After an intense year of economic, political, and pandemic turmoil, we are starting to return to ‘normal.’
But, here’s the big question: do we want to go back?
Months of fear weren’t on anyone’s Christmas list. But it gave us a global reset. The opportunity to take a step back, change, evaluate our routines, and improve our habits.
For businesses, remote working is one of the biggest changes to come out of the pandemic. Countless people started working from home, which raised the question, are people more productive working from home and does remote work promote staff wellbeing?
Pandemic Productivity – The Statistics
Before the pandemic, a few outliers took daily trips to the coffee shop to complete their work. However, for the rest of us, remote work was a serious change with valuable benefits.
Now, we’re not here to wade into the media debates about whether people should be forced back into offices, but to analyze the benefits of giving remote work a chance!
Work From Home Research Outcomes
A poll of over 30,000 workers in the United States found that:
- Work from home days will account for 20% of hours post-pandemic, compared to 5% beforehand.
- Remote work increased productivity in the United States economy by 5%.
- New technologies, such as team collaboration tools, will result in long-term economic gains.
The National Bureau of Economic Research also found that workers can carry out almost 100% of educational services, scientific professions, and service management roles from home. In short, this research shows that working from home has quite a few perks for businesses – and the economy! From here, let’s look at why – and what it means for the future.
The Future of the Work From Home Boom
Initially, the switch to remote work wasn’t meant to be permanent. At the start, staff may have been reluctant to try and juggle work from their sofa but quickly changed their minds when they saw the advantages.
Here are a few reasons why working from home works!
- Commutes are history
Avoiding an hour or two commute to work means fresher minds, faster start times, and a working day that doesn’t start and end with frustrating traffic jams or monotonous train rides.
- Childcare is easier
Parents have long struggled with the dual responsibilities of being a great employee and an awesome Mom or Dad.
Working from home and full-time parenting isn’t, of course, viable, but it gives parents more flexibility. It relieves some of the pressure in childcare emergencies and allows parents to adapt their work schedules to their family’s needs.
- Team collaborations are better
The rise in communication technologies has made it easier to collaborate across the world, in different time zones, and with colleagues you might never have met!
- Flexibility is the norm
We often think about working parents when we talk about flexibility, but that aspiration applies to everyone. Maybe you work best at night, prefer blasting out rock tunes to get your synapses firing, or conduct killer sales pitches in downward dog. None of which is particularly appropriate in your standard office environment.
However, no one is there to say what you can or can’t do at home. Working from home gives control back to employees, allowing them to manage their time and tasks in a way that aligns with their personality – resulting in greater productivity and better job satisfaction.
The Benefits of Remote Work for Employers
We can see that working from home can be a fantastic deal for employees. But what about the employers?
Of course, there are some sectors where working from home simply isn’t viable. You can’t serve coffee from 10 miles away or put out fires through a laptop.
However, for those businesses where it is an option, there are some hidden perks.
- Improved morale
- Increased staff retention
- Enhanced job satisfaction
- Fewer sick days
- Greater engagement with the business ethos
Another, perhaps less obvious benefit, is the cost of outsourcing. Twitter has said that employees can work from home forever. HSBC Bank has scrapped its executive floor in London’s prestigious Canary Wharf. How much do you think they’ve saved? Cut back office space, PCs, utility charges, travel expenses, and you’re looking at higher productivity at a much lower cost.
The evidence shows that remote work increases productivity and has several other benefits for both employees and employers. It may be hard to notice any good from this last year of turmoil, but in the workspace environment, it was a win-win. Learn more about measuring productivity in the workplace.