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Work From Home: The New Norm

As the COVID-19 lockdowns continue, businesses are forced to either shut down or utilize a working from home. Of course, only those who can are (duh- factories can’t run from the laptop). Although the concept of remote work has existed for a long time, it has recently been gaining popularity even before the Coronavirus. It looks like the Coronavirus is just a tipping point for working from home, which has seen 159% growth from 2005-2017. There’s the buzz that this trend might stay even after the lockdowns are lifted, as people are already warming up to it.

How Do People Feel About Working From Home?

laptop, coffee, work from home

The fear of a “disconnect” through a work-from-home environment is gone, as through webcams, people are able to see into each other’s lives on a more personal level and are able to attend large group meetings without feeling left out in a packed, conference room. A fortune is being saved on commute. They’re at ease, and able to focus on work more and create a better work-life balance, massively turning to all the collaboration tools already in use to some extent. This change isn’t going to disappear into thin air. The majority of the millennials already prefers work from home jobs, even if they get a lesser pay. A work-life balance is one of the main priorities for millennials, who will occupy a majority of the job market in the coming decades. According to a survey by Global Workspace in 2019, over 75% respondents believe that work from home is the new norm, and 80% of US workers say they’d turn down a job that doesn’t offer flexible working,

“For millennials, they value salary, flexibility of work schedule and then location. There’s a dog fight for talent amongst employers. Already, employers are finding themselves offering that as a benefit, that flexibility of remote work, set your own work hours and location. Things are already moving in that direction. On top of that, we are in a renaissance of tools that make people effective at working remotely. The necessity of physical proximity has been greatly reduced.”- Ian Siegel, CEO and Cofounder, ZipRecruiter

Why Would Work From Home Culture Continue?

If one solution could save money, (especially during a recession) increase work productivity, give access to a much broader talent pool and increase employee satisfaction and retention, any forward-thinking business owner would jump at the chance. Companies like Zapier, WordPress and Gitlab are fully remote and super successful, having embraced these changes long ago. According to this study among many others, 85% businesses agree that productivity increases with the flexibility. But the COVID-19 situation gave people no choice but to go for a test run, whether they were ready or not, and something in the distant future is the reality. A lot of companies now expect that work from home will continue even after the lockdowns are over.

A recent study by Gartner, last April, got opinions from 317 CFOs about working from home. 74% of them expressed that they’re expecting their employees to work remotely after COVID-19. They stressed on how this new norm can cut down huge real estate costs. Companies are already setting policies in place for remote-working post COVID-19. Microsoft is giving its employees the option of work from home through October, a correspondent told GeekWire. Amazon has made almost the same offer to its employees as well. On the other hand, Zillow Group has announced that employees have the option of work form home at least during the rest of 2020.

What’s The Future For Remote Work After COVID-19?

Investments have been made. Those already transitioning to accommodate remote work made a complete transition. Those who weren’t ready had to adapt and change their IT infrastructure and work policies. There’s no going back from those hefty investments. Cost-cutting and utilization of investments would be a likely choice among a lot of businesses. The demand by employees for remote work had already been high, and it will go higher. A lot of offices will be opening up, and people will be going back to work, but we can’t expect the entire workforce to function the way it used to. Some workers may even choose to continue with their work from home lifestyle instead.

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