Remote Workers Log More Hours, More Engaged Than In-Office Peers

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More good news for federal agencies that are embracing telework.

There’s more good news for federal agencies that are embracing telework and other flexible work schedules: Remote workers in general are logging more hours and are slightly more engaged than their in-office counterparts.

That’s according to a new Gallup study on employee engagement, which found that workers who spend at least some of their work time in a different location than their co-workers actually work four hours more per week than those who work entirely on-site. Remote workers, for example, log an average of 46 hours per week, compared to 42 hours for on-site workers, Gallup found.

Of the 25 million employees surveyed, nearly 4 in 10 (39 percent) said they spend some amount of time working remotely or in locations apart from the co-workers.

And even despite working those extra hours, remote workers have a slight edge over their in-office peers when it comes to engagement. Gallup found that these workers are slightly more engaged (32 percent) than employees who work on-site (28 percent). 

At the same time, there were differing levels of engagement depending on the number of hours an employee worked remotely. Those who spend less than 20 percent of their time working remotely were the most engaged, at 35 percent, while those who spend more than half or all of their time working remotely have similar engagement levels to those who spend all of their work time in the office, Gallup found.

Employees who spend just part of their time working remotely “likely enjoy an ideal balance of both worlds – the opportunities for collaboration and camaraderie with coworkers at the office and the relative sense of freedom that comes from working remotely,” the report stated.

At a time when some companies – namely Yahoo! and Best Buy – are scaling back or cancelling telework programs, the Gallup findings show that perhaps a balanced approach to remote work, rather than halting these programs altogether, is the key to keeping employees engaged, productive and collaborative.

Is telework enabling employees at your agency to be more productive and engaged? And is a balanced approach key to making federal telework programs a success?