Fully Remote Companies are the Most Productive, Report Finds

Despite many companies calling workers back into the office, remote businesses remain the most efficient, our report found.

It could be time to put your company’s return to office policy (RTO) on ice, with new findings from Tech.co’s inaugural Impact of Technology on the Workplace report revealing that fully remote businesses are overwhelmingly more productive than hybrid and fully in-person workforces.

These insights challenge the notion held by some business leaders that companies ending fully remote work is an effective way to boost performance and profits in 2024. Some of the big name firms to implement stringent RTO mandates recently include tech giants IBM and Amazon.

In-person workplaces continue to provide valuable spaces for many workers, however, especially those who face distractions at home. So, if you’re serious about improving your businesses efficiency, read on to learn about how different working environments can impact productivity, and how output can be maximized through the deployment of AI.

In addition, you can also download the full report for free to learn more and discover our other key findings this year.

Fully Remote Businesses Are More Productive

The RTO movement that’s pulling thousands of US workers back into the office may not be as impactful as many people assume. That’s according to findings from our 2024 Impact of Technology on the Workplace study, which surveyed over 1,000 business leaders across a wide range of industries.

The report found that 64% of fully remote businesses believed they were highly productive, compared to only 54% of fully in-person businesses, and 53% of businesses that requested workers into the physical locations two to four days a week. Fully office-based businesses also reported the highest levels of low productivity (7%), with only 2% of remote teams selecting the same metric in comparison.

Self-reported productivity split by organization’s remote work policy

When asked why remote working yelled better results, many workers cited in-office distractions like people talking, poor equipment, and lack of private spaces to make calls. These views weren’t held by everyone, though. The report found that 34% of remote businesses still face productivity roadblocks, with common home office gripes including distractions from young family members, and the limitation of virtual communication.

However, in another win for remote companies, the report also revealed that companies without physical offices face far fewer challenges when it comes to recruiting new staff. Specifically, 44% of fully remote companies found recruiting talent easy, compared to only 32% of fully in-person companies and 31% of hybrid teams.

With the market finally leveling out following the hiring post-Covid boom, the hiring landscape continues to be tough for all companies looking to expand or backfill roles. However, these results show that barriers to attracting talent can be eased somewhat by offering a perk that’s popular with candidates.

Surfshark logo🔎 Want to browse the web privately? 🌎 Or appear as if you're in another country?
Get a huge 86% off Surfshark with this special tech.co offer.See deal button

What Does This Mean for Return to Office Mandates?

So, with hybrid and fully in-person companies reporting the lowest levels of productivity, where does this leave those who have recently turned their heels on remote work?

Even though return to office statistics clearly show enforced mandates don’t work, the days of the physical workspace are far from numbered. Despite the success of the COVID-19 remote work experiment, in-person working continues to provide valuable opportunities to collaborate, socialize, and connect with fellow team members.

Physical workspaces prove to be especially useful for companies that prioritize and rely heavily on communication and innovation, like those specializing in sales, development, and consulting.

Despite the popularity of fully remote jobs, many workers are willing to make the commute too. In fact, according to our report, employees tend to come into the office even more than they are required to – with 62% of employees commuting in one day more than is expected of them, and 14% coming in for an extra two to four days.

The fact that workers are willing to come into the office more than is required of them is a clear display that in-person work provides a clear argument for office-based working. But whichever side of the RTO vs WFH debate you fall on, experimenting with different working arrangements isn’t the only way to increase levels of productivity, as we explore next.

AI Is A Huge Productivity Booster

Our report also found that how you work is just as important as where you work when it comes to getting results, with 72% of businesses that use AI extensively self-reported high organizational productivity, compared to only 51% of businesses that didn’t leverage the technology at all. There does appear to be a tipping point, however, with only 65% of businesses that depend on AI fully to innovate and make key decisions reporting high levels of output.

% of respondents who reported high organizational productivity split by their organization’s level of AI use

How are businesses using AI tools like ChatGPT to streamline processes? Well, our report found data analysis was the most common task businesses automated with AI – with almost a third of respondents (32%) using it for this purpose – while writing tasks, scheduling and, calendar management, and data entry were also popular use cases.

These results support the notion that artificial intelligence is a valuable tool in driving up efficiency, specifically when it comes to automating clerical and administrative tasks. However, they also demonstrate that natural language processing is only successful to an extent, and still isn’t able to outperform employees when it comes to innately human skills like lateral thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence.

Ultimately, maintaining a balanced AI strategy is important, in order for business leaders to find a productivity sweet spot going forward. Shaping your working model around the needs and desires of your employees is necessary too, if you don’t want enhanced productivity to come at the expense of a loyal and happy workforce.

Did you find this article helpful? Click on one of the following buttons
We're so happy you liked! Get more delivered to your inbox just like it.

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at contact@tech.co

Written by:
Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at Tech.co with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.
Explore More See all news
Back to top
close Step up your business video conferencing with GoToMeeting, our top rated conferencing app – try it free for 14 days Try GoToMeeting Free