In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the landscape of work underwent a large shift, with remote work transitioning from a niche concept to a mainstream reality for many employees across the globe. This transformation has sparked discussions about the future of working from home and its lasting implications for society, from the economy to individual preferences. A recent Stanford report published in 2022 reveals key insights into what lies ahead in the realm of remote work.
Before the pandemic, 4.7% of all employees worked from home. However, during the peak of the pandemic, this number grew to 61%. As we emerge from the pandemic, 28.1% of employees continue to work from home, showcasing a lasting change in work dynamics.
The Stanford 2022 report acknowledges that while some trends, such as online shopping, are back to what it was before the pandemic, WFH has stabilized at about 5x its pre-pandemic value. Here are some WFH trends in society:
According to the report, adopting a work-from-home model is influenced by four factors:
Working from home reduced quit rates by 35%. However, there is a variation in what workers want. Younger workers prefer more in-office time to have the opportunity to connect and grow their network. Contrarily, older employees over the age of 50 would rather work remotely so they can better manage other responsibilities.
According to the report, 53.1% of employees would prefer hybrid work models and would prefer working hybrid as much as 8% more pay. That being said, the flexibility of hybrid results in high employee satisfaction and engagement.
Productivity stands as a cornerstone of effective work arrangements. Working from home improves employee productivity in two ways. First, it provides a quiet space for employees to immerse themselves in tasks that demand focused attention. Second, working from home eliminates commuting time which not only saves time but eliminates commuting stress.
The physical workspace has a significant influence on both financial considerations and employee satisfaction. A fully remote work model optimizes space and reduces costs. Space typically costs 10% to 20% of labor costs. With WFH or hybrid work models, organizations can allocate resources and redirect funds toward endeavors that drive growth and innovation.
With WFH, talent transcends geographical boundaries. Lower-income regions can offer cost-effective talent. With that said, fully remote work provides large wage savings.
Our society is shifting towards hybrid and remote work models for a range of benefits. However, these models pose challenges in keeping employees engaged. Geographical constraints and not having face-to-face interaction every day can make employees feel less connected to their organization and co-workers. Here are some ideas to keep employees engaged:
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Key drivers of employee engagement and effective solutions to boost engagement levels based on Gallup's 2023 Global Workplace report.
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