“Technology now allows people to connect anytime, anywhere, to anyone in the world, from almost any device. This is dramatically changing the way people work, facilitating 24/7 collaboration with colleagues who are dispersed across time zones, countries, and continents. ” — Michael Dell, Dell
In March, when millions of workers found themselves working from home as shelter-in-place mandates swept across the country, the sudden shift appeared to be of a very short-term nature. But as the weeks turned into months, predictions that “work from home is here to stay” began to circulate, based on a variety of reasons.
As the COVID-19 virus resisted containment, the safer alternative transitioned to the vague status of “for the foreseeable future,” leaving the arrangement open-ended.
As have other major, world-impacted events such as the Great Depression and World War II, the coronavirus pandemic has profoundly changed the workplace landscape.
Notes Michael Wilmot, assistant professor in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, “This pandemic is no different. It will change work in fundamental ways, and this will challenge people to learn to work in ways dramatically different than previous generations.”
What some predicted, even as others pushed back against the notion, has indeed become a reality. Many from both sides of the employment table have found remote work to be a positive experience—a beneficial arrangement for both the individual and the company.
Consider the recent announcements from major corporations—
- Google announced in July that its roughly 200,000 employees will continue to work from home until at least next summer.
- Twitter has told staff they can stay home permanently.
- Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects half of Facebook’s workforce to be remote within the decade.
Recent survey results have led to post-pandemic predictions such as that one in six workers will continue working from home or co-working at least two days a week, and that one-fifth of the workforce could be entirely remote after the pandemic.
“If white-collar workers are told the downtown office is forever optional, some will take their superstar-city jobs out of superstar cities. That much is obvious,” surmises Derek Thompson. “But these shifts, even if they are initially moderate, could lead to more surprising and significant changes to America’s cultural, economic, and political future.”
While businesses found themselves with no option but to instate an immediate remote work scenario last March, the reality that the model resulted in a win-win scenario surprised many.
Small Business Trends Senior Staff Writer Annie Polis notes, “You get to save money on office space, equipment, supplies, and utilities by allowing employees to work remotely. You can also enjoy improved morale and productivity by giving your team the flexibility to set their schedule, while still keeping them on task using remote workforce management tools.”
The perks to work-from-home arrangements include—
- Avoiding lengthy commutes aboard crowded buses or subways
- Reduced employee transportation costs
- Less environmental impact with fewer people commuting
- Better work/life balance
- Flexibility in caring for children or elderly loved ones
- Increased opportunities to seek positions as the location would no longer be a factor
- A larger candidate pool as, again, the location would present little to no issue
As summed up by Jack Kelly, CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms, “The growing work-from-home movement could be an amazing game-changer for people.”
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