The impact of remote work on corporate well-being: what the research says

Associate Professor Naresh Khatri from the University of Missouri-Columbia suggests that the success of a remote work strategy heavily relies on an organisation's agility in adapting to its employees' needs.

As the digital age progresses, businesses are increasingly adopting remote work practices. Despite some notable CEOs maintaining a firm stance against this trend, Naresh Khatri, an associate professor of health management and informatics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, suggests that the success of a remote work strategy heavily relies on an organisation’s agility in adapting to its employees’ needs and leveraging available technology. Khatri’s expertise, substantiated by over 60 published research articles and book chapters on health care organisational structure and management, indicates that offering remote work could be a potent attraction for potential recruits, provided the organisation has the necessary resources.

The role of HR and IT departments in a remote work structure

The foundation of successful remote work lies in robust human resource and information technology departments, according to Khatri. Irrespective of employees’ geographical location, these two departments remain crucial for maintaining a healthy workforce. The implementation of virtual office software, for instance, is critical to facilitate seamless remote work operations.

Embracing remote work widens the talent pool, opening doors for more applicants and workers globally. The presence of effective HR and IT departments further strengthens organisations, enabling them to offer more flexible working arrangements. Khatri’s analysis of various studies has shown that the quality and quantity of work done by remote employees are statistically similar to those of office workers. Thus, whether employees are remote or on-site, they can execute collaborative tasks with the same level of efficiency.

Addressing challenges and enhancing productivity in remote work

Funding and manpower support for HR and IT departments can better equip businesses to tackle challenges such as employee motivation and technical glitches that might arise in a work-from-home environment. “To mitigate burnout and improve efficiency, it is crucial for HR professionals to customise motivational strategies to address the distinct needs of their employees, including those working from home,” Khatri suggests. Although this approach may require considerable effort, the long-term benefits for both employees and the company are substantial, as shown in previous research.

Innovative HR practices that continuously explore new ways to engage and inspire employees tend to foster a favourable mindset and attitude among the workforce. By understanding the individuality of employees, businesses can prevent burnout, optimise efficiency, and identify best practices for each staff member.

The future of work: Adapting to change

“People are unique,” Khatri notes, “some are more productive when working from home, while others thrive in an office environment.” Recognising these differences and accommodating them is crucial as the nature of the workforce and industries continue to evolve. Companies that restrict remote work might miss out on significant opportunities to boost profits, expand their team, and overall, improve the health of their company.

In conclusion, the remote work trend is not only reshaping the conventional work environment but also promoting corporate well-being. As more businesses recognise the benefits and adapt to these changes, the future of work seems set to become increasingly decentralised, flexible, and digitally connected. The findings of Khatri’s “Guest Editorial: Work from anywhere: Implications for employees and organisations”, published in Personnel Review, underscore the importance of this shift and its potential for the future.

Vey Law

Vey Law is a reporter at Breakthrough.

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