The beginning of 2020 has turned our lives upside down. The novel coronavirus outbreak has brought a major health crisis that humankind has never seen before.
There was a scramble at the onset of the global pandemic for corporations to have their workers set up to operate from home. Even with successful vaccines now rolling out, a higher percentage of remote work is likely to stay for the near future.
Though Work From Home was the biggest experiment for companies all across the globe. And initially, it took a lot of effort to transition, but companies are surely not disappointed with the work from home culture, even those who are implementing this the first time. That’s the reason businesses are now more focusing on making the telecommuting experience better.
It seems there will be more investments in the collaboration tools and other technologies, which are cost-effective to the businesses and easier to access for the users.
Recently, while surveying how companies are responding to these new changes and how they look up to Work From Home culture for the future, we have learned a lot of things.
These 12 months of Work From Home experience have changed the perception of both companies and employees. Employees are getting more flexibility while working from their favorite corner of the home.
Companies also realized how well organizations can function online, without having employees in the workplaces. Most of the companies had already cut out their office space by 50-70%, which lets them save a lot of money.
Since the commercial spaces are being reduced by the companies, most of the organizations are shifting towards the hybrid approach in which employees can work 2-3 days from home and only 1-2 days in a week from the office.
If we talk about stats, approx 30% of the companies are permanently getting rid of the physical workplaces and going entirely remote. People who were living in the expensive cities away from the home due to work commitments are going back to their homes, taking advantage of this flexibility.
Some well-respected tech CEOs are also taking tough decisions and letting their employees work from home permanently. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and Square, has recently announced that the employees of both companies can continue to work from home forever. That’s a huge statement!
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, has also announced that their employees can work from home. Although, there were certain conditions for the employees who were moving out from San Francisco.
Nationwide, a very well-known insurance company has announced a permanent transition to a hybrid work model. The business will operate in its four primary corporate offices, while most of its locations will continue to operate from home.
No Boundaries for Talent
Work from home or hybrid model of working is also gaining popularity because now the companies are not restricted to find talent in a certain radius from the office. Also, the employees are now having more options to get work.
While talking with many companies, we have come to know that now organizations have updated their hiring policy, and HRs are allowed to find the best person for any job role from any part of the country.
90% of the workforce we have spoken to are not mentally ready to come back to the offices full-time again. And this works for both employers and employees.
Companies are working smartly. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on office spaces, and so many other employee requirements, they are spending on providing the best remote set up to their employees and all the necessary resources they require while working online.
Employees traveling to the onsite locations for work and other business needs are the things of the past. More than 60%+ companies we talked with are already making strategies to utilize their time saved on traveling onsite.
Amazon, one of the biggest tech giants in the world, saved approx $1 billion in employee travel expenses this year as the coronavirus pandemic restrained employees from hopping on aircraft.
Brian Olsavsky, CFO of Amazon, said, “There are some benefits going on right now” and further added that the company has also saved a lot of money because of the reduced marketing costs.
In the early phase of the pandemic, Amazon told its 1 million employees to avoid non-essential travel out of safety and concern. It makes them save a big chunk on marketing and travel.
Remote work Dilemma
Another thing we learned while talking to several companies is, now there is no more fear of implementing remote work. The dilemma that companies were having about the productivity of employees during work from home has almost vanished. Businesses have tasted the flavor of success.
Productivity over time: Earlier the performance of the employees in the office were evaluated by how many hours they have spent at their seat. But things have changed with the remote work concept.
Today, employees’ productivity is measured by the output, not by the time they have spent on their systems. And, this works in the favor of the companies as employees have become more conscious, and their productivity is also increased.
Due to this, tech investments have also increased. Companies are very conveniently relying on employee monitoring software to gain insights into their working structure.
Fear of losing : We have spoken to many startup and well-established companies and have noticed one common fear in all of them, that is the fear of losing employees if they don’t go remote.
Some companies are planning to go more remote than the initial days because all of their competitors have already done. So they were scared of losing their best employees to their competitors.
This is one of the biggest reasons that the left-out companies are replicating the office remotely before things go out of hand.
Remote Work Lifestyle
Throughout this pandemic era, companies have even realized that employees are feeling more relaxed and happy while working from home, and it is only a waste of hours for businesses to call their employees to the office by commuting 2 hours struggling with the traffic.
Not a long back, we have held a poll to actually get a clear picture of what employees think of their work from home experience, and more than 10,000 people have participated in it. Surprisingly, we received mixed responses, but about 72% of the people were in the favor that they have to prep 2 hours prior for going to their workplaces, and now while working from home, their office commute time is being saved.
Considering the difference in opinions about work from home, we have also asked people about how they would like to function in the long run. And almost 65% of the people believe that they are managing a good work-life balance while working from home, and 30% of the people believe that they should work from the office at least twice a week, and only 10% of the people want to come back to the office again full time.
The companies we have spoken to have told us that the productivity of the company has no doubt gone through the roof, but the major problem that most of them are facing is employee burnout, as they are working too hard.
Businesses are actively working on this matter and are finding out ways to combat this. Irrespective of the size of the company, every organization is dealing with the same thing.
Another major concern of the companies is team cohesion. Without one on one meetings, team outings, group chats, businesses are finding it very challenging to make the team feel connected.
Though a lot of companies we have spoken to are already combating this by holding some game or fun sessions with the team virtually once a week. While the companies that are on early-stage still battling with this due to the lack of technological resources.
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Good for the environment
Eradicating physical offices may harm people’s mental health to some extent, but it is actually proving very beneficial to the environment. During this entire lockdown period and work from home scenario, employees’ commute has become very less and also offices were closed which leads to an unprecedented drop in the emission of CO2 globally.
Approx 108 billion ton less CO2 is emitted in 2020, and the emission is expected to decline in 2021 as well, with the increase in remote work.
The number of telecommuting workers has increased by 115% from the last decade. The pandemic accelerates the shift to remote work, and it is quite evident that companies are having innumerable financial benefits out of it.
But along with businesses, employees are also getting monetary benefits. Money saved is money earned. Employees are saving on commuting, earing, rents, and other finances which they used to spend while going to the workplaces.
While speaking to the employees, we came to know that they are very content with the money they are saving while working from home. Their unnecessary expenditures have suddenly reduced.
Moving forward in 2021
Businesses have spent almost a year scrambling to adapt to the exceptional conditions. While the fight with the coronavirus is not yet won completely. But the fight with the slowing down of the economy and business halts is slowly and steadily coming to an end as businesses start to look forward to shaping their future with the new changes.
The next normal is certainly going to be different which does not mean going back to the conditions that prevailed in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed remote work at the forefront of the interests of workers and has also become a success for organizations.
We have done this survey to overview the year 2020 and to get a collective idea of how 2021 and beyond is going to be. With the above stats and knowledge we gained from the survey it is pretty much evident that the desires and needs of the employees have shifted due to the pandemic. And remote work culture will continue, maybe with some changes in the future, but the world will surely going to move with it from now onwards.