In light of the COVID-19 pandemic (still ongoing), many office workers have found themselves working from home for the first time. While the virus will go away (eventually), it seems more likely that working from home is here to stay.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why it’s unlikely working life will just ‘go back to normal’ once this is all over.
By popular demand
Popularity is perhaps the most convincing reason why working from home is here to stay. A recent YouGov survey sought Americans’ opinions on couch labor, and the results were pretty telling.
26% of Americans say they enjoy working from home a lot, while 30% enjoy it somewhat.
What are the most popular benefits? 68% say they appreciate not having to commute; the same number enjoy the option to wear whatever they want; 60% like that they can do household chores while they work; 53% prefer the option to work more flexible hours.
It’s not all positivity, however. Fewer people believe working from home makes them more productive (22%), more focussed (18%), or more inclined to avoid distraction (17%).
Another recent study found that 47% of surveyed workers would actually be willing to take a pay cut in order to work from home at least some of the time.
Now that so many people have had a free trial, it seems likely that working remotely will remain an increasingly popular option in the post-COVID world.
Benefits for employers
If working from home only helped workers, we would be less confident that it’s here to stay. However, it’s worth pointing out that there’s major upside for employers as well. Now that COVID has forced so many companies to try it, it will be hard for them to deny the benefits.
In the first place, since it’s obvious so much work can be done remotely, why should anyone pay for unnecessary office space? In a volatile economy, employers will be looking to slash overhead. Selling off prime business real estate is an attractive option. This trend was already accelerating prior to the pandemic.
A common myth about working from home is that it’s actually ‘shirking from home.’ But another recent study found the opposite was in fact true.
In this study, 900 call center workers were given the chance to work from home for 9 months. Over that time, they substantially outperformed their peers in the office. Callers working from home did 13% more work, working more minutes per shift and making more calls per minute. Their attrition rate was also 50% lower than their colleagues who weren’t working from home, and they reported higher job satisfaction.
All of those numbers represent huge potential value for employers, and suggest working from home could be a win-win. That’s why we think 2020 will be remembered as the year ‘the office’ became obsolete. Among other things.