Understanding why remote workers are more engaged can help your entire staff
One of the trends spurred by the widespread adoption of mobile technology and cloud services is working away from the office. This can mean working at home after hours and it can mean working while traveling for business (or vacation). Increasingly, however, it means working almost exclusively in a home office, shared office space that's separate from the rest of your organization, a coworking space, or any other location.
When I started my career as a writer just over fifteen years ago, I remember family members being flabbergasted that the Internet allowed me to work full time from home. Things have changed dramatically over those fifteen years and working remotely, or "teleworking" as the federal government dubs it, has become increasingly common. In fact, the federal government, an employer that is virtually synonymous with bureaucracy that moves just faster than continental drift, uses the term telework because it actively encourages the practice where it's feasible.
One of the presumed challenges of managing a remote workforce is that keeping everyone engaged, on target, and productive is harder than if they're all on the same space. I've never subscribed to that belief, but then again I've spent a pretty significant time working remotely (I'm even doing it at this moment while I write this.
It turns out that belief is often a fallacy.
Writing for the Harvard Business Review blog, business consultant Scott Edinger recently told the story of a company that discovered, to its surprise, that remote workers were more engaged and more in touch with their supervisors than employees that worked in the same office. Although the difference was small, it was still significant and worth noting.
Edinger identified four points that explain the phenomenon:
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