easily achievable. However, from the moment you have to coordinate, make decisions and review certain things, it is a little more complicated. Also, the more the employee is “trained” in teleworking, the more his productivity will be maintained or even increased. However, be careful, do not believe in “miraculous productivity”!

But still, at high doses, it would seem that teleworking would have harmful effects in the long term. This potentially means that a good dosage is to be found because when it really allows you to concentrate better, it can be a real plus. Everything also seems to prove that from a certain number of days per week, it becomes counterproductive. To increase productivity, it is imperative to lay down clear rules with limits. Everything is in the right dosage!

Obviously, to be sure to telework correctly and increase the productivity of the company, it is necessary to:

  • Review the method of management and steering of the teams;
  • Review collaborative use cases

Some practitioners have also said that to maintain productivity, you have to work much more than usual. An obsolete remark of all meaning …

Either way, teleworking requires a form of self-organization which is usually taken care of by the company. The latter is prepared and supervised! It must be thought out, structured and must require the right tools as well as information sharing.

Telecommuting: how to improve productivity?

Improving the well-being of the employee as well as his satisfaction is an essential link to his professional development. The latter must be heard and listened to, especially from a distance. Also, team spirit must be developed and managers have a primordial role. The latter must show availability and patience and the link with colleagues must be maintained. Clear objectives must be defined and detailed and thus productivity can be measured.

It should also be noted that the results must be shared with all employees and regular points must be organized. Empowering employees will also increase productivity!

In addition, setting up a performance management system to assess employee productivity would be a good tool. Indeed, this makes it possible to define performance indicators as well as to optimize the employee experience.

Ultimately, what should be remembered is that this epidemic crisis is teaching us that we must see teleworking as a “new” model of work organization. However, over time, should this be seen as a potential brake on growth or a considerable gain in productivity? Finally, teleworking and productivity would not be so bad! And you, what is your opinion on the subject?

If you need advice, on a new work organization to rethink , feel free to Contact us .

Our HRD in timeshare will be happy to advise you and assist you in the implementation.

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