When the coronavirus outbreak hit the United States and different areas of the country began to quarantine or lock down, working from home became a reality for millions of people. Remote working has been a growing trend for years, but with prolonged lockdown periods, it’s very likely that it will become a regular practice for many businesses.
The Trend of Remote Working
Like remote learning, remote working is a fairly new phenomenon. A decade ago, almost no one was working from home. Employers only offered it to workers with special skills or special circumstances. As internet access at home has broadened and improved and technology and teleconferencing have gotten better and more user friendly, remote working has become a real possibility companies could offer their employees as a perk or an option for flex time. Before this year, a small but significant percentage of workers telecommuted once or twice a week as a part of their work schedule.
A Win for Workers
Many workers have embraced working from home because it offers several distinct advantages. They can more easily manage their lives and their family commitments around their work schedule. They save time because they have no commute. For Americans, the average commute to work is 30 minutes, so that’s a gift of 5 additional hours of time to each worker each week. They also save money on fuel and travel costs, parking, wardrobe, lunches, and other work costs.
Another big advantage currently is that employees who work remotely can stay home and not be exposed to sick coworkers. Companies that had the capability and the resources to set up a remote workforce during COVID have done so to remain viable and to protect their workers. Under normal circumstances many workers might also opt to work at home during cold-and-flu season if that were offered as an option.
A Game Changer for Businesses
For business owners offering the option of remote working is a smart business decision and not just during a national emergency. Companies can save money on fixed costs like rent, insurance, and utilities by leasing less space if more of their employees work from home. Some managers have been hesitant to embrace remote working, worried that it might result in worse performance from workers, but studies have shown that employee productivity actually increases when they work remotely. When asked, the majority of workers responded favorably to the idea of working from home at least part of the time. It can be a challenge to adapt to working from home, but according to one survey, 37 percent of workers said they’d be willing to take a 10 percent pay cut to be able to do so.
Employers can only offer their employees the option to work remotely if they have the right technology in place, of course. This includes video conferencing software and other telework tech, as well as robust network capabilities and secure ways for employees to access everything on the network necessary to do their jobs. Most companies require some meetings to function well, either with clients or as a workforce. If they do not have video conferencing in place or their employees are not trained to use it, that is a large stumbling block.
At Moss we work with clients who need to make remote working arrangements for their employees. We set up their networks and telework technology and train their workers to use them proficiently. If your company wants to make working at home an option for your employees, we can build and install a secure system that will allow for full access and communication between your employees so they can focus on getting work done, whether they are at the office or in the comfort of their own homes.