After a year of living through a global pandemic, many people's work lives look much, much different. While many of us are excited to get back to the office, others actually worry about returning to the demands of a nine to five schedule away from home. Employees and employers alike are wondering: is remote work here to stay?
The short answer is, in some form, yes. While almost all of us are excited to interact with our colleagues, hold meetings without being interrupted by our pets, and engage in work-related activities that just don't translate over Zoom, recent data shows that many employees are hoping that the option to work remotely will remain on the table in some form.
A recent survey by Envoy showed that 48% of employees would prefer a "hybrid model," where they can work at home sometimes, and go into the office on other days. Almost the same amount (47%) said they would consider leaving their jobs if they weren't allowed to work remotely after the pandemic is over. Other surveys show even higher numbers of employees would prefer full or partial remote work. And it's not just employees that are sold on a remote work model: a survey of employers by the HR consulting firm Mercer showed that "90% of employers say that productivity has stayed the same or improved with employees working remotely, and 82% say they will implement flexible working at a greater scale post-pandemic."
Benefits of Working Remotely:
As the pandemic has shown us, the old model of compensating employees for hours on the job or time spent in the office does not necessarily equal greater productivity. In fact, many employees are even more productive when they are allowed to work when and where they want to, and they like their jobs more. Other benefits include:
Environmental factors: Remote work cuts down on commuting, keeping cars off the road, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Employees who work at home generally consume less energy and create less waste.
Time and productivity: The actual time workers save by not having to commute can be better spent on sleep, family time, and getting more things done. In some cases, being away from the office can mean fewer distractions and more opportunities for deep focus. Many employees say they are more productive when they work remotely, and several studies have confirmed this is often the case.
Saving money: When employees work remotely or from home, employers save money on office space, supplies, energy costs, and transportation, among other things. Employees may also save money on things like childcare, commuting costs, and food.
Making it Work for your Business:
Even if you're an employer who believes in the benefits of remote work, you may be hesitant about giving your employees that much flexibility. But the data shows that you don't have to go all-in on remote work in order to gain some of its benefits for you and your employees. Decide what type of work your employees may be able to do at home, and under what circumstances. Consider allowing people to work at home one or more days a week. Experiment with the model until you find what is right for you and your business because remote work is definitely here to stay.
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