The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the future of work, but it hasn’t slowed it down. Initially, employers had no choice but to transition to remote work in response to stay-at-home orders and mandatory quarantines. As restrictions start to lift, businesses are drafting plans about how to work through the tail-end of this crisis and beyond. The pandemic sparked a bizarre social experiment, and now it’s the catalyst for long-term change.
The world is being forced to adapt and rethink the limitations of traditional, in-office collaboration. Is it time to invest in a more comfortable chair for your home office? Permanent work at home is going to become the new normal. Here are five reasons why:
- Office Space is Expensive
How can businesses cope and adapt in a global recession? CEOs will be able to drastically reduce budgets and save on commercial real estate costs by shifting more work to their employee’s kitchen table or spare room. The work is still getting done, even though most offices are sitting empty. The cost of telecommuting software and productivity tracking apps are substantially lower than leasing, furnishing, and heating office space.
- Agility is an Asset
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it highlights the importance of being flexible. Many businesses were slow to adapt to the crisis, and a slow learning curve directly impacted profits, which resulted in mass employee furloughs and job losses.
The global pandemic sent shockwaves through every industry, but some companies were already well-connected with digital assets and agile workflow systems. Having an established roster of remote workers and digital freelancers gave innovators an edge!
- Employees Value Comfort
A 2019 survey by Owl Labs found that remote workers are more loyal to their company and 22% happier than their in-office coworkers. The pandemic caused a widespread transition to remote work that was often rushed and rocky. However, after a few months of practice, telecommuters are reporting that the transition to makeshift home offices was actually a good thing. Working from home is more relaxing with increased independence, comfort, and flexibility.
- Productivity is Possible
Trust was one of the biggest initial hurdles to overcome. If your boss can’t peek into your cubicle, can they really trust you to get your work done? Approximately half of all jobs in the American economy can take place remotely, and 77% of workers say that they’re just as productive at home as they were in the office, according to a survey by Global Workplace Analytics. In fact, remote workers are 43% more likely to log overtime and work longer hours!
- The Gig Economy is Booming
In the US alone, there are more than 6 million freelancers working in the gig economy! This flexible work style has become increasingly popular over the past decade, especially as more platforms have launched to connect employers with talented freelancers. According to the ADP Research Institute, the American gig economy has grown 15% since 2010.
Freelance work ranges from supplemental side hustles to full-time, self-directed schedules. Some independent workers even choose to work while they travel the world with a digital nomad lifestyle. No matter where you’re located or how you choose to take part in the gig economy, freelancers have a unique advantage to thrive in this new normal with permanent work at home policies.