About two-thirds of businesses that have adopted remote work policies as a result of COVID-19 plan to keep at least some of those policies in place long-term or permanently, according to a recent study.
The pandemic has forced more businesses than ever to rapidly adopt a work from home model. And though some may have struggled to adjust at first, many are now reaping the benefits of such policies — and that may lead to a permanent shift in working conditions across industries.
Work from Home Permanently Survey
Moe Vela, Chief Transparency Officer of TransparentBusiness, a remote workforce management solution, said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “This is truly an unprecedented situation that has led businesses to have no choice but to adopt a remote workforce model. But then what companies are seeing is that it works. Everybody wins with a remote workforce model.”
For small businesses, the benefits are numerous. 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 own schedule, while still keeping them on task using remote workforce management tools.
Remote work also opens up the talent pool wider than ever for small businesses. Instead of only looking at candidates in your immediate area who have the ability to travel to and from an office each day, you can consider pretty much everyone. That includes single moms who couldn’t otherwise work outside the home, people with disabilities and mobility challenges, those who can’t drive or afford transportation, and people who live outside your geographic area.
Not only does this lead to a more diverse workforce, but it also gives businesses access to more talent than ever.
Then there are the employees, many of whom appreciate the flexibility of their new schedules and the ability to save time on their daily commute. In fact, 98% of remote workers in Buffer’s annual State of Remote Work Survey said they would like to continue working remotely.
So with more and more people getting a taste of remote work, there may be an even larger call for businesses to adopt these policies to attract top talent. Vela even believes that remote work opportunities may become a part of many companies’ benefits packages going forward.
Ready for Remote Work?
Of course, remote work currently is mainly suited for information and computer based workers. Other businesses may not have the ability to support a remote workforce at the moment. And others still may want to slowly transition to fully remote work by letting employees work from home part time or just letting certain people telecommute.
Vela says that employees at these companies that aren’t fully on board with remote work just yet shouldn’t be afraid to speak up — just be prepared to back up your requests.
He says, “For employees who want the ability to continue working remotely, don’t be afraid to ask your employer, respectfully and gratefully of course. Just be prepared to show them that you’ve been effective. Give them evidence that you can be productive so they have no excuse or reason to not let you do it.”
The study that found two thirds of companies are considering adopting long-term remote work policies was performed by 451 Research, a unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence. The organization polled 575 decision makers across industries. It also found that 80 percent of organizations have expanded work from home policies due to COVID-19.
Work from Home Trend Growing
This is just one in a long line of recent studies that has found the business community trending toward remote work. And major companies like Square and Twitter have announced remote work policies that will continue post-COVID-19. So it seems clear that even once businesses are widely able to reopen, the workforce may look entirely different — and not necessarily in a bad way.
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