The pandemic has forced us to make many changes in our daily lives. Among other things, social distancing measures have required us to transform our homes into workspaces. While for some, this forced transition has been complicated, others see it as an opportunity that can be leveraged. Recent developments suggest that a full return to the office will soon be possible, but what will employers do? Let’s deep dive into the remote work experience.
Remote Work: From Obligation to Adoption
Remote work was introduced as an essential and mandatory measure to fight the pandemic and limit its economic impacts. Faced with this new regulation, conscientious employers worked to ensure the physical health of their team and to facilitate this transition.
Here are some noteworthy and inspiring decisions that were implemented during these times:
- Sending a work-from-home kit, including a guide on the best practices to adopt for effective remote working, as well as various corporate gifts.
- Calling upon occupational therapists to visit employees’ homes to ensure a safe work environment. These specialists also make recommendations for workstation furniture and tools that the company is committed to providing to employees.
- Allocation of an amount ranging from $500 to $3000 given to each person working from home so that they can create and optimize their workspace.
- Subscription to the Dialogue telemedicine service, which allows employees to consult a doctor online.
Remote Work: Necessity or Privilege
Now that a return to the office is possible in some cases, employers are seeking the best way to get employees back to their normal place of work. Some plan to continue letting employees work several days a week remotely, even after the pandemic is over. This would allow employees, among other things, to reduce the surface area of their offices and thus save significant amounts on the rental of corporate space. Part of these savings could then be reinvested in equipment or programs to ensure the well-being of employees at home.
From a financial perspective, this type of program would greatly benefit both employers and employees. In fact, an employer saves an average of $11,000/year for each person working remotely just half the time. On average, employees save between $2,500/year and $4,000/year when this type of measure is adopted.
For other employers, remote working is a privilege to be granted with caution, and only when necessary.
No matter what the situation, it is clear that companies will need to implement a remote work policy that specifies the behaviour expected from employees and regulates work from home.
Remote Work: Attracting and Retaining Talent
The implementation of remote working, however, has allowed employees to explore a new approach to work that better suits their lifestyle and pace. 81% of them are happy with the current situation and 29% of them even say they would quit their current job if their employers forced them to come back full time to the office.
62% of workers looking for a new job say they will choose an employer that offers work from home over an employer that does not offer this option.
In a context of labour shortage, employers reluctant to integrate teleworking into their policy will have to do so at their own risk.
Remote Work: A Change of Mentality
The main reason employers are reluctant to switch to teleworking is because they fear that employees may not do enough work, which will lead the company to a general decline in productivity.
However, several studies show that office distractions cost US businesses more than $600 billion per year, and that employees working remotely are between 35% and 40% more productive than those working in an office.
It is therefore possible that the reluctance to adopt remote work stems mostly from a certain conception of the employer-employee relationship. The pandemic has forced executives and managers to trust their team more and has incited employees to honour their commitment to their employers. A shift in mindset will therefore be crucial for a smooth transition into this reinvented work environment.
What do you think about remote work? Would you like to see this practice be democratized in a post-pandemic world or are you looking forward to getting back to “normal”?
Share your thoughts in the comments!