The pandemic sent us all home. Most jobs were compromised, but fortunately, the IT business wasn’t as affected. And since most countries implemented mandatory confinement, that meant that IT Developers were sent home to remote work.
Some analysts have suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic could be a “tipping point” for telecommuting (remote work, working from home, teleworking, etc).
And why is that?
Well, we could start with…
Flexibility is one of the highest-ranked benefits by Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996), according to the report on the State of the American Workforce, Gallup, 2017.
Font: State of the American Workforce, Gallup, 2017.
Talking about millennials is important because, at this moment, millennials are most of the workforce (in IT and other sectors). So, if this generation wants flexibility, well… set them free. Gallup has consistently found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job.
Productivity is how efficient you are at completing tasks. The big question (posed a few years ago and being answered right now) is: are remote workers more efficient/productive?
Studies from Stanford and Harvard Business Review indicate that yes, productivity increases at home One of the most cited studies on remote worker performance was conducted by Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom in 2013. The Work From Home (WFH) experiment was done at CTrip, a NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel company, where 16,000 call center employees volunteered for it. The 9-month study showed a 13% performance increase.
And this is confirmed by most of the remote workers themselves. 76% claim that they are more productive when working at home because they experience fewer distractions.
Julian Birkinshaw, Jordan Cohen, and Pawel Stach also conducted a study, which was published in the Harvard Business Review. They found that “During the lockdown, we view our work as more worthwhile. We rate the things we do as valuable to our employer and to ourselves. The number of tasks rated as tiresome drops from 27% to 12% and the number we could readily offload to others drops from 41% to 27%.”
One problem arises with remote work: the blurring of boundaries between home and office, which means that people tend to work a lot more hours, and also according to the study mentioned above, created some concerns and challenges around longer-term effectiveness, creativity, and personal resilience.
Productivity increased and the millennial generation demands more flexibility. Most people say that they enjoy working from home. They don’t waste time and money on the commute home-office-home.
Even organizations think they can access new pools of talent with fewer locational constraints.
So… is office work dead, and what can a company do to motivate their employees to come back to the office?
A McKinsey article wrote, “Organizations must reimagine their work and the role of offices in creating safe, productive, and enjoyable jobs and lives for employees.”
That article also gave us:
In summary, the answer is… not definitive. It depends on a number of factors that we approach here, but on many that we didn’t, like company culture and leadership. Most likely, most companies will have a hybrid approach concerning remote working. Office working is still an important piece regarding the component of human relationships and also a key part of getting employees fully-involved with the company, and that is still a vital part of having a fully committed employee.