The idea of working remotely has been a hard one for Generation Xers to grasp. From a traditional office setting where everyone sat in a closed office space dressed in suits and worked for 8 hours straight, to the flexible working environment where suits have almost been discarded and closed office spaces are a thing of the past, Generation Xers are almost lost. This change has mainly been driven by millennials, who now make up the bulk of the workforce.
Since millennials started entering the workforce, they have slowly revolutionized the workforce, in a bid to be more productive and achieve the ever-elusive work-life balance. Millennials prefer a flexible and fluid working environment and in return, they offer maximum productivity. With these changes being inevitable, even employers are reshaping the workplace since they cannot ignore the needs of more than 50% of their workforce. It is, therefore, in the interest of employers to make their working environments millennial-friendly if they want to attract top talent as offered by this tech-savvy demographic.
Technology has definitely had its share of impact on this shift, as it allows people to work with one another across regions with ease and collaborate in real-time despite the time and geographic differences in existence. Reports have indicated that more and more millennials are now negotiating for the flexible and fluid working arrangement, in return for maximum productivity.
Here are the reasons why working remotely has been key to the performance of millennials;
Remote Working Promotes Work-Life Balance
The tables have shifted and apart from financial gain, millennials also want to have a work-life balance. This means that they want a good working environment but they also want a job that gives them time and space to build their private lives. For millennials, success is not just about having a job that pays well, it is also about having a great family which offers support outside work, and enough time to pursue their personal hobbies. All these promote their physical and mental well-being, translating into improved productivity.
With the help of modern technology, it is easy to see that millennials are not simply being entitled or asking for too much as they can still work and deliver even with remote working arrangements.
2. Remote Working is Practical
The rise of technology has facilitated globalization, which goes to show that this same concept can be applied to the workplace to improve productivity. With most jobs being tech-based, working remotely is practical and with the use of modern communication tools, people can collaborate, attend meetings, and hold discussions without having to be physically present. This makes work productive as people are able to complete their work on time regardless of their location.
One of the key issues facing the modern working environment is the need to commute to and from work which takes up an average of 2 hours per day and which many people find exhausting. However, with remote working, this is eliminated and people are able to get right at work without having to spend time in traffic. The practicality of working remotely is an enticing option for millennials who believe more in productivity than making appearances. Notably, even employers are increasingly happy with the increased level of productivity and reduced cost of operating an office since they spend less on resources such as the internet, sitting space, and utilities.
3. More Time is Spent Working
The traditional working environment works on a strict schedule. People clock in at a defined time, go for lunch at designated times and leave at a certain time. In between, employees take short breaks. In total, people’s lives revolve around work and a defined timeline. However, millennials are increasingly looking for an arrangement that allows them to tailor their work and in return, they are giving maximum productivity.
A report released in 2017 by the roads and public works department of Nairobi showed that Nairobi has the worst traffic in Africa with the average person spending 62.44 minutes in traffic. This time goes up when it rains or when there are inconveniences such as minor traffic accidents. What this translates into is time lost in traffic, which would have otherwise been spent in productivity. It is, therefore, no wonder that millennials are choosing to work remotely, where they get productive immediately and are less likely to get exhausted just from commuting to work.
4. Remote Working Promotes Employee Engagement
One of the key concerns for many employers in the modern day is how to keep employees engaged. Engaged employees are productive, committed to their work and the organization they work for and put more effort into their work. All these translate into increased productivity, for the benefit of the company. One way of promoting employee engagement is through remote work, as this has been found to improve work-life balance and reduce time lost in commuting. A study conducted by BrighterMonday showed that while African millennials prefer working from the office, they still prefer flexible working hours, which they indicated meant that they had the freedom to choose their hours, where they could work from home for a few hours and from the office when they needed to. This research showed that millennials prefer a working environment that allows them to work when they are their best level of productivity and this promotes engagement, as it shows that the needs of employees are taken care of.
5. Remote Working has Fewer Distractions
The office environment is not exactly the most distraction-free environment. There will always be that colleague who has an interesting story about the weekend, or another one playing loud music, or that one who stops by your desk when you are in the middle of compiling an important report. All these distractions can result in lost man hours, which lead to reduced productivity. However, a good working environment at home is often devoid of distractions, as one can simply decide to create a conducive environment for work. Thus, a job that would have taken several hours while in the office can be covered in a few hours and this creates time to do more. As a result, one’s productivity increases.
As the world changes and millennials take center stage at the workplace, a lot is also bound to change, aided by the uptake of technology. Remote working is now a reality that many employers and employees are embracing, with phenomenal results. With remote work comes advantages such as improved work-life balance, increased employee engagement, fewer distractions, and less time wasted on commuting. The result is better productivity, which is the goal of every employee and every company. The trick is to find what works for the organization and for employees, so as to strike a balance.
Would you prefer working remotely? Share your ideas in the comments section.