Are we now a “work from home” economy? Incredibly 42% of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full-time! (Stanford News June 2020) What has this done to our labor force and how is everyone holding up?
One of the biggest concern’s companies have is the productivity of their “at home” employees. The stats may surprise you! 77% of remote employees say they’re more productive working from home. Speaking for myself, there are less interruptions, less distractions (I do like shiny things) and more opportunity for focused work. I don’t have small children. That WOULD be a challenge. I do have a dog. He occasionally barks. For the most part, I like it and I get my work done.
So that’s me. Are there benefits to the organization? (Other than the minimization of Covid which does seem like a biggie to me!) According to Owl Labs, U.S. companies that allow remote working have a 25% lower employee turnover rate and according to Global Workplace Analytics, businesses would save an average of $11,000 per part-time telecommuter! Yep, factor in office, rent, tech, utilities and that all adds up pretty quickly.
Nope, it’s not all rosy! There are definite challenges involved with a remote workplace. Communications can be difficult. You no longer have easy hall banter. You have to schedule time to visit with someone and let’s face it, Zoom (while it is amazing) can get really old! This lack of face-to-face communication can leave some employees feeling lonely and disconnected. This is why it’s so important to have resources to connect. I’ve seen businesses with virtual office parties, managers dropping off (socially distanced) thank you notes and gifts. Even just a quick call to touch base can mean a lot.
Collaborating with others is also a challenge. Deciding platforms for communication, establishing best practices for sharing information and managing projects are critical for forward movement. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available. Do some research and find out which of these are best for your organization (https://www.ventureharbour.com/productivity-tools-for-teams/).
Most analysts agree things are not changing in the short term. It’s up to us to decide how we are going to navigate the “new normal.” Hopefully sometime soon we’ll be walking down the halls high-fiving our co-workers and hearing about the crazy things they did over the weekend. In the meantime, let’s do our best to be kind and patient.