Study Shows Mixed Remote Work Productivity Levels During Pandemic

Two-thirds of business executives believe remote work will continue in some form beyond the pandemic, despite a clear divergence in views over employee productivity when working from home, according to a report, Reshaping Productivity, by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

While 39 percent of survey respondents witnessed an increase in productivity in their organizations since the pandemic forced the adoption of remote work practices, 32.6 percent reported a decline in productivity, and the remaining 28.5 percent saw no change.

The global survey of more than 360 business executives was conducted in May 2021 by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Kyocera Document Solutions to investigate the implications of remote work on organizations, employees and productivity. In-depth interviews were also conducted with experts in the field from companies such as Google, Mercer and the Human Capital Leadership Institute.

The study found a strong positive correlation between increased productivity and employees’ support for the uptake of digital tools, such as collaboration tools, digital workflow solutions and online project management applications.

“This supports what we’ve been seeing among our own clients managing the effects of the pandemic on their workplaces,” said Gareth Fletcher, corporate sales manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa.

Case studies of Kyocera clients and interviews with senior leadership within the global company provide further insight into the report results and the role of digital solutions in driving business growth.

“Those that have invested heavily in the right tools to enable their employees to work from home are definitely benefiting in terms of productivity gains, business continuity and resilience, and innovation in the current environment,” Fletcher added.

According to the survey, one in five executives who witnessed a decrease in productivity said it was because they hadn’t fully implemented the remote working capabilities needed for their staff to work from home effectively.

The report concludes that it is the companies that have adapted quickly and built their capacity for flexibility throughout the pandemic who will benefit most in the future workplace, whatever it looks like.

“Our view is that the future of work is hybrid, and this report goes a long way to providing businesses with actionable insights to help them make a successful transition to a permanent remote or hybrid work model set-up,” Fletcher said.

Discover more insights into remote work productivity and download the full report by visiting the Reshaping Productivity ebook download page.