By Christina Ross
Christina Ross, President and Marketing Director at Silver Frog Marketing, discusses the brave new world of remote work and how perceptions and organizational culture has changed concerning working-from-home as the pandemic winds down.
There was a time when 100% work-from-home positions were considered scams of the “make a full-time income doing part-time work” ilk. Until recently, legitimate, fully remote positions that paid a good wage and came with benefits were viewed as unicorns, an anomaly most workers could only imagine.
Then, the pandemic happened. The whole world went home, and organizations learned to embrace a remote workforce. Many employers did so under duress and had no intention of making a move to remote work permanent. For others, the benefits of allowing the flexibility of remote work were clear almost immediately. These employers saw this as their chance to shift to an all-remote or hybrid option for their employees.
What Workers Want
Studies conducted throughout the pandemic have shown that workers prefer a remote or hybrid option, hands down. According to a study by Buffer, an astonishing 99% of workers reported that they would choose to work remotely for the rest of their lives, even if they were just part-time.
Workers are reimagining what they want from employment following the past 18 months of unexpected and unprecedented upheaval. From a personal standpoint, people are starting to evaluate what they find important, realizing they want to spend more time with those they love and less time commuting and sitting in an office. Often the tasks completed in-office can easily be completed at home, with less time wasted.
The Success of Home-Based Employees
Per a CoSo Cloud study, 77% of workers report being more productive when working remotely. Employers who allow this option or a hybrid option tend to agree. Remote workers enjoy a better work/life balance and fewer distractions than they find in a traditional office environment. Allowing for remote work can come at a cost saving to employers as well. There were reports of some organizations closing their brick and mortar offices and saving on the overhead of space rental by allowing remote work.
With more and more employers allowing remote or hybrid-option work, salaries have risen for these roles. Not only do remote workers save thousands in transportation costs, but they also make $4000 more in annual income on average than non-remote workers.
The Great Resignation
The consequences wrought by employers unwilling (or sometimes unable) to be flexible concerning remote work have been swift. Economists are terming the mass exodus of workers as “The Great Resignation”, and many workers leaving their positions for greener pastures report the lack of flexibility with remote work as a primary reason.
While some employers have responded to “The Great Resignation” with retooling benefit offerings, with promises of everything from pizza parties to a casual dress code, studies repeatedly reflect that what people really desire from a job is freedom and flexibility.
Employers that are concerned about retaining their workforce and keeping those workers happy and productive need to learn how to approach policy in a post-pandemic world. Employers who refuse to shift with the changing view of productive work risk being left behind, without a workforce to keep them competitive.
Supporting Remote and Hybrid Workers
Once a remote or hybrid policy is implemented, employers must properly support their workers to ensure they remain engaged and successful.
Employers can support their remote workers through weekly team meetings via video conferencing. C-suite level managers and middle managers can create space at the top of meetings for team building exercises and “get to know you” type activities. This type of engagement will help at-home workers feel more connected and part of the team.
Strong on-boarding and training protocols need to be in place so remote workers understand their roles and complete their jobs independently.
Lastly, communication needs to be clear, and the organizational structure needs to be laid out and understood by all. Remote workers need to know where to turn when they have questions or hiccups with their roles.
Remote and hybrid work is becoming less of a “unicorn” and more of an expectation post-pandemic. Employers who wish to stay competitive in this new climate and retain a solid, talented workforce of happy employees would be well advised to develop a remote or hybrid working option. While not every role in every organization can work remotely, plenty of roles would be far more productive if allowed the freedom to go remote.