The pandemic has caused a lot of businesses to shift and workers to adapt to new things. One of the most prominent aspects is working from home. At the beginning things were rocky as people who were used to driving to work to offices found their usual routine completely turned around while those used to working from home found it easier to adopt.
But what is going to happen to this culture as things open up again and this pandemic is far behind us? Will people be returning to their offices and working? Or will businesses be okay with employees staying at home to do work?
Well, according to the Global Workplace Analytics (GWA), they forecast that 25 to 30% of the US workforce will be working from home one or more days a week post-pandemic and their reasoning is sound.
These reasons also provide insight into how working from home has shifted during the pandemic.
Employees Enjoy It More
Overall, working from home does have its perks for employees. Working from home provides more flexibility and it’s very much needed in the workforce culture as a whole. Before the pandemic, survey after survey repeatedly showed that about 80% of workers wanted to be working from home at least some of the time. And over a third would be happy to have reduced pay just for that option.
The overall experience working from home during the pandemic was definitely rough on people and may not have been the ideal situation to experience this, but it still provided a glimpse to many of what it feels like.
And now that people experienced it for themselves, there is no going back now.
There’s A Reduction Of Fear Amongst Managers And Executives
Some of the fears of managers and executives around working from home do make some sense. They culminate in the form of trust around this system. They simply don’t trust that people will work unsupervised.
That is age-old business thinking at its best where managers are more concerned over the headcount in the office rather than concern over the actual results. It’s an age-old business tactic because at this point – and even back then – that isn’t managing at all.
Even if things do go back to normal and people come back to work and managers begin looking over people’s shoulders, it’s worth asking whether this accomplishes anything. Managers for years have had this fear and it culminates into a question:
How will I know if they are putting in any work?
It’s a reasonable fear but it’s worth answering that question with another: How do you know your workers are even working now?
Management experts have been praising the importance of managing by results for over four decades now. These people have also stressed that micromanagement and managing by walking around tactics have an adverse effect on people.
This pandemic has forced managers at this point to depend on the results of their workers now as a pandemic has forced everyone to be working from home entirely at this point.
Working From Home Is Smart When Preparing For Disasters
Initially, the main driver of work from home programs have been about attracting and retaining workers. But during the last recession, those initiatives shifted to saving money. It worked phenomenally as occupancy studies showed that businesses were inefficiently using their office space and that 50 to 60% of the time employees from around the world weren’t at their desks.
In other words, it was a huge waste of money to have office space most of the time. And every penny counts when you’re trying to prepare for disasters or unexpected expenses.
It Also Showed How Much Savings There Was
Some companies weren’t prepared at all for working from home and that’s understandable, but the whole experience gave shareholders, stakeholders, and organizational leaders a new perspective into this aspect of work.
In the end, many people see the grand appeal of this and see how it can save businesses money and make businesses more productive in the process. Paired with saving money in certain areas, employers are rethinking the “where” and “how” of work.
Working From Home Is Greener
One of the reasons climate change experts have a tough time getting people to go greener is that it’s hard to see the impacts of our actions. People will continue to do the things they do until something big and dramatic affects their lives.
But now we do have one example to show to people how certain movements can be better for the planet. Case and point: working from home.
We saw immediately in the early days of Covid-19 that being in lockdown resulted in reduced traffic, congestion, and pollution as a whole.
Yes, working from home initiatives haven’t focused on the environmental benefits, however for those who care about the planet, these initiatives could start to emphasize these facts and people can see the impact on it fast.
If we’re looking for an easier, quicker, and cheaper way to reduce carbon footprints, it makes sense to reduce or cut daily commutes to work entirely.
Save More By Travelling Less
The pandemic has also caused executives and managers to rethink their need for travelling to meetings, conferences and other events in person. With the pandemic shutting down airlines and travelling across states and borders, people had to learn about virtual meetings.
And while these meetings don’t have the same benefits as meeting in person, the savings that it offers makes up for the difference when you think about it.
Typically, an employer can save about $11,000 per year for every person who is working remotely even half of the time. Employees themselves can save upwards of $4,000 each year and can save even more if they move to a less expensive area and work remotely full time.
The GWA also estimated that US employers as a whole saved a cumulated $30 billion dollars each day from having workers work from home and not travelling to offices or to other areas.