“Working remotely is also increasing across most industries that Gallup has studied,” the report says. “The finance, insurance and real estate industries experienced the greatest surge in time spent working remotely, followed by the transportation, manufacturing or construction, and retail industries. The community and social services; science, engineering, and architecture; and education, training, and library industries are on the other end of this trend: While employees in these fields still spend time working remotely, a smaller percentage are doing so today compared with a few years ago.” The Gallup data shows clear benefits to flexibility, with employee engagement rising when workers spend at least some time working remotely. The optimal engagement boost comes when workers are off-site for 60 percent to 80 percent of their time—in other words, three or four days out of the typical workweek.“ This pattern emphasizes that remote working has the greatest returns on engagement when employees maintain some degree of balance: working remotely most of the time but still getting face time with managers and coworkers,” the report says.
The finding that the optimum work engagement occurs when most work is done outside of the traditional centralized, commute-in office (CCO) reinforces the view of those like Alison Maitland and Peter Thomson, authors of Future Work: Changing Organizational Culture for The New World of Work. They see the CCO evolving from daily workplace to meeting place. I interviewed Maitland and Thomson in this podcast produced in late 2015.