As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and looks to continue well into 2021, employers and employees are getting used to remote work arrangements, at least in workplaces and industries where they’re feasible.
As with any change, there are some who enjoy the new paradigm, some who long for the good old days, and others who fall somewhere in between and wish they could pick and choose the best bits of each.
The discussion of how well remote work is going often centers on the employees: How are employees handling working from home? Do they value the convenience and greater independence, or do they miss in-person interaction and the discipline that comes from working on-site?
When we think about impacts to employers, we often think about those impacts in the context of employee preferences, as well. For example, how has the change impacted employee morale and productivity?
Employers should take advantage of the months of available data and firsthand experiences with remote work to take a more employer-centric look at the benefits (or drawbacks) of remote work. When the pandemic subsides—and it eventually will—employers will have a unique opportunity to fundamentally revisit their remote work policies.
In this post, we discuss a few of the benefits many employers are seeing with remote work.
As noted above, we aren’t going to focus exclusively on the employee-centric benefits of remote work, but employee satisfaction is such a key element that it does require a mention. Employees tend to prefer the flexibility remote work offers, and this can boost recruitment and retention efforts, as well as overall morale and productivity.
What Is the Net Impact on Productivity?
Productivity boosts from increases in employee satisfaction need to be considered against any potential productivity changes resulting from a large-scale shift to remote work. If the net impact is a drop in productivity, employers may rightfully be eager to get staff back into the office.
In the short term, companies whose staff are suddenly mostly working from home might see improvements in their office utility bills. In the long term, they might find they can terminate leases for office space and eliminate other expenses that are no longer necessary.
Broader Applicant Pool
A company policy supporting remote work boosts an organization’s applicant pool. A company based in Lincoln, Nebraska, that requires employees to work on-site has a much smaller pool of potential workers, for instance, than one next door that lets staff work from anywhere in the world.
As the risks of COVID-19 subside and employers no longer feel they need to have staff work remotely, they should consider whether they want to. As we’ve discussed in this post, there are numerous benefits to remote work that employers should consider when making that determination.