Where do you stand with the future of remote work? At the first glance of this topic, I bet you are either leaning in closer to read further or rolling your eyes in frustration. Countless of us have made the necessary transition to this style of work during COVID-19. Thus, we all have a say in whether it suits us well or if we are eager to work anywhere but our homes. After months of remote work, it is at the discretion of organizations to decide whether a heavily anticipated return will be pursued or if there is no rush to return to the office routine. Some have already made that decision with ease: companies including Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, and Slack are a few advocates of remote work. CNN reports that Facebook could see nearly 50% of their employees working remotely within the next five to 10 years. Twitter goes as far to proclaim that a portion of their workforce may never witness an end to remote work.
What do you make of this? Perhaps you are excited by the opportunity to pursue this radical lifestyle: replace a lengthy commute for extreme convenience and comfort while working at home. Or you may be frightened that you will lose the collaborative and social aspects of in-person work. It is also reasonable if you have yet to decide your stance. A walk through of the benefits and drawbacks of remote work may reaffirm, alter, or confirm this stance.
Does The Majority Prefer Working From Home?
Global Workplace Analytics launched a survey to answer questions concerning the future of remote work. President Kate Lister of Global Workplace Analytics claimed that 77% of the workforce hopes to continue working from home following the pandemic, at least on a weekly basis. For individuals rooting for the stay-at-home team, the benefits are clear. A flexible schedule is not only ideal but critical for individuals who work full-time and are caregivers of children or other family members. Skipping a long commute for more time with loved ones is another obvious reason to work from home. Although these advantages pertain primarily to the older members of the workforce, individuals in their 20s and early 30s desire flexibility in the same capacity. Traveling and socializing take shape when achieving a healthy work-life balance. The customizability of remote work allows employees to pursue their aspired lifestyle.
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Nearly 75% of Employees Are Not Ready to Return
A recent poll from Gallup highlighted that despite some employees being physically able to return to their workplace, only about 25% are emotionally prepared. In addition to mental preparedness, another 25% are disinclined to return due to concerns of contracting COVID-19. Flexibility and emotional preparedness have certainly influenced many employees' perspectives on remote work. So why are numerous organizations pushing for their employees to stay at home? The answer is certainly more complex than catering to their employees' preferences.
Employers Could Save $30 Billion a Day
Despite the misery the economy has endured during the pandemic, employers have ample opportunity to reduce costs. Real estate expenses, such as leases for office space, would be a significant area of cost reduction. James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, discussed how the bank needs "much less real estate" in the future given the option for remote work. During the pandemic, approximately 90% of Morgan Stanley's employees have been working remotely. On top of real estate expenses, the price of internet service and any other in-house facilities (think maintenance and cleaning) would no longer be in the picture. Employers can also capitalize on their organizations' environmental efforts since their employees would not be commuting to work, eliminating their contribution to traffic pollution. Overall, Global Workplace Analytics estimates that remote work initiatives in the United States will save employers $30 billion a day in what would have been lost to productivity had offices closed completing during the pandemic.
Productivity Tools Fend Off Critics of Remote Work
As with any major change, there are obvious imperfections of working exclusively from home. The social interactions and collaborative environment of working in an office establish the identity of an organization. Without this understanding of corporate culture, employees may not feel inspired by their work, reducing employee engagement.
To mediate these concerns, we turn to what has made remote meetings, hangouts, classes, and gatherings possible during the pandemic: web conferencing tools. Applications like Zoom, BlueJeans, Google Hangouts, and more have made staying in touch with teams and maintaining meetings possible while working from home. For those who have struggled to find a productive rhythm, productivity tools are key. deepTalk, for instance, is the ideal productivity tool to make your remote or in-person meetings more productive. With automatic generation of meeting minutes and a live transcript, deepTalk will be your perfect meeting assistant. By now you can recognize that working remotely offers several advantages beyond practicing social distancing or preserving the health of an organization's personnel. Keep in mind that changing how we work is no small transition to brush off; it takes time to get accustomed to a new way of life. If remote work is not suiting you just yet, be patient. All change eventually settles in as the new normal, and remote work is most likely here to stay.