Is Remote Work as Productive as Working on Site for Supply Chain Professionals?

09 February 2022

Conversations around working from home have gained more traction as governments and organisations ease restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether the same productivity levels can be achieved has been tested and put to rest, in some instances. According to the Supply Chain Management Review, employees can indeed manage a supply chain successfully whilst working remotely. Interestingly a survey by Owl labs found that employees were 22% happier working from home than those at an onsite office environment. 

ReadStatistics on remote workers that will surprise you (2022) 

The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) states in its 2021 Supply Chain Salary and Career Report that more supply chain professionals worked remotely than ever before as a result of the pandemic. People really do want to continue working from home, at least several days a week, as shown by 294 supply chain professionals surveyed in May 2020 by the APQC (American Productivity & Quality Center) and Supply Chain Management Review. “One in five would prefer to work from home all the time, and only 12% want to be in the office every day.” 

See infographicWorking from Home in Supply Chain: 2020 Current State 

Going back in time, a 2019 Supply Chain Salary and Career Report by ASCM found that out of 1700 chain professionals from the United States, of 57% who had the option to work from home, 87% worked in the office, 7% at home and 6% elsewhere. As expected, this has changed dramatically. Forty-eight percent of 3,376 supply chain professionals around the world who usually work in an office setting are working at home, as result of the pandemic, as shown by ASCM in its 2021 Report. 

No doubt working remotely is a hot topic and here to stay. The case of productivity is, however, a bone of contention, some research does show that productivity does not improve as a result of remote work. Working remotely also has its downsides, negatively impacting employee performance. 

Buffer 2020 Survey Report discovered that there are challenges that come with remote work, and these vary from one person to the next. Of 3500 survey participants, 20% had difficulties with collaboration and communication and a further 20% indicated loneliness as a factor. 

Read: The 2020 State of Remote Work 

Employee well-being in the wake of unprecedented work transformation in a post pandemic world should not be ignored. It is not only a case of providing benefits of high-speed internet, equipment and others that will elevate employee capabilities and drive productivity. Well thought out work transformation that integrates well-being into the design of work at the individual, team, and organisational levels must be considered, as highlighted in the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Report. 

The question remains. Is Remote Work as Productive as Working on Site for Supply Chain Professionals? 

There are arguments for and against remote, as well as on-site, work as it relates to productivity. As larger companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Google now recommend that employees work from home, there is clear evidence that remote work is here to stay and, one way or the other, employees will have to be as productive, if not much more, working remotely. 

Written by Staff Content Writer, Raymond Moyo.