Companies across the nation were thrown for a loop when social distancing guidelines necessitated the transition to remote work. Although abounding recent research has actually pointed to the productivity boost that working from home can provide to employees, it’s no secret that companies have been resistant to the shift. And yet, the data doesn’t lie. Research from RescueTime found that employees who worked from home had an average of 4 percent more time spent on their core work than they did during a day at the office.
Although companies in some states are returning to the office depending on the easing of social distancing guidelines from their governor or mayor, remote work will be the new normal — COVID-19 simply accelerated the shift. Here’s why.
1. COVID-19 proved how easily it can be done.
Even the most stubborn of companies had no other choice during the pandemic: they had to work from home. And, now that they have, they had cold hard proof that their businesses could be run from home, even with employees scattered across cities or even the countries. This has led some companies to make remote work a more permanent cultural shift, expanding the work-from-home mandate into 2021. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced a few weeks ago that Twitter employees would work from home moving forward — permanently.
It’s simply a new consideration. If productivity can be met or even outperformed – with added bonuses like less time spent on a commute and the ability for employees to work in the hours they’re most productive (such as those night owls) – companies are more likely to make the switch.
2. Less office space = fewer rental costs.
It’s no surprise that hosting a team — especially a big team — in an office environment is costly for a business. That’s leased space that only continues to grow in cost as a team grows. Research from Global Workplace Analytics reported that if a company allowed just one employee to work from home for half of the time, it would save on average, $11,000. And, depending on the form of transportation the employee takes to get to work, the employee themselves could save between $2,000 and $7,000.
So, imagine a company that has a team of twelve employees. Using this research — if they shifted to totally remote work — that would be a savings of $264,000. That number continues to skyrocket depending on the number of employees a company has.
3. At-home solitude can eliminate office distractions.
Although the main concern from companies has been the lack of accountability that employees will have by working from home, there are also a number of in-office distractions that curb productivity. Here’s one key difference: when working in the office, the amount of hours an employee ‘logs’ counts as their productivity… even if they aren’t doing work that pushes the needle forward. But, based on time at home, their productivity depends on how efficiently they fulfill the day’s or week’s KPI’s.
Office distractions can include coffee breaks with colleagues, distractions like chatting with colleagues, or “water cooler talk,” as they call it. It’s far more efficient to have employees use a real time remote tracker desktop software.
I suspect that although remote work will be the new normal, offices won’t go away. I envision that they’ll instead become more of a meeting spot for companies to host weekly team meetings, or for employees to work in if they want to. With the rise of coworking spaces, some like having the differentiation of time at “work” when in an office or dedicated work space, vs. time at “home” for leisure, social, or rest time. Regardless, remote work is here to stay.