There is often a distinction between senior business leaders and employees, employees who are happy to have done away with their time-consuming commute who are able to spend more time with their families and are relishing the flexibility, but most importantly, both they and their employers are reaping the productivity gains of them working from home. Many business leaders do not share this appetite for continued remote working, and the stigma of “Shirking from Home” remains. They are often swayed by outdated anecdotes of home working being distracting as well as stopping collaboration and group activity. As a result, employers are not confident that remote workers are being properly managed. If young children are at home that perception is multiplied many times.
As businesses discuss how and if they re-open their offices, we already know that some will not be, there are going to be ongoing discussions about when and how employees return to the office safely. What happens if your team wants to continue to work from home, but the business leaders want everyone to start being in the office full time again? There needs to be a demonstration that remote work is beneficial to the company, not just to individuals, a demonstration that teams are engaged no matter where they are located.
Recent research shows that remote work results in increased productivity, decreased real estate costs, happier and more engaged employees, greater business continuity during emergencies, a smaller environmental footprint, and access to a larger and more diversified talent pool.
The “return” to the office will be anything but a return to normality. So many of us have been forced into working from home due to the Covid 19 Pandemic and the subsequent rules and we have changed the way we work, embracing this change wholeheartedly. New skills in how to not only work remotely but also excel when working remotely have been developed, with new ways of connecting with colleagues and clients. Importantly and this is the crux of it, the lesson has been learned. Working from home, is efficient & productive.
In a FlexJobs survey of approximately 4,000 people who have been working remotely during the pandemic, 95 percent said their productivity was higher than or the same as before the pandemic.
Many companies have already decided they do not need or want workers to return. BP, Aviva, Facebook, Mastercard, and Twitter are among some those that have committed to remote work for the long term.
According to a global survey carried out by PwC, nearly 80 percent of CEOs have expressed that, in the future, they expect to have a distributed remote workforce, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and that they think remote work is “here to stay.”
Most of us will be returning to the “office” in some form, for a few, it may well be full time and I am sure some others will never go back. For the majority, a hybrid-work model, where time is split between home and the office will be the model of choice. Business leaders who take a careful, thoughtful approach can craft a viable and sustainable remote-work program, including formulating new policies and investing in new technologies that fit their company’s needs for the long term. Remote work is not just about working from home, remote work is being able to work from anywhere.