Following the 2020 pandemic that changed the pace of the modern world as we know it, we’re seeing an increase in remote working positions across many industries. This was previously offered as a perk, whereas now it has became the norm for most companies and their current and new employees. Men and women who can perform their work from home are about equally likely to say they’d want to remain doing so for all or most of the time after the pandemic. However, women are more likely than men to say they’d want to work from home all the time. Whether or not this is just a trend, or the new era of professional dynamic, is yet to be determined.
According to a survey recently conducted by Upwork in March of 2021, about 1 in 4 or 26.7% of Americans will be working remotely in 2021. This is a significant increase since 2018 when only 7% of employees even had the option to work from home. While some increase in remote work positions was to be expected as an inevitable result of the pandemic in 2020, we did not anticipate such a drastic increase in the remote job model. Larger companies, such as Twitter and Facebook, are paving the way by allowing their employees to work from home indefinitely.
The degree of work to home life balance shifting as a result of these changes is sure to have a positive impact on productivity and employee morale. For employees, the work from home arrangement has many benefits. However, you can summarize these in one word: savings. For employees, they can save time not commuting, save on their gas money or Uber fares, save on clothes and laundry from not dressing up, and save money from not eating out, and the need for frequent vehicle maintenance decreases. Essentially, professionals working from home can just roll out of bed and get to work on their desks (or work in bed). For many, this is more convenient and, hence, less stressful.
In fact, in June of 2020, 28% of employers surveyed by the CIPD said they felt remote working led to an improvement in worker productivity levels. There are a number of benefits to employers as well, including cutting the overhead costs of maintaining large office spaces and store fronts, as well as the elimination of the use and therefore cost of office materials like paper, thumbtacks, and pencils.
Another strategy that benefits both parties may be to implement a hybrid work model where the majority of work is done day to day at home and the staff only gets together for necessary meetings, brainstorming sessions, new product introduction, or team building exercises to ensure everyone is on the same page. Meanwhile, employees will be able to stand out while working from home by participating in virtual events, consistently attending, and contributing to online meetings and keeping their enthusiasm and communication high. All of these efforts are sure to lead to an increase in focus and punctuality.
While having employees work solely or primarily from home will require many changes from companies, like investing in digital infrastructure and reinventing processes and policies, it can be done. The 2020 pandemic has proven that we can work from home and do it effectively from both sides, the employer and the employee, without losing productivity or morale.
The last thing a company wants is to be behind the times when remote working becomes more popular and even considered the standard. Getting on board with this trend now and streamlining the company’s approach to remote work will guarantee an edge in this new era of a remote workforce.