The common assumption by many traditional managers is that off-site employees don’t care as much about their jobs as those workers who come into the office every day ready to work. But new research into the issue is finding the opposite to be true. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), telecommuters are actually more committed to their work than conventional office workers. Furthermore, off-site workers rate their supervisor more highly and more enthusiastic about their jobs. A study out of Stanford University even found that telecommuters were 13 percent more productive than their office-bound colleagues.
To Scott Edinger of the HBR, this higher engagement is not surprising since he says bosses in the same office as their employees spend insufficient time with their team members while the challenges of long-distance communication increases the efforts taken to remain in regular contact with off-site workers.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘The only time I really spend with my manager is when we all get together for a meeting’ — and he’s just down the hall,” Edinger said.
Edinger goes on to say that technology and periodic face-to-face meetings are also used more often and more efficiently when dealing with off-site workers. All forms of electronic communications including videoconferencing, instant messaging, email, and phone calls all get much more use when a manager is staying current with remote employees. Real life meetings also become more useful as managers tend to focus more on including relevant discussion material, better collaboration efforts, and more problem-solving into the infrequent get-togethers.