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Is Remote Work Here to Stay?

4 min read • Feb 08, 2021 • Derek Miller

Yes, remote work is here to stay. 

Working from home was here before COVID-19, and it will continue to be a part of our lives long after the pandemic. While the coronavirus has accelerated the remote-work movement, forward-thinking organizations have been testing flexible work environments for many years. 

Remote work provides employees and employers with several benefits—lower overhead expenses, smaller office space needs, more flexibility, minimal commuting, and increased employee satisfaction. Best of all, studies suggest that productivity is on par with working in-house (just 1% less productive from home).

The real question isn’t whether it’s here to stay but to what extent and what that means for the future of work.

Remote Work Means More Hiring Opportunities

A lot of the discussion surrounding remote work is related to productivity and costs—which we’ll get to—but an oft-forgotten topic is how increasing remote work opportunities removes many of the hiring barriers from a limited talent pool.

Allowing remote work gives employers the ability to find talent across the state, country, or globe. Not only does this mean better-qualified applicants, but more candidates also give organizations more leverage in salary negotiations. 

Remote work can also boost diversity hiring for organizations that have struggled given the constraints of the surrounding community. Studies have shown that diverse companies outperform their counterparts—with gender-diverse organizations boasting a 15% higher success rate and ethnically diverse organizations a 35% higher success rate.

More remote work opportunities also benefit employees, who are no longer restricted to applying to jobs within driving distance. Employees can search for remote work anywhere, and they can even find side hustle opportunities to complement their full-time remote jobs. 

More hiring flexibility is valuable to both employers and employees. We can expect to continue reaping these benefits as remote work gains more adopters moving forward.

Remote Work Means Fewer Expenses

It’s estimated that employers could save an average of $11,000 annually for each employee who works just half their time from home. Lower overhead is the main reason for this cost savings. When employees work from home, it reduces the need for office space, supplies, cleaning services, and other expenses like electricity and breakroom snacks.

Employers are not the only ones who see reduced costs while working from home. It’s also estimated that employees working from home just half the time can save between $2,500 and $4,000 annually. The savings for employees come from reduced commuting and parking expenses, less eating out for lunch, and other cost savings like making coffee from home instead of going to Starbucks. While these costs may seem small, they add up over time.

Remote work opportunities should continue growing, in part, because of the cost savings for both employees and the organizations offering remote work.

Remote Work Means Happier Employees

A 2019 study by Owl Labs found that full-time remote workers are 22% happier with their jobs than employees who never have the opportunity to work from home. Employees are not just happier when given remote work opportunities, but they are more loyal—with 74% of survey respondents saying they would be less likely to leave their employer if they had the ability to work remotely.

The flexibility of remote work gives employees more control of their work schedules and creates a sense of autonomy and trust. Employees also have more free time when working remotely because they remove the daily commute—which is roughly an hour every day. Employees working from home tend to have a more balanced work-life schedule and are much more satisfied with their jobs.

Many employees prefer the convenience and flexibility of working remotely, which means there will be a demand for these types of roles moving forward. 

Remote Work Can Improve Efficiencies

 

During these last few months, digital technology has flattened hierarchies, with everyone connected and getting information at the same time and so many channels for employee input and involvement in decision-making in real-time. —Diane Gherson, CHRO at IBM

Many businesses are not just seeing direct benefits related to employee satisfaction, costs savings, and improved hiring opportunities; they are seeing increased productivity and operating efficiencies because of the new technologies implemented.

Adapting to remote work through the pandemic has forced businesses to lean on new software and systems. Often, these new solutions have proved more effective than previous processes—even if there were initial hurdles, pushback, and expenses. For example, instead of tracking expenses and revenue in a physical book, businesses are leveraging online financial solutions like Lendio’s software to automate many of these manual processes.  

Many economists and business minds have tried to predict what will happen to remote work once a vaccine is released. While the range of effects varies, most tend to agree that remote work is here to stay. As we move forward, look for more organizations to adopt remote work opportunities as they recognize the many benefits of the flexible workplace. 

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Derek Miller

Derek Miller is the CMO of Smack Apparel, the content guru at Great.com, the co-founder of Lofty Llama, and a marketing consultant for small businesses. He specializes in entrepreneurship, small business, and digital marketing, and his work has been featured in sites like Entrepreneur, GoDaddy, Score.org, and StartupCamp.