Boosting Remote Work Productivity: Insights, Statistics, and Effective Time Tracking Strategies

Remote work can bring numerous benefits and advantages to both employers and employees. It eliminates commutes, which is good for the environment, provides more flexible work hours, and widens the talent pool employers can access. 

But what are the effects of remote work on overall employee productivity, performance, and efficacy? What do the studies, statistics, and various surveys have to say about remote work productivity? How does it compare to office work? This article aims to answer all of these questions and more.

Boosting Remote Work Productivity: Insights, Statistics, and Effective Time Tracking Strategies
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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Remote Work Productivity Statistics

The jury is still out on whether working from home full-time can lead to more productive and engaged employees. A lot has changed in the past couple of years, and companies worldwide are still trying to figure out which types of jobs can be performed remotely on a long-term basis without negatively affecting productivity. 

As exemplified below, some remote jobs show a steady and manageable increase in productivity levels compared to office work. On the other hand, there were remote positions that seemed promising in the beginning but failed to bring the expected results long-term. Here are the details:

Increased Productivity Among Remote Teleworkers 

A Stanford study analyzed the performance of 16,000 people working as call-center operators or teleworkers. The study group consisted of both remote and in-office employees. After a period of 9 months, the collected data showed that remote employees were, as a whole, 13% more productive than those working from an office.

The study outlines one possible reason for this finding – remote workers tend to request fewer sick days compared to office workers. Instead of using up sick days, which can sometimes negatively affect their pay, remote workers chose to push through their sickness and continue working. The remote nature of their job allows them to work from the comfort of their homes, and the lack of commuting saves them the extra physical strain.

The fact that they took fewer sick days led to an overall increase in the number of minutes remote teleworkers spent on calls compared to office workers. The numbers, as revealed in the study, equal 9% more minutes per single shift or 4% more calls per minute in favor of remote workers. Adding those two numbers gave them the 13% increase in remote work productivity. 

So, when it comes to call-center operators and teleworkers, the data somewhat clearly favors remote work settings. Remote employees are able to complete more calls, which according to their set KPIs, translates into them being more productive than regular office workers in this particular job area. 

Completing Tedious Tasks Works Better at the Office 

Before the term “remote work” came into play, there was another term associated with this type of work setting – telecommuting. These two terms are essentially interchangeable, meaning they are both used to describe the same thing. So, why are we mentioning telecommuting?

In 2012, a study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization analyzed 125 people on the effects of telecommuting on their productivity.

Purported findings were inconclusive, and the scope of the study wasn’t big enough to allow researchers to make broader claims regarding remote work productivity (in this case, telecommuting) and regular office work. But, the interesting thing that they did find, and that could still be applicable to today’s remote work settings, is that when it comes to completing boring tasks, the findings of this particular study favor regular office workers

This means that any type of work that a specific employee finds boring or less engaging will, on average, take more time to complete in a remote setting as opposed to a regular office environment. The specific reasons for this are not detailed in the study, and the researchers behind it recommend further examinations. 

What’s relatively safe to assume is that regular office workers might be more efficient at completing more boring tasks than remote workers due to increased and direct management oversight. Regular office settings allow managers to check up on their team members and their work in person, which may serve as an additional motivating factor that further encourages employees to complete tasks that they find boring or less engaging.

The same study shows a drop in productivity when all of the workers in a specific company choose to telecommute/work from home.

Having Remote Co-Workers Can Negatively Affect Employee Performance

A 2019 study examined the data from around 11,000 employees in Europe and found that teams with hybrid or remote co-workers exhibit poorer performance when compared to teams that operate in a regular office environment. 

The main negative effects on performance that this study establishes and tries to contextualize are connected to the lack of shared norms and information, which increases the likelihood of conflict and antagonism between remote co-workers. These negative co-worker exchanges are some of the main reasons for decreased performance in remote work settings. 

This study also stipulates that the more hours an individual employee spends working from home, the less productive they become. The findings greatly favor regular office workers, showing them as 70% more productive in comparison to remote employees, according to the data and methods used by the researchers for this particular study.

Now, it’s important to note that even though 2019 wasn’t that long ago, the world and the entire work landscape have changed a lot. A lot of the problems that this particular study talks about have been largely ameliorated by various types of remote work software. 

Remote Work and Software Solutions

A more recent study, analyzing the data from around 800,000 employees over the period of two years, has concluded that a remote work setting does, in fact, increase or, at the very minimum, maintain the same level of productivity compared to a regular office environment.

This means that a remote work environment doesn’t lead to a decrease in employees’ performance and productivity levels. The performance and remote work productivity are either commensurable or increased in comparison to regular office levels.

Now, one thing that this study doesn’t talk about is the reasons behind its findings. Some researchers suggest that the cause of increased productivity might be connected to technological advances, especially when it comes to project management and time-tracking software

Others believe that a larger talent pool, which remote work most definitely provides, is the main culprit of better productivity levels. Higher-quality employees produce better work and do so more quickly, leading to a general increase in performance and efficacy. 

The Main Differences Between Remote and Office Work

The Main difference between remote and office work

Remote and office work are two very different approaches to accomplishing job responsibilities. Both of them have the same end goal – successful and efficient completion of all work tasks; but the way these two types of work environments go about achieving that goal is distinctly different. Some key differences between remote and office work are:

Work Setting/Location

The biggest and most obvious difference concerns the physical location or work setting where employees perform their job. When it comes to regular work, employees usually commute to their designated workplace (e.g., an office or a specific job site). On the other hand, remote work allows employees to perform their job obligations from any location as long as they have a stable internet connection. This could be the employee’s home, a co-working space, libraries, coffee shops, and the like.   

Work Hours

As opposed to the regular 9-5 work structure, with some remote work positions, you have the option to choose your work hours. The only thing the employees would request is for the employees to complete their deliverables on time or fulfill a daily work quota.

Communication and Co-worker Interactions

In regular or office work environments, face-to-face communication and co-worker interaction is the primary norm. Team members and their managers usually engage in direct conversations, hold in-person meetings, and collaborate in the flesh, so to speak.

Remote work is different in that regard, as most of the communication and collaboration efforts rely heavily on various digital and communication tools (i.e., email, messaging apps, video conferencing software, and similar). 

Employee Engagement and Work Culture

The nature of regular office work allows it to facilitate more compelling and overall stronger team bonding and employee engagement levels. When workers are all physically present in the same location, there is more room for social interactions, promoting engagement and specific company culture in a more spontaneous way. 

On the other hand, remote work requires more conscious and deliberate actions (usually undertaken by managerial or executive parts of the workforce) to build collegial relationships and create a culture that focuses on the positive and productive aspects.

Employee engagement is much more difficult to gauge in a remote workforce, as managers usually interact with their teams or team members sporadically. And, when they do interact, it is mostly through a video or a digital messaging platform, where it’s much easier to hide certain aspects of a specific employee’s attitudes towards the company that employs them.

Employee Productivity 

When it comes to productivity levels and how they compare between regular office and remote workers, the jury is still out. For some job positions, like teleworkers, the data pretty much shows that they are more likely to be productive in a remote work setting (as referenced above in a study done by Stanford).

However, there are also studies that dispute the efficacy of remote work, claiming that it can be disastrous to overall employee productivity and performance levels.

Factors That Influence Remote Work Productivity

factors that influence remote work productivity

Here are some of the most common factors that can have a big influence on remote work productivity:


One of the key factors that can have a negative effect on remote work productivity is the lack of a dedicated workspace. The location where remote employees perform their job is crucial to their productivity levels, performance, and efficiency. 

Having a workspace that is as free as possible from distractions, fully equipped with all the necessary tools for performing job duties, and comfortable enough (meaning furnished with ergonomic furniture) to sustain a person for the entirety of a single workday can have significant effects on productivity. 

Productivity, Communication, and Time-Tracking Tools

One of the main staples of remote work is a heavy reliance on various digital tools and solutions. These tools can vary and be used for things such as project management, communication, time tracking, etc.   

The main goal of all of these digital solutions is to help remote workers or their managers better organize and plan workflows, eliminate or minimize distractions, allow for better prioritization of tasks, streamline many processes, and even automate certain aspects of daily work. Choosing the right digital tool(s) can significantly affect remote work productivity, for better or worse.

Self-Discipline and Time Management

A regular work structure (e.g., 9 am to 5 pm, Mon-Fri) doesn’t always apply to remote workers. So, for them to be as or more productive when compared to regular office workers, they need to have a modicum of self-discipline and some time management skills. These skills can be acquired and improved through time-tracking and various other productivity tools.

Social Factors

Not having enough social interactions can harm remote work productivity. Some remote workers have reported increased levels of loneliness, which can significantly increase stress levels and the chances of burnout. To fix this, companies are using online communication platforms that allow for virtual team-building exercises, non-business-related conversations with colleagues, and various other methods aimed at facilitating social connections between team members.

Work-Life Balance 

Finding a balance between work and personal obligation is an important part of long-term remote work productivity. Remote workers should focus on establishing clear boundaries between their work and living spaces, especially if working from home. Additionally, they should take regular breaks, try to include exercise into their daily schedule, and work on developing healthier lifestyles. All of those can have a positive impact on their work-life balance as well as their remote work productivity.

Tips for Boosting Remote Work Productivity

tips for boosting remote work productivity

Remote work productivity is a complicated thing, and boosting it will require some effort on either the part of remote employees or their managers/team leads. Here are some tips to keep in mind or try out in order to improve remote work productivity:

Tips for Remote Employees

Set Clear Goals 

Clearly defined daily or weekly goals can help remote employees finish their tasks and send in their deliverables with a greater degree of efficacy and productivity. This will help remote workers create an approximate timeframe to complete their work, which can positively affect remote work productivity.

Learn How to Prioritize

Prioritizing tasks and other work objectives can help remote employees focus their attention on the most important parts of their daily job obligations. Learning how to prioritize can be done through various task prioritization methods, the use of digital tools, and similar. 

Have a Comfortable Work Environment

Having a designated and comfortable workspace can have a huge positive impact on remote work productivity. An environment free from distractions will allow remote workers to focus on the task at hand, further enhancing their ability to finish their work and maintain or improve their performance levels.

Additionally, having an ergonomic setup (e.g., a chair that offers lumbar support) can lower the strain prolonged hours of sitting can have on a person's body, allowing remote workers to maintain higher levels of productivity and focus for longer periods of time.

Use Productivity and Time-Tracking Software

The use of modern technological tools is a staple of remote work and is something that can greatly influence remote work productivity for the better. Leveraging these tools, such as productivity or time-tracking apps, helps emphasize the importance of time management and the crucial role it plays in remote work settings.

Take Regular Breaks

Taking regular breaks is important for maintaining focus and productivity levels, as well as preventing burnout or symptoms associated with burnout. Even short 10 to 15-minute-long breaks, used to stretch or move around a bit, can help remote employees recharge their batteries and increase or sustain their remote work productivity.

Include Exercise Into Daily Schedule

Physical exercise is a good way to increase energy levels, maintain remote work productivity, and prevent burnout. Even a short 20-minute-long walk can have a tremendously positive effect on a person's mental and physical health. 

Tips for Remote Managers

Create a Remote Work Policy

Creating a remote work policy is a good way for companies to set clear expectations to help them better regulate remote employees. With a remote work policy, employers/team leads/managers can set all expectations regarding performance and remote work productivity levels that remote workers are meant to adhere to or aspire to.

Create a Timesheet Policy

Another good way to improve remote work productivity is to create a designated timesheet policy. As an official document aimed at regulating the timekeeping processes and responsibilities of company employees, a timesheet policy can positively affect the productivity and overall performance levels of workers employed in a non-traditional work setting. 

To effectively implement a timesheet policy, it’s important to minimize errors and to ensure remote employees don’t accidentally forget to fill in their timesheets.

Use Digital Communication Tools

The quality and types of communication can have a huge impact on remote work productivity and overall performance levels of all employees (including those working in a traditional office environment). Using digital communication tools, such as Zoom or various other platforms, can help boost remote work performances and induce higher levels of employee engagement. 

Utilize Time-Tracking and Project Management Software

Time-tracking apps and project management software are good digital solutions that managers can utilize to keep a closer eye on their employees’ remote work productivity.

These types of apps can help team leads create better workflows, more accurately analyze the performances of remote teams, provide objective feedback to remote employees, generate budget estimates, produce detailed time reports, and more.

Now, it’s important to note that some remote employees could be against the use of these software solutions due to various reasons, such as privacy concerns. It’s the job of managers and team leads to communicate the necessity and benefits of these tools for both the employees and the business.