Remote work seems to be permanent because of the pandemic
After almost a year and a half of working in the comfort of our own homes amid a pandemic, one thing is certain: remote work is possible. COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives. One of those biggest changes has been the rise of remote work.
The flexibility that the pandemic has provided in regards to remote work has led working people to not only evaluate what work means to them, but evaluate how they want to spend their time, according to NPR. The Pandemic and working remotely has prompted people to consider their interests outside of work. Working people are finally realizing that they want more flexibility, better pay, and would rather quit their jobs than accept poor working conditions.
Productivity was one of the biggest concerns that managers had with remote work. However, productivity among workers actually went up when offices shut down, according to WBUR. Working from home made workers more productive during the pandemic. Not only they had the flexibility to perform other tasks in their “to-dos”, but they were able to eliminate the stress of commuting and getting ready for work every day.
Employees who worked remotely worked 1.4 more days per month than their colleagues who worked at the office, according to a study posted in Business News Daily. When people are given the opportunity for a more flexible work schedule through remote work, it allows them to focus on other facets of their lives, which ultimately, reflects in the work they do and how much energy and time they contribute.
The argument for remote work as a permanent option is a strong one, but it has become even stronger after the pandemic highlighted some of the flaws with traditional work at the office. One of those flaws was commuting to work and how much time and energy it actually took. Survey ranked Los Angeles as the #1 stressful commute in the U.S., according to CBS Los Angeles.
Workers spent an average of 53.68 minutes commuting in LA each day, which is higher than the national average of 49.1 minutes. Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased up, at least 70% of workers in the U.S. say that they would prefer to switch to a hybrid work-from-home schedule or stay remote full time, according to a recent survey done by the Society for Human Resource Management.
The benefits of working remotely are more than just not having to stress about commuting. The work-life balance has also improved. From more than 4,000 respondents working from home, 73% said that working from home improved their work-life balance, according to a recent FlexJobs survey. Other benefits that came from a better work-life balance were women who had just given birth had lower levels of depression when they were able to work from home as opposed to having to go back to the office, according to a study from 2015. Working from home also means there is less stress of worrying about childcare and taking time off to take care of family responsibilities.
The Great Resignation, a term first coined by Dr. Anthony Klotz from Texas A&M to predict the mass exodus of people from the workforce proved to be extremely real as during the months of April, May, and June 2021, a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This points to the trend that the pandemic has caused a permanent shift in how people view work, life and how they want to spend their time. They would much rather quit their jobs than work under poor and difficult conditions. One of them being permanently returning to the office.
Giving workers the option to stay hybrid or fully remote gives them the opportunity to pursue other interests that they may not have had time for before. Workers, in general, are more happier and productive when they’re given a flexible schedule and competitive pay.
Workers have realized that the benefits of working from home outweigh the stressful working conditions that existed before the pandemic. So, they are demanding more in terms of a better work-life balance and increased leisure time.