DO NOT POST Remote Working Is Bigger than Ever — and Not Just Because of a Pandemic
Though some states have started lifting COVID-19-related restrictions, millions of U.S. employees who previously went into a workplace every day continue working from home. Given the direction much of the ‘knowledge workforce’ was already at the onset of the pandemic, many may remain remote even after the virus has been contained, says a recent survey from staffing firm Robert Half. The survey found that the instance of remote work in the U.S. is rising.
“In an employment market that favors job seekers, businesses need to provide greater workplace flexibility to attract and retain top performers,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, said in a recent news release about the survey.
The findings are in line with pre-COVID-19 data. Remote work has increased by 91% in the past decade, according to research from remote- and flexible-job site flexjobs.com.
Remote work, then, is not only here to stay, but likely to continue its explosive growth in the coming months and years. Let’s look at the top findings of the Robert Half survey.
Just under half — 47 percent — of respondents said their employers allow remote work.
Of the 2,800 workers surveyed, fewer than half work for employers that allow them to work from home or otherwise remotely. This would seem to bode poorly for the employers. A recent report by connectivity tools firm Zapier found that fully 95 percent of workers want to work remotely, and 74 percent would be willing to leave a position that didn’t allow them that perk.
If employers believe remote work means the kind of chaos surely envisioned by former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer when she shut down remote work back in 2013 (citing a rather hazy connection between telecommuting and lower work quality), they’re detrimentally behind the times. Working remotely no longer must mean working from home at all, so there’s no reason to continue to imagine nightmarish scenarios of company equipment and sensitive documents falling prey to children, house pets, and spilled oatmeal. Professional, elegant, secure, and fully appointed (not to mention affordable) flexible office space can be had throughout the country, even here in and around the nation’s capital. At these flexible spaces, there’s no need for members to come in every day at the same time, or even the same location every day or (every week). Nowadays flexible is the name of the game, and is the main reason these workspaces have risen in popularity in recent years.
A lack of “adequate” technology keeps people in the office.
Another top reason for not working from home was lack of access to “adequate technology” (cited by 39 percent of Robert Half survey respondents). However, working remotely needn’t cost more to implement and run than working in a traditional office setting. With reliable, secure Wi-Fi, a sound, up-to-date computer, and a cell phone, most knowledge workers can do what they do from the office anywhere in the world. After an initial and perhaps monthly outlay for a video-conferencing service or similar tools, remote work will save employers money.
Parents (74 percent) are more likely to use a work-remote perk.
Perhaps there’s little surprise here, but working parents (74 percent) are more likely than their non-parent counterparts (64 percent) to take employers up on a work-remotely option. Juggling childcare and paid work is no joke, as millions of people found out when schools and daycares shuttered nationwide.
Historically, parenthood and traditional office jobs in the U.S. haven’t had the best relationship, with employers sometimes penalizing mothers and fathers for needing flexibility to accommodate family obligations. Employers that allow remote work typically understand that when work gets done isn’t nearly as important as whether work gets done, and remote workers tend to work more than their onsite counterparts.
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