Remote work has been a topic of discussion for years, even before the Covid-19 pandemic began. The technological and digital advancements made even thinking about it possible. With so many tools and programs to support remote work, it might be confusing as to why many companies choose not to pursue it fully yet.
There has been a shift from office work setups to work-from-home because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a necessary adjustment to maintain operations and continue thriving.
And many companies are already adjusting to the new environment. The transition to a remote work setup has been a resounding success for both companies and employees.
A staggering 77% of remote workers believe they are more productive when performing their work at home. Established companies like Adobe, Apple, Salesforce, and Amazon are already switching to permanent remote work because their operations allow them to do so.
The Covid-19 pandemic might be a scary time for businesses, but the adjustments they took opened their eyes to the advantages of remote work. There are endless possibilities to how organizations decide to move forward in a post-pandemic future.
However, is there a chance that total abandonment of the office space for 100% remote work becomes part of the plan?
Remote work is already a possibility since the dawn of the digital age, well before the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, very few companies have the setup prepared because they already have existing physical establishments and on-site approaches that prove effective for their operations.
So when the Covid-19 pandemic shut down public spaces like retail stores and offices, businesses were scrambling to incorporate remote work setups for multiple divisions simultaneously. It was a chaotic situation, especially for employees who dedicated their careers to full-time on-site work arrangements.
As businesses adjusted to the social distancing and lockdown nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, employees had no choice but to work from home. What was supposed to be a temporary solution proved to be an eye-opening realization.
Employees exposed themselves to the remote work environment and its benefits, changing their perspective on career and life in general. Productivity levels are rising significantly.
Employees do not have to waste hours preparing for the commute to the office, getting more work done as soon as they transfer from the bedroom to the home office. In the office, people will see more than half their days dedicated to work-related errands.
Leaving the workplace within work hours to perform personal stuff is limited to emergencies. Remote working removes total supervision, helping employees move from professional responsibilities to household chores with ease.
They can spend more hours bonding with their loved ones, performing hobbies, or even resting. Those factors, and more, add up to the 77% of employees stating that they are more productive in the work-from-home setup.
People’s pleasant experience with remote working led to mixed reactions when companies started announcing their return to the office. Employees already know how beneficial work-from-home setups can be, and they might not be willing to let it go.
Studies show that 74% of employees consider workplace flexibility among the determining factors of whether or not they will stay in the company post-pandemic. It has even reached a point where thousands and millions of workers would consider giving up office benefits like free lunch meals and equipment availability to stay at home while working.
Unfortunately, not every employer welcomes remote work. A 2021 FlexJobs survey states that nearly half of their respondents will plan to quit if their current company forces them to work in the office.
With over 44% of companies worldwide refusing to pursue remote work, a significant number of highly talented professionals are testing the labor market for employers that offer the flexibility they desire.
The impasse reached by employers and employees is where the Great Resignation is born. The Covid-19 pandemic made people realize that their career is further down the priority list than they assumed, definitely not worth sacrificing their health and safety in an increasingly terrifying world.
It might not be the same for every employee, but one powerful statement solidifies remote work as the future of business operations moving forward. If given a chance, 99% of the respondents in Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2021 report stated that they would want to work remotely for the rest of their careers.
Employees are not the only ones that benefit from remote work. Employers themselves experience a bunch of benefits with the adjustments and improvements made to the on-site work environment. The advantages might differ from company to company, but they might fall under the same list:
Businesses can avoid the financial responsibilities of renting and maintaining physical offices or commercial establishments. When pursuing a virtual workspace, companies can save on costs in the following elements:
- Building Maintenance
- Office Sanitation
- Food and Beverage provisions
- Business equipment investment and maintenance
- Utility bills
2. Access to Wider Talent Pool
Hiring remote workers means they do not come with relocation costs. They can work from anywhere around the world, saving employers thousands of dollars over forcing them to go to an office every day.
3. Absenteeism Reduction
Employers will see a significant rise in employees working during work hours, even if they feel a little bit under the weather. Workers often call in sick if their commute is already a stressful errand.
4. Better Office Politics
There might be a lot of tension and negative emotions inside the office, making the environment an unpleasant experience. Office politics will not be a problem for remote work setups because they can move freely without feeling like their superiors are always watching them.
5. Employee Recruitment
Workplace flexibility is becoming an attractive commodity for unemployed professionals worldwide. If a company has job openings with remote work setups, it is more likely to find high-quality talent.
6. Employee Retention
74% of employees are less likely to resign when companies allow remote work setups, eliminating worries of companies that believe offices are necessary for employee retention.
Remote work did not just offer a temporary solution for employers in maintaining business operations. It provided a sneak peek at how companies must approach the future of running a business.
Granted, managing remote teams has its challenges, especially with building team chemistry. However, the virtual setup proves beneficial for both employers and employees. If you want your organization to avoid the effects of the Great Resignation, the inclusion of work-from-home arrangements might be a non-negotiable necessity.
The Challenges of 100% Remote Work
If it wasn’t clear before, the Great Resignation made companies realize that working professionals hold more power today. Businesses relied on their employee performance and perseverance throughout the challenges of the pandemic. They owe business survival to them, which is enough reason to bend to their employees’ will.
However, it doesn’t mean that it is an easy adjustment. Accepting that your company must pursue remote work setups means wasting current business resources and expenses. Your commercial establishment, one of your company’s most costly assets, will no longer be necessary. Office equipment, tools, and supplies are not cheap, especially when involving long-term supplier contracts for inventory replenishment.
Moving to a remote work setup for even one single division means taking a financial hit. Abandoned offices already cost businesses a lot of money during the pandemic. It might be the reason why companies require employees to return on-site, trying to salvage as much value as possible because they kept paying for commercial space rental and maintenance.
Remote work isn’t all rainbows also. With the virtual office containing and introducing more work programs and tools, it can be challenging to keep cyber threats away. As a result, businesses reallocate commercial establishment expenses to IT security. If they cannot build a good in-house team, they have to rely on IT offshoring services to get started.
Employees can also experience communication difficulties, an ever-present issue for remote work setups. All it takes is for the residential internet provider to mess up and delay a person’s work, disrupting business operations in an unpleasant ripple effect. Since employees are not in the office, they might find it challenging to get in touch with one another to address urgent tasks.
Turning your current operations into full remote work can be time-consuming, challenging, financially draining, and overall exhausting. However, businesses will never run out of problems. They will seek and attempt solutions by taking them one step at a time.
Hybrid Setup: The First Step Towards Long-Term Remote Work
The truth is companies that go 100% remote work can achieve it because it was years, even decades, in the making. Their digitalization efforts did not start in 2020 when the Covid-19 virus started a pandemic. To go from on-site work arrangements to fully remote within two years means that those organizations are okay with wasting unused resources they’ve invested in, changing company structure and hierarchy to incorporate younger and tech-savvy minds, and transforming operations without knowing they made consequences and mistakes.
There needs to be a plan when companies pursue a remote work setup. It starts first with testing the waters. Businesses can create a hybrid arrangement where employees can visit the office for work while choosing a few days to stay at home and perform their duties there. A PwC US Pulse Survey shows that employees are welcome to hybrid setups in different forms, as stated in the graph below:
The graph shows that employees are welcome to a hybrid setup, even if it means having only one day to work from home. However, you cannot ignore that a significant part of the survey shows that some employees cannot perform remote work setups.
It means only one of two things. One is that their nature of work is along the lines of construction and manufacturing, relying on on-hand skills to accomplish their tasks. The other, however, is choosing not to seek change. Professions like sales and marketing used to be impossible to achieve online, but they are now thriving in a 100% virtual space.
Companies may have a hard time making the changes because they don’t fully understand how to make remote work possible for certain business functions. Fortunately, outside help is available.
iSupport Worldwide's Role in Helping Businesses Transform
There are already business services that follow the same model even before the Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses to pursue remote work setups for their in-house employees. Offshoring solutions allow organizations to benefit from remote teams from anywhere in the world, performing certain business functions that will significantly reduce costs for the department they choose to offshore. While it is readily available even before the pandemic, it is one of the saviors of business continuity during those trying times.
As the world undergoes work reimagination collectively, iSupport Worldwide transforms from offshoring service providers to modern offshoring partners for businesses looking to make significant changes, particularly when incorporating remote work setups.
The US-based company provides solutions for every step of the digitalization and operation transformation process. Need help with establishing a secure workflow using remote work equipment and programs for your hybrid arrangement? You can rely on our 24/7 IT support services. Need to hire offshore teams to embrace the remote work setup for a specific business division? You can hire talented professionals with us and get them working in as fast as 30 days.
Reimaging work is not an individual responsibility for business owners. iSupport Worldwide is here to help you every step of the way. Book a 15-minute consultation with us and find out how seamlessly we can fit in how you reimagine work for your company.