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15 Oct 2020

Why Your Company Should Consider Remote Work Post COVID-19

Who would have thought a virus would bring the world to a standstill in 2020? No one. However, here we are, COVID-19 is with us.

This virus has changed every aspect of our lives, and more so how we work. COVID-19 has moved workers from offices to their homes.

It is an unprecedented way of working for both workers and organizations. However, that does not mean remote work is a new phenomenon.

This mode of working has been there; it is just that this pandemic has accelerated its adoption.

So, will companies continue with remote work post-COVID-19? As it is, companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Square, and Coinbase have adopted permanently working from home for part of their workforce.

Would your company consider this option? Yes, no, maybe, or do you still need convincing?

Whichever your answer, remote work is something your company should consider, especially if your company’s core business runs on knowledge work.

Here are some reasons why your company should consider remote work or set up a hybrid system post-COVID-19.

1. Increased Productivity and Performance

The biggest concern for most companies is: Are remote workers productive? The simple answer is yes!

In a study done by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom, which analyzed the performance of call center workers of the largest Chinese travel agency, Ctrip, it found that employees who worked from home had a 13% performance increase compared to their counterparts who worked from the office.

Out of the 13% increase in performance, 9% of it was attributed to working more minutes per shift (fewer breaks and sick days) compared to those who were at the office.

While 4% from more calls per minute, which was attributed to a quieter and more convenient working environment.

So, if you are worried that your employees will watch TV all day long, then this is an unfounded fear.

Employees who work from home have shown they deliver much more compared to those working from the office.

Also, the study reported improved work satisfaction, and the attrition rate halved.

2. Better Work-Life Balance

The State of Remote Work 2019 report published by OwlLabs, reported that 91% of respondents of the report cited better work-life balance as the main reason why they prefer working from home.

Another study, FlexJobs 2019 Annual Survey: Flexible Work Plays Big Role in Job Choices, showed that 30% of employees leave jobs because there are no flexible options. 80% said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. Think about that.

The Flex Survey also found out that 73%, when looking for a new job, the decisive factor is whether it has a good work-life balance. It ranked above health insurance, vacation time, sick days, or any other benefits that a company has to offer.

This is a cue for companies that their employees want to work to live and not live to work.

More reason why you should consider remote work for your company post-COVID-19.

3. Less Commute Stress

According to a study done by Robert Half, when workers were asked, “Have you left a job because you had a bad commute?” 23% responded in the affirmative. The issue was more acute in Chicago, Miami, New York City, and San Francisco. 60% said their companies had not taken any action to alleviate their commute concerns.

These commutes result in loss of productivity and cause stress on the mind, body, and family relationships.

It has been shown employees with long commutes suffer from psychosomatic disorders at a much higher rate than people with short trips to work. They also suffer from headaches, backaches, digestive problems, high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and concentration problems.

In the long run, these unhealthy employees will be a cost to your company since you will have to cater to their health.

Going forward, post-COVID-19, your company can consider including remote work to alleviate the human cost of long commutes and boost your employees’ productivity.

4. Location Independence

Imagine you are a tech startup company in San Francisco and want to develop new software. So, you go ahead and advertise for developer positions and start shortlisting candidates for the job.

However, since you are a start-up, you quickly realize you cannot compete with the big boys in attracting the best talent to fill the position.

So, what do you do? You readvertise the post and indicate the position is location independent. In no time you have applications from all over the world, conduct interviews, and find great talent to help you develop your software.

Since these people will be working remotely, you can all together for-go having an office. Imagine not having to pay the high rent costs in San Francisco. Win-win.

This is what location independence creates.

You attract top talent from all over the world, and you can also operate location independent.

So, post-COVID-19, if you are in an industry (like tech) that allows for location independence, you may consider transitioning fully into remote work. It will save operation costs and you will not be restricted in finding talent only in your area.

5. Improved Inclusivity

Creating an inclusive workplace can be difficult if you were to search for employees in your area only. Most probably, you will end up with a pool of very similar people.

Remote hiring enables you to find people from different places in the world, different cultural backgrounds, various socioeconomic statuses who will enrich your company with different perspectives.

Insights from The Diversity and Inclusion Revolution by Deloitte Consulting LLP shows that inclusive workplaces are six times more likely to be innovative and are twice as much to surpass their financial targets.

By embracing remote work, you also include people who may not readily find employment onsite with your company but have the skills. For example, people living with disabilities, caregivers who need flexible work schedules, military spouses who cannot find work that matches their skillset wherever their spouse is posted, among other dynamic life situations.

Post COVID-19 consider remote work to improve inclusivity in your company.

6. Positive Environmental Impact

According to the US Census Bureau American Community Survey, 76.4% of commutes done daily are completed in single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs).

This translates to over 170 million SOV trips done each day, which are emitting carbon-dioxide and nitrate into the air resulting in poor air quality.

The health risks connected with this include respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis and other life-threatening conditions like cancer.

By embracing remote work, the negative impact on the environment caused by commute is reduced. As it is, during this COVID-19 pandemic,there has been an improvement in air quality all around the world.

Remote work is, therefore, something you can consider adopting post-COVID-19 and do your part in combating climate change as a company.

7. Reduced absenteeism

It is estimated 78% of employees who call in sick are not sick. They do so when they are facing stress, low morale, burnout, disengagement, bullying, or harassment by co-workers or their boss, childcare, eldercare, or they are just job hunting looking for other opportunities.

The downside is that it is a pain to coworkers who have to cover for the absentee colleague; it also creates undesired overtime for them and eventually creates conflict with the absentee worker. Above all, there is a loss in productivity.

On the financial side, unscheduled absenteeism costs employers $1,800/employee per year, which adds up to about $300 billion per year in the U.S. This is a huge financial hit for any company.

Remote workers, however, report less sick or absent days. This is because they are more satisfied with their work and are less likely to feign illness. The American Management Association recommends flexible work schedules to combat absenteeism. It estimates by embracing telecommute, a company will have a 63% reduction in unscheduled absences per remote worker.

Therefore, another good reason to adopt remote work post-COVID-19.

Conclusion

COVID-19 has flipped life as we know it and the way we work.

Companies have gone ahead and transitioned into remote work as they await the pandemic to end.

Some have already made the decision to continue with remote work post-COVID-19 while others are still on the fence and are looking at how they will go back to the office after this crisis.

If you are still undecided about implementing remote work for your company, try talking with your employees and see how they feel about it. It is a watershed moment, which you can use to reinvent your company and adopt remote work.

The research has validated it is a productive way of working and makes companies much more money. Think about, see how you can adapt it in full, or how you can create a hybrid system post-COVID-19. Don’t let this moment pass.


About Hilda Munjuri
Hilda is a freelance writer and enjoys finding new tips and hacks to save time and make work easier.


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