The research team looked at all research studies in the field published in English from 2000 to 2021 and found 43 scientific articles that analysed the relationship between teleworking and productivity. Most studies found that teleworking contributed to better productivity, with no negative effects on quality or such factors.
In a recent study that includes over 500 European business leaders, most of them say teleworking is more productive. Similarly, a new Sifo survey shows that one in two office workers get more done when working remotely.
What the employees themselves say
The studies focused on the views of employees and managers showed a clear pattern: those who had voluntarily chosen teleworking themselves experienced increased efficiency or productivity. The opportunity to choose also had a significant impact on the willingness to stay employed in the organisation.
“The opportunity to choose teleworking is just as important as actual teleworking for the employee’s willingness to stay,” Gunnar Bergström says.
”One size does not fit all”
However, some studies found that teleworking led to poorer performance.
Closer analysis revealed a pattern of more positive results regarding companies in the same industry, or staff in the same profession with specific job tasks, (e.g. number of phone calls answered) than in comparisons between different types of organisations which relied on more general ways of measuring job performance (for example individuals’ general performance).
“Although teleworking is not a simple panacea, for example in terms of leadership and health and safety management, we claim that when used correctly, it can potentially contribute positively to both productivity and employee performance," Gunnar Bergström says.
Text: Douglas Öhrbom