As gas prices continue to skyrocket and inflation rises, work-from-home (WFH) options can save companies and employees time and money. Yet that’s not the only reason hybrid work is probably here to stay.
As companies started returning employees back to the office, many chose to change jobs. Of course, there are pros and cons to working from home or from a company office, but this is where hybrid work comes into play. Companies that recognize the advantages of hybrid work models are poised to win in the long run.
As pandemic-driven lockdowns and shelter-in-place policies ended, some positive outcomes emerged. Working from home, for example, has become a valued part of many employees’ daily lives. What was once a byproduct of public health policy, has proven to be desirable when viewed through a lens of improved quality of life, accessible child care, and the bygone days of lengthy commutes.
Video conferencing: Who’s bringing donuts?
Can online meetings really replace conference room gatherings? A 2021 survey conducted by Economist Impact and Google Workspace found that more than 75% of people firmly believe a hybrid or work-from-home model would become the new standard. Employees believe they should be able to live and work from anywhere, as long as they are available during the same working hours as everyone else in the company.
Additionally, Slack surveyed over 9,000 employees in half a dozen of countries with the same questions and 70% of respondents were strongly cheering hybrid or remote office options. In contrast, only 12% were fans of the office setting. Across demographics and geographic locations, a majority of people prefer the flexibility to work from either an office or their home.
And about the donuts.
It turns out that with the proliferation of food delivery services, you can order donuts online for remote participants. It may sound silly, but shared experiences, including having a snack break with co-workers are great for team building and a great add-on to virtual meetings.
During the pandemic, companies created party kits that were sent to all associates ahead of corporate town halls or celebrations. This way of creating a sense of inclusion can continue into the future when web meetings are a big part of the experience.
Does remote work impact employee productivity?
Working from a company office allows an employee to chat with colleagues, conduct one-to-one or group meetings in person, and increase the chance of easy collaboration.
On the other hand, working from home provides a more comfortable and relaxed environment where you can feel more in control of your day. Working from the comfort of your home, also means you will save time commuting. You can even do chores during your lunch break, giving you more free time after the workday ends.
According to research conducted by Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, “working from home during a nine-month period led to a 13 percent increase in performance – almost an extra day of output per week – plus a 50 percent drop in employee-quit rates.”
“Similarly, when a sample of workers at a large Italian multi-utility company were randomly assigned to set their own place and time of work one day per week for nine months, they were more productive and took fewer leave days than their office-bound coworkers,” according to The Brookings Institution.
Why are remote workers more efficient?
A 2021 FlexJobs survey found that 51% of workers considered themselves more productive at home or working remotely mainly due to:
- Being able to avoid office politics and relationships (55% of respondents)
- Having better focus (63% of respondents)
- A quieter work environment (68% of respondents)
- Fewer interruptions throughout the work day (68% of respondents)
Mainly due to the reasons listed above, the respondents reported that their mental health has greatly improved through working at home.
WFH is no longer considered a luxury
Society endured various levels of “lockdown” measures for nearly two years. Many new workers entering the workforce during that time were made to work from home. As a result, they are used to spending their days jumping on video conference calls, screen sharing, solving microphone problems, virtual whiteboards, and all that goes with remote work. They would also view moving to office environments full-time as disruptive and will likely resist the change.
Working from home has become a worker’s right in the minds of people who started working after or during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether working from home becomes status quo or not, employees will continue to consider it an essential requirement when looking for employment opportunities.
According to ADP Research Institute, 64% of employees would consider quitting their job and looking for a new one if they were asked to work full-time in an office.
The option to work remotely has become a central decision-making factor for employees. Some already consider it a right to work flexibly and from wherever they prefer. Companies that resist this trend will do so at their own peril.
Bill Dunning has been involved in web and software development for many years. He has gained experience through his role as a Senior Manager at MagicCoast and as a Project Manager and coder at Topflight Apps, a west coast web and app development firm. Currently, he is the Chief Executive Officer at Panther Media System.
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