Remote Work is Here to Stay

Before COVID-19 only a handful of people worked from home. It was a privilege enjoyed by the few. But COVID-19 forced many companies to provide work from home arrangements for business continuity. Now, many of those companies are considering making remote work permanent. Here are some recent statistics about remote work and telecommuting.

Recently, Owl Labs partnered with Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, to conduct a survey on remote work in the United States. The data was released in the Owl Labs’ report, The State of Remote Work in 2019. According to the report, many employees see remote work as a major benefit. Here is a list of some of the findings. 

  • Remote workers in the U.S. work remotely full-time 66% more frequently than the global average. (Owl Labs)
  • 42% of remote workers plan to work remotely more frequently than they currently do in the next 5 years, and that more than half of on-site workers want to start working remotely. (Owl Labs)
  • 34% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely. (Owl Labs)
  • Remote workers say they’re happy in their jobs 29% more than on-site workers. (Owl Labs)
  • 55% of remote workers would be likely to look for another job if they were no longer allowed to work remotely. (Owl Labs)
  • 68% of remote workers say they are not concerned working remotely will impact their career progression, while 23% say they fear it would. (Owl Labs)

Based on these statistics companies are taking a serious look as to whether they should continue to provide work from home arrangements either on a full-time or part-time basis.  What are some of the benefits of continuing to provide WFH arrangements?

 4 Major Reasons

  1. Lower Cost – One of the biggest benefits is cost as it relates to office expenses. Many companies struggle to find affordable office space. Emerging companies with growing workforces constantly need to expand to accommodate new hires. But providing the option to work from home comes with its costs too. You may need to provide remote workers with enhanced technology, security measures and/or additional equipment. Companies need to do the math and decide what works best for their bottom line. 
  1. Improved Recruiting Results –  Offering a Work From Home (WFH) arrangement has its advantages when it comes to recruiting. First, offering a WFH option provides companies with the ability to expand their geographic reach and gather a larger group of job candidates. When hiring for on-site positions, you are likely restricted to a local pool of candidates which limits your options when it comes to some tech positions or for people with a certain skill set. Secondly, offering remote work options attracts and retains top talent. A recent study found people are willing to work for a lower salary for the opportunity to WFH.  
  1. Higher Employee Retention –  Remote work can contribute to a higher employee retention rate. One reason is that you won’t lose employees who move or get burned out from a long work commute. Secondly, millennials and upcoming generations want more flexibility and oftentimes remote work provides them with flexibility in their work location and hours. Lastly, employees who are parents and work from home report having a better work/life balance because they have more flexibility in their hours to spend with their family.
  1. Improved Productivity – Remote workers can be more productive than on-site employees. There are fewer distractions and more opportunities to work beyond the normal work schedule. Many remote workers work beyond their 40-hour workweek. Interruptions are minimized and virtual meetings cut down on travel time. Working remotely also saves time in commuting and traveling.

Benefits and Challenges

Working from home does pose challenges for both employees and employers. Many jobs need to be structured to optimize working from home. Ensuring that employees stay engaged and connected to their teams and managers are other considerations. Communicating clear expectations and accessing employee performance can also be a challenge.

There are benefits and challenges of WFH arrangements. Companies must weigh the pros and cons to decide what works best for their business. Developing policies, procedures, and employee engagement initiatives to ensure the success of WFH programs are critical. Work with your HR department to develop these programs, and continue to evaluate the effects your WFH program has on employee productivity, engagement, and to your bottom line.

Premier HR Solutions is an Austin based HR consulting company providing human resource services to emerging companies. Whether your company employs 5 people or 500, we can provide additional human resource assistance to help you grow or manage your business. If you have any questions about this topic or any other HR or recruiting-related questions, we are happy to help. Click on the link below to learn more about our services and to receive a host of complimentary HR resources.