Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Recent data collected during and after the Covid-19 pandemic showed that employees who work from home are more productive than employees who work in the office.
Business leaders and corporate decision-makers are at a loss as they try to understand the correlation between employee productivity, remote work and quiet quitting.
Below, I’ll discuss four reasons technology professionals, like software developers, are showing a massive decline in productivity since returning to the office.
Many tech employees begrudgingly returned to brick-and-mortar offices after being called in by their superiors to avoid facing harsh consequences and disciplinary actions leading to termination.
Experts say that working from home can increase employee satisfaction and productivity. Technology employers are surprised when employees return to corporate offices, and their productivity suddenly experiences a drastic decline.
Related: 12 Unconventional Ways to Boost Employee Productivity
4 science-backed reasons why tech employees are more productive at home
Technology professionals like software developers, cybersecurity analysts, website developers and data analysts are showing substantial decreases in productivity since being forced to return to work in brick-and-mortar offices or risk losing their jobs.
According to research reports compiled by independent researchers at Apollo Technical and Owl Labs, tech employees who work from home can almost double the productivity levels of their in-office counterparts.
Research shows that employees may be more productive when working from home for the following reasons:
1. Reduced distractions: Working from home eliminates many distractions employees face in a typical office environment, including interruptions from colleagues, office noise and office politics. Completing their daily tasks in a familiar home-based environment allows employees to focus more effectively on their work. Experts say reducing distractions can also decrease stress and increase productivity.
2. Increased flexibility: Remote employees with greater flexibility in their working hours and environment can see even more significant productivity increases when they plan their work hours around peak energy times when they feel more focused. Increased flexibility can enable employees to tailor their work to their individual needs and preferences, improving their job satisfaction.
3. Improved work-life balance: Working from home can also improve employees’ work-life balance by reducing commuting time. This time savings can directly translate into more quality time spent with friends and family and happier employees who have time to pursue hobbies and other interests. Improved work-life balance can increase job satisfaction and reduce stress.
According to data by the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute time in the United States is 26.1 minutes one way. The study says that employees who work from home full-time can save approximately 52.2 minutes each day, or 4.35 hours per week, on commuting time alone.
Highly driven employees often use the additional time savings from commuting to work extra hours, which can result in a noticeable productivity increase for their employers and a nice boost in their income for the employee.
4. Better health and well-being: Research has shown that working from home can positively affect employees’ health and well-being. For example, working from home can reduce employees’ likelihood of exposure to illnesses like Covid.
Work-from-home employees may also experience less stress without office politics. Having a home-based office also allows employees to engage in healthy behaviors, such as taking much-needed breaks and incorporating fitness and exercise at home into their workday.
Related: 5 Ways to Measure Remote Employee Productivity
The correlation between remote work and quiet quitting
Research shows that employees working from home during the pandemic were more productive than those required to come into the office at the end of the pandemic.
The same research shows that decreased employee morale and productivity correlate with quiet quitting.
Several studies show that being forced to come into the office under the threat of termination or discipline can severely impact employee productivity when they are forced to return to the office.
Disgruntled employees may purposely slow down production or gradually become less productive as they seek other home-based job opportunities.
Having the option to work remotely is high on the list of employee benefits and perks contributing to higher productivity levels in remote employees.
In contrast, employees who don’t have the option to work from home often report decreased levels of job satisfaction, which can directly lead to what is known as quiet quitting.
Being driven back into the physical workplace after working from home is bringing down the morale of tech employees. Rather than quitting in a dramatic or confrontational manner, employees who engage in quiet quitting may become less productive, take more sick days or personal time off, and generally disengage from their job over a period of time.
Eventually, they may stop showing up for work or stop responding to communication from their employer, effectively quitting their job without any formal notice. Quiet quitting can be challenging for employers to detect and address, as it often occurs gradually without apparent signs of employee conflict or dissatisfaction.
Related: What Quiet Quitting Employees Are Trying to Tell You
The “real” reason corporate productivity is down in the U.S.
Research shows that one of the primary reasons corporate productivity is down is because employees are dissatisfied in one way or another.
A key driver of tech employee dissatisfaction is being forced to return to corporate offices and having to leave the comfort of their newly built home offices. Some corporate employees (turned remote) made significant moves during the pandemic and relocated to other states and countries!
Being called back into the office as the Covid pandemic ends is not something that was expected by the army of at-home employees the pandemic created.
Many of today’s tech employees are quietly quitting in revolt as they continue to search for their dream job that allows them to perform the bulk of their work — from home.