This is the first of a five-series on the key realities of remote work imposed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remote work is not new; it's just new to more people than ever before. Approximately 40% of the US workforce are office workers, but only about 7% of those workers had remote work as a benefit or perk prior to the pandemic.
Tech companies have allowed it for years.
My first experience with working remotely came on a 1995 trip to South America for Microsoft. I successfully avoided frying my laptop with step-down transformer that converted 240 volts to 120 volts. Then there were the telephone adapters to connect, and trying to use a modem over a hotel land line. Being able to work remotely is so much easier now than in those early days.
Prior to the pandemic, tech companies were already friendly towards occasional work from home opportunities; they realized that their workers needed to be able to concentrate when creating software. Flexibility in work schedules meant that work got done even if it happened asynchronously. As a result, when the pandemic lockdowns started, tech companies were already set up to continue work remotely.
Many other industries made it work during the pandemic when there was no other choice, and they've succeeded.
A recent PwC study that showed that "...remote work has been an overwhelming success for both employees and employers. The shift in positive attitudes toward remote work is evident: 83% of employers now say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company, compared to 73% in the PwC June 2020 survey."
Employees love it and want to continue working from home.
The PwC study also pointed to another key finding: employers and employees are not on the same page when it comes to being able to work remotely in the future. "Over half of employees want to work remotely three days a week or more." The article went on to say, "Expect some friction. Employers may be in for a surprise. While employees do show interest in a range of scheduling options for the work week, they have also been consistent throughout the year in that they expect more remote work in the future."
Just as the coronavirus shifted how we live day-to-day, remote work has shifted how our companies are currently functioning. It's going to be important to listen to employees about their practicalities and preferences. Forward-thinking companies are considering remote-friendly and remote-first options to retain talent and optimize performance.
There are a host of opportunities to also optimize costs by addressing whether you need for office space to conduct business. If you'd like to brainstorm about what's possible for your company, just visit www.TalkToToolie.com to schedule an Executive Strategy Session.