Remote work has always been a perennial perk for office workers—even before the pandemic. As internet connectivity and technology improved, it became a viable option for workers and companies seeking to transform the work environment.
For workers, it was initially about work-life balance. It allowed people to ditch their commute, get to work faster, and have a little more flexibility in their day. For companies, it was a way to make employees happy and reduce hard costs at the office. Many were already downsizing and switching to shared workspaces, significantly reducing costs, increasing productivity, and lowering employee turnover.
And then, there was Covid. Organizations that were already partially remote pivoted easily while others scrambled to put systems in place. We learned much during the two years that followed. Though many employees are back in the office, it’s clear that the way of the future is hybrid work.
What Employers Learned
Before March 2020, many employers were hesitant to allow employees to work outside of the company office. After that time, those fears were appropriately assuaged. Because there was reduced demand for dedicated office space, many companies chose to downsize, lowering costs significantly.
Remote operations also opened new avenues for recruiting. If talent didn’t need to be geographically co-located, companies could look further afield to fill their vacancies; considering the critical talent shortage we’re facing now, this is a noteworthy trend.
Now, let’s look at what remote work means for employees.
What Workers Want
During the pandemic, everyone’s priorities changed. Women, in particular, needed more flexibility to care for families and children. Many left the workforce because they had no other option. Those given freedom, stayed employed, but now that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, there’s no going back.
Most workers (not just women) now say that flexibility is essential. Many would accept a job at less pay if it afforded them more flexibility. During the Covid crisis, priorities realigned, and mindsets changed. Essentially, people realized what’s important in life—and it was not being enslaved to an inflexible job.
Employers that insist on having workers in the office even when it’s unnecessary for business now have difficulty attracting good employees. The bottom line? It’s no longer enough just to have a job with decent pay. Employees that are given that freedom feel they are being heard and cared for and will be more likely to work hard and stay loyal to their jobs.
Remote work has helped employers and employees maintain productivity in an uncertain world. What’s there to fix if nothing is broken?