Working remotely is not a new concept— but the global pandemic turned it into a mainstream trend in a matter of weeks. Businesses sent workers home for what they thought would be a short-term precaution, and as time dragged on, workers quickly adapted to—and thrived on—working from home.
Now, as working in the office becomes possible again, many employers—and employees—are trying to decide which in-person vs. remote mix (if any) is best.
Major corporations, such as Target in Minnesota and Ford in Michigan, are vacating significant office space and allowing some employees to work from home in varying capacities.
Social media companies Twitter and Facebook are allowing many of their employees to work remotely full time, permanently.
In 2020, Owl Labs, in collaboration with Global Workplace Analytics (GWA), surveyed 2,025 full-time workers in the United States between the ages 21 to 65 at companies with 10 or more employees.
Almost 70% of full-time workers in this survey were working from home during COVID-19, and their responses clearly show the benefits that remote work has to offer:
- 77% of respondents agree that after COVID-19, being able to work from home would make them happier
- 75% of people said that they are the same or more productive during COVID-19 while working from home
- 1 in 2 people won’t return to jobs that don’t offer remote work after COVID-19
- 23% of full-time employees are willing to take a pay cut of over 10% in order to work from home at least some of the time
Reading this report, it becomes clear why many companies and employees are re-thinking remote work and the advantages of continuing it as they move ahead.
The Advantages Of Remote Work
Let’s take a brief look at the benefits that both companies and employees enjoy as a result of remote jobs.
- Flexible Schedule
Working remotely provides many workers with more flexibility with their daily schedule, allowing them to schedule their work hours around child care, elder care, appointments, exercise, and more.
- No Commute
Employees not only save time each day by not having to commute but also enjoy reduced stress and a better work-life balance that comes along with it.
- Increased Productivity And Better Focus
Many workers report an increase in productivity when working from home due to the lack of interruptions and distractions that occur more frequently in office environments.
- Better Work-Life Balance
Many workers report that they are able to maintain a better work-life balance because of the lower stress, saved time, and increased productivity that remote work has provided.
Remote workers can live where they want—this is a huge perk for many people.
Remote work doesn’t only benefit the employees—companies experience significant benefits as well.
- Office Space Savings
Organizations that are continuing remote work policies are downsizing or eliminating office space, resulting in considerable annual savings. These savings are even more significant in areas where commercial real estate is at a premium, such as New York City or California.
Some companies have found that for specific needs they are now able to outsource for more focused talent vs hiring full-time employees. When organizations hire consultants or field experts for limited-time projects and interim needs, they save on the onboarding, training, and hiring costs that full-time employees incur.
- Larger Talent Pool
When companies hire for virtual employment, they can tap into an unlimited labor pool and find more talent that is a perfect match for their needs.
The Disadvantages Of Remote Work
Remote work does come with its challenges.
The lack of human interaction and face-to-face contact can be detrimental to employees’ mental health and well-being.
Although many remote workers cite increased productivity, the lack of face-to-face interaction can mean decreased knowledge sharing, less team cohesion, and missed opportunities for worker collaboration.
- Blurring Boundaries Between Work And Home
When working at home it can be hard to shut down and stop working each day, and the loss of a commute is a loss of both the psychological barrier between work and home as well as the time some workers use to prepare for the work day or map out what they want to do at home each night.
Hybrid – Best Of Both Worlds
As the pandemic recedes and on-site work becomes feasible, many workers and employers are gravitating to a hybrid model of remote work aimed at harvesting the benefits of both worlds.
In the Owl Labs survey, 80% of the respondents say they expect to work from home at least 3x/week post-Covid.
A Gallup poll reported that employees that work 3-4 days/week at home are more engaged, and that “when employees are engaged their performance soars: highly engaged workplaces can claim 41% lower absenteeism, 40% fewer quality defects, and 21% higher profitability.”
Workers can schedule their tasks based on their hybrid schedule: projects that need focus or creativity will be best served at home, while those requiring collaboration and idea-sharing can be done on site.
What Changes Will Hybrid Work Bring To The Workplace?
Many changes in technology have already occurred since the pandemic began.
Going forward, more changes will be needed to continue to refine and optimize remote work situations, such as:
- New and improved videoconferencing technology.
- Training for management to better equip them to manage remotely.
- Logistics coordination of office space and workdays to ensure resources are available for on-site workers and to make sure that workers are grouped into same on-site days (if needed) for collaboration.
Remote Work Is Here To Stay
The statistics say it all: workers report that they are happier, more productive, and have lower turnover when allowed to work remotely for part or all of their workweek.
Corporate actions are reflecting the success of the remote work trend: in March of 2021 Ford announced that 30,000 of its North American office workers would be allowed to use a flexible hybrid work model to work from home.
Lockheed Martin estimates that 40-45% of its workforce will participate in a hybrid remote work schedule, and is putting its managers through 20 hours of training to prepare and equip them to manage in a hybrid remote environment.
Creating a Hybrid Remote Workplace Plan
Are you trying to put together a plan for a hybrid remote workplace, but don’t have the time?
Robin Kramer is an Online Business Manager that has been working with small businesses for 23 years. She can help you analyze your overwhelming to-do list to identify what tasks need your executive expertise, and which ones she can manage for you to free your valuable time.
To learn more about Robin’s skills and how she could help your business, contact her for a free consultation today
Next Month’s Article Preview: Managing Remote Employees