Some people will try to tell you that COVID disrupted the workforce forever. In some sense that is true, but it is also fair to say that the COVID pandemic merely caused existing workplace trends to move into hyperdrive. In case you have forgotten what the climate was like in 2020, McKinsey paints this picture of what the workforce was going through at that time:
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted labor markets globally during 2020. The short-term consequences were sudden and often severe: Millions of people were furloughed or lost jobs, and others rapidly adjusted to working from home as offices closed. Many other workers were deemed essential and continued to work in hospitals and grocery stores, on garbage trucks and in warehouses, yet under new protocols to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Before COVID-19, there was still a heavy amount of interest in remote work. However, it was still a niche concept. Only about 6% of American workers earned their living primarily from home before COVID-19. Three-quarters of all American workers also said that they had not worked from home at any point in their career at all. Now, the concept of remote work is not so foreign. There are plenty of people who insist on having the opportunity to work in a remote or at least hybrid fashion.
Employees Demand Remote Work More Than Before
After having a taste of remote work, millions of employees love it and that they want more of it. Remote work has numerous benefits for employees, including the following:
- Increased Engagement at Work When an employee can perform at least some of their duties from home, they are far more engaged and productive. Many business owners feared that they would see the exact opposite result when they first opened their minds to the concept of potentially allowing employees to work from home. However, workers appreciate the opportunity to take care of their domestic chores and truly focus on their job tasks as well.
- Commute Times Are Eliminated Work commutes are a drag for workers. It costs them money in terms of gasoline costs and wear and tear on their vehicle. Not only that, but the employee loses out on the time that they spend traveling to their job. They are not compensated for that time, and some people travel a long distance to get to work. Remote work eliminates this problem.
- Boosted Morale Employees take fewer sick days and have boosted morale when they are permitted to work from home. They can get more done and feel better about it at the same time. The boost in morale pays off in several ways. They are more likely to stay around (reduced turnover). They may even refer others to come and work for that company as well.
Those who want to encourage their employer to allow them to work remotely make these arguments. They have a lot of evidence that it can help them and their employer at the same time. However, there is some pushback from certain employers. There are some other considerations to make before an employer decides to allow certain employees to work remotely.
Why Some Employers Hesitate to Allow Remote Work
It is unrealistic to pretend that every employer loves the concept of remote work. It may not be appropriate or even possible for all types of work. So, what are some of the reasons why some employers hesitate to allow workers to perform their job duties remotely?
They Are Already Paying Office Expenses
The cost of an office building must be kept up regardless of the number of employees who truly work within that building. Therefore, some employers consider it a waste to not have their employees perform their job duties within the building. Therefore, some employers have pushed back strongly against the concept of allowing workers to do their job duties remotely.
It Is a Challenge to Have One-on-One Meetings
Part of the work of a manager is to meet with employees in a one-on-one setting. Managers want to get direct and responsive feedback from their employees to know what kind of feelings they have about how things are going around the office. For this reason, and many others, most managers consider it easier to have these types of meetings when employees work within the office.
The Hiring Process May Be More Challenging
Certain elements of the hiring process are likely to be harder to perform when working remotely. Getting in touch with people, scheduling an interview, and creating the time in your schedule to speak with potential new hires. The idea that business owners and managers cannot easily speak with everyone that they might want to hire in person turns them off.
Why Employers Should Be Pleased to Offer Remote Work
We have discussed why some employers have reservations about allowing remote work. However, there is also a trend by many employers to allow for remote work. Why do those employers love to offer this option? A few of the leading benefits include:
- Increase the Talent Pool – You need employees that have a great ability to get the work done. This means tapping into as large of a talent pool as you possibly can. When remote work is an option, you will increase the size of the talent pool that you can access when hiring new employees.
- Improved Employee Retention – Greater flexibility means happier employees and lower turnover rates. Keeping turnover rates low is important because it costs a significant amount of time and money to train new employees. If you keep employees happy, they are far less likely to leave.
- Reduce Office Space Costs – Employers can decide to close down certain office spaces and sell those spaces if they allow enough of their workforce to work from home. This can significantly improve the budget of a growing business.
These are just a few of the myriad of reasons why employers should offer remote work. The truth is, remote work is here to stay. Employers on the leading edge of developments will want to ensure that they stay ahead of the curve. For more information on the benefits and considerations to make before allowing remote work contact us for the latest.