The pandemic caused a rapid shift in the workforce almost overnight, and now, companies and employees have had well over a year to work out the challenges.
The question is whether once the pandemic is declared over if all of the workers will be ordered back to the office or if companies will see a benefit to allowing people to work from home.
This has been the topic of many research studies recently. Let’s see what the data seems to indicate.
What is the future of remote working?
Working from home has its advantages, and it has its challenges. In a Chinese study, workers were found to be more productive when working from, but the study also found that working from home is not a perfect world or a perfect solution.
The study found that working from home caused a greater blurring of the line between work life and home life.
Working from home can be difficult when you have children and dogs barking in the background. Even though more workers found themselves working from home, they were only in certain sectors.
This study Chinese concluded that nearly 60% of all jobs cannot be done from home. This means that only a small portion of the workforce even has the option of continuing to work from home.
One factor that might have influenced these findings is cultural differences in views about work and home life.
The study involved phone bank workers, which could be more difficult with others in the home. The results of this study might not hold for those in other countries or occupations.
The question of whether working from home is here to stay depends on how you define it.
Of the jobs that can be done from home and the workers who are currently filling them, it is expected that many will be allowed to continue to work from home on a part-time basis, but they will be required to go into the office for certain days of the week.
The future of working from home is not black and white, and many companies are offering a hybrid of office work and working from home.
Is remote work going away, and will it continue in 2022?
In the short term, at least into 2022, many companies are extending working from home. Google is one of them. Other companies, including Lyft and Asana, are also pushing their return to the office dates back to 2022.
Other companies said they plan to transition to a hybrid arrangement where workers will spend part of the time in the office and part of the time working from home.
There were no hard statistics available as to how many companies plan to push back the date of office return, allow part-time work from home, or forgo the office altogether and form a permanent remote workforce.
It is expected that many companies are waiting to see what COVID trends do in the next several months before making the decision.
It is also expected that many companies will take the lead of larger companies like Google to make their decisions. For the short term, it looks like the trend of working from home is here to stay, at least until next year.
How much has remote work increased in 2020?
The pandemic caused the biggest work-from-home experiment in history on a global basis.
Before the pandemic hit, approximately 7% of the U.S. workforce worked from home. Regional variations in these numbers exist and can range between 6-11% depending on the part of the country.
One thing to note is that the United States lags other parts of the world when it comes to remote workers.
For instance, 18% of Swedes, 21% of Dutch, and 23% of Danes work from home, which is nearly 2-3 times those in the United States.
The pandemic has shifted the number of workers in the U.S. who are working from home, but this number is still comparatively small from a global perspective.
What companies are staying remote?
Not all companies want to call workers back into the office. Some have announced that they are closing their office doors permanently and will only be using remote workers from now on.
It is not known how many companies will ultimately choose this option, but over 100 companies in the United States have announced that they will only hire remote workers from now on. Some of these companies include:
These are some of the biggest and well-known companies that have made this announcement. There are probably many small to medium size organizations that will make this switch, too.
The bottom line is that if you want to work for a large company and you want to work from home, you have many more opportunities now than in the past. This number continues to grow as many companies see the advantages and cost savings of this option.
10 Important Remote Workplace Trends
- The option to work from home makes a business more attractive to employees, which might help business attract top talent.
- In a 2020 study, half the workers said they would not return to a job that did not offer the ability to work from home.
- As of 2020, people were using video conferencing 50% more than before COVID-19.
- In 2020, 79% of the people thought that video conferencing was as productive or more productive than in-person meetings.
- Remote workers worked an average of 26 more hours per month during the pandemic, which amounts to one extra day per week.
- In a 2020 survey, 43% of the respondents were afraid that working from home would affect their career progression in the future.
- In terms of working environment, 67% said they worked from their home office, and 49% said they worked from their dining room table or their sofa. Approximately 42% had worked from their bedroom, and 15% had worked from a closet.
- Workers do not want to be monitored at home with nearly 32% saying they would be unhappy but stay with the company, and 11% said they would quit if this were implemented.
- On average, working remotely saves about 40 minutes a day on the commute.
- On average, employees said they were saving about $479 per month, which is almost $6,000 per year, working from home.
Key Takeaway: COVID-19 has opened the eyes of many workers as to what working could be, and they are beginning to see this as an attractive option when considering who to work for and how long they will stay.
As workers demand these options more in the future, companies who are not in favor of working remotely will need to rethink their strategies for attracting and retaining employees.
Both the companies and employees save money with remote work, and improvements in technology make this possible for an increasing number of companies. It is expected that working from home will continue to become an increasingly popular way of life for businesses and workers in the future.