Just about a year ago, America quickly transitioned to working from home whenever possible. It’s hard to believe the nationwide shutdowns began so long ago. But as the workforce tries to find some semblance of getting back to normal, including potentially heading back into the office or reporting onsite, many companies are keeping the work-from-home policies in place.
We found a few recent statistics, including some data that researchers at theUniversity of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute gathered as part of a survey of 15,000 Americans. The evidence suggests that 22% of all full working days will be conducted at home, even after the pandemic subsides. In a working world before COVID-19, that percentage was only five. There’s no question more employees are setting up shop at home, but for how long? And will remote work be the new normal?
Benefits to Employers
Companies large and small, public and private, profit and non-profit all immediately recognized a few key benefits of having employees work from home. It’s this roster of perks, especially those that affect business bottom lines, that suggest remote work is a good thing for employers.
Many employers are reporting record-level productivity, despite the effects of the pandemic on select industries. With employees reporting for duty from the home office, managers and business owners say there are, in effect, additional hours to complete and deliver work. People are less distracted, too, even though the family dog barks during the client call or the cat walks in front of the laptop camera during a virtual call. People working in pajamas actually translated to more work done, more deadlines met, and significant productivity increases.
Reduced Overhead Costs
Another efficiency for businesses with more remote working teams than onsite staff is reduced overhead costs. Maintaining a business office with electricity, toilet paper, and water cooler service can add up monthly. But when employees are working from home, those costs of maintenance aren’t as frequent or necessary. Even a day or two each week without turning on the electricity produces a cost savings on the utility bill.
Flexibility for Entire Teams
Flexibility for entire teams and departments has been a huge benefit to overall company success. Before the pandemic, Human Resources staff would strive to develop curated work environments that would accommodate different work styles and preferences. But working from home, employees can create their own ideal work atmospheres. Individual worker needs can be met since the individual can break, stretch, or eat whenever it’s convenient. At home, the employee can control the comfort of the chair, the best lighting, and set mood music if need be. This flexibility takes a burden off of the shoulders of the employer, who now can essentially allow staff to work from home and carve out their own working environments accordingly.
Benefits to Employees
Companies aren’t the only benefactors of remote working. Employees are enjoying the work from home life, too. And staff members are equally enthused about getting work done.
Pajamas All Day
There’s just something relaxing about not having to get dressed for work by putting on a tie or strapping on the uniform. The comfort of wearing pajamas while you work might just be the perk we all didn’t know we needed. And it’s easy to quickly put on a polo or presentable shirt for a quick video call. Business up top and relaxation on the bottom might be the best part of working from home.
Saving on Gas
Not having to drive to work every day has put hundreds of dollars back into the pockets of thousands. The daily commute for some individuals can be lengthy. But whether you’re saving $10 or $100 each week, savings count. Working from home means not putting that wear and tear on your vehicle, too.
Better Work-Life Balance
The flexibility benefit extends to employees just as much as it does to employers. Employees are finding a work-life balance with remote work these days. It seems like less work when you’re able to grab your little one a fresh cup of juice between spreadsheets. Employees are dedicating a few hours at the desk and then enjoying the freedom of spending a little time with the kids or catching up on the laundry.
Is Remote Work Here to Stay?
With the countless benefits to both employers and employees, it may seem likely that remote working is here to stay. Of course, not every industry is conducive to work from home lifestyles, either. But the overarching trend may support at least some working from home.
Remote Work Doesn’t Apply to Everyone
If remote work was ideal for everyone in every industry, adopting remote work permanently would be a no-brainer. But not everyone can do their jobs in pajamas or from behind a screen. Most of the essential workforce has to report for duty onsite, making a unified transition to remote work impossible. And many companies are looking to explore a return to normal, asking their remote workers to start venturing back to the office, too.
Downsides to Offsite Working
It’s not all rainbows and unicorns working from home. And if you’ve been working remotely for any period of time, you probably have a list of cons in mind. For example, there are fewer work distractions to contend with, but even more distractions can arise when working from home. Remote workers are also complaining about not having a stopping point in the work-from-home environment. When you maintain a constant connection to work, checking emails or taking calls, it can lead to serious burnout.
The Hybrid Model Might Be More Fitting
Many businesses are adopting a hybrid model of working environments and finding tremendous success. They are finding ways to leverage the many benefits of remote work without losing the onsite normalcy. Collaboration is made easy with virtual and in-person meetings. Some individuals work better at their personal office desks while others are more productive at home. The hybrid work flexibility allows both types of employees to find their ideal environments. The ability for a company to consider at least some remote working employees opens up the candidate pool for employment resources, as well.
Remote working may not be a feasible option for everyone, but companies are adopting more work-from-home models. The home office and virtual work connection might be here to stay. And another task on your to-do list you can handle from your pajamas with a mouse in hand is choosing a Marketplace insurance plan. Browse with W3LL today and explore your health insurance options and premium tax credits for free.