As we enter another month of the global pandemic, most of us are eagerly waiting to see what the new normal will be. For the workplace, many experts and employers predict the biggest change we’ll see is a growing acceptance of remote work. Even though remote work and flexible schedules have been cited as desirable among the working class for decades, very few employers have offered the option until now.
Why we haven’t seen more remote work sooner?
Fear-based management and lack of trust in employees has been a huge factor. Good management should focus on outcomes, not on counting heads at desks. Still, the factory-style workday rhythms from our past have continued to prevail.
However, COVID-19 has left no choice for many supervisors but to trust their employees to work remotely, and many are quite content with the change.
Global Workplace Analytics’ recent “Work From Home Experience Survey” showed that pre COVID-19, 31% of employees wished to work from home at least 1 day per week. This preference for flexibility has jumped incredibly during the pandemic to 76%.
But preference isn’t the only thing driving the change. Based on several studies and surveys, it seems employers and employees alike are experiencing in real time the many benefits remote work offers.
Removing the commute means:
Removing the inherent stress of driving
- With the added benefit of shrinking our carbon footprint
Saving money for employer and employee
- Less money spent on fuel, eating out
- Employees may be able to live in less expensive areas without the pressure to minimize their commute
- Employers can spend less on office space, utilities, parking vouchers
More time to:
- Practice self-care (rest, exercise, hobbies)
- Be with family
- Catch up on personal life (bills, home repair, health appointments)
Growing the talent pool
- More talent will apply for your job opening if they have infrequent or no commute
- Individuals with medical conditions, or limitations that prevent them from frequent travel can find meaningful employment
To see detailed breakdowns of even more benefits and effects of a work from home transition, check out the 3,000-person survey by Global Workplace Analytics here.
Of course, working from home isn’t for everyone or every workplace. Employee loneliness can be a drawback for some who thrive in social settings. Some enjoy their workplace culture, and value face time with their colleagues. Despite many managers observing steady if not increased productivity in their employees, some did report that it became more challenging to manage teams remotely.
So perhaps we won’t all immediately convert to full time work from home positions. However, we predict many workplaces will transition to offering at least partial work from home schedules.
Learn how Active SWV’s Workplace Wellness program can help you shape the new norm at your workplace by contacting Workplace Wellness Director Veronica Crosier at [email protected].