Will Covid-19 and Working From Home Change The Way We Work Forever?

Will Covid-19 and Working From Home Change The Way We Work Forever?

Shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic took hold of the U.S, much of the workforce took to working from home. The change was unexpected, but people made it happen. In reality, it wasn’t a complete shock to the system. Over the past few years, more and more individuals have been choosing to work from home. The pandemic merely sped up the transition from working in the office to working from home. But is that transition permanent?

The Truth About Working from Home

Based on a survey from the Census Bureau, about one-third of all U.S workers have the ability to work from home. While not all of them do, many of those workers now exercise the option to work outside of the office. For some, the opportunity was provided because of Covid. But, for others, the pandemic pushed them to take hold of a chance that was already there.

Working from home is a luxury that many people dream of having. For one, it gives them flexibility. If you work remotely, you save money on transportation costs. You also spend no time commuting, which shortens the workday. In most occupations, remote work allows for a much more flexible schedule.

That said, there are challenges that come with a remote working lifestyle. Despite not having a commute, working from home often means people work all hours of the day. If the phone rings, they answer it - regardless of the time. It’s harder to separate work from home life. There are also the technical challenges. Because most people weren’t planning on working from a home office, they didn’t have the right setup. They might not have the software for a phone conference or internet capable of meeting their needs.

Since the pandemic started, workers weren’t given a choice. Certain businesses required their employees to work from home, or they couldn’t work at all. This pushed people into the position and made the pros and cons of working from home irrelevant.

Overcoming the Barriers of Remote Work

After being forced into having their employees work from home, companies came up with ways to overcome the obstacles of a remote workforce. They improved on the following to limit problems and make the transition smoother:

Data Security

In some industries, security is of the essence. On a typical home network, data isn’t nearly as secure as it is in a protected workplace. Wi-Fi networks are notoriously easy to compromise. Therefore, companies came up with ways to allow their employees to connect with networks and safely access secure data.

Of course, some companies have high-level security protocols. These aren’t always able to be replicated at a home office. For some employees, this is the only reason working from home isn’t a possibility. In the future, new developments could open doors for employees who work in industries with security concerns.

Less Focus

There are some managers who have concerns about their employees’ focus in a home environment. Without being under a manager’s watchful eye, will an employee get work done? There’s the added struggle of constant distractions. In an office setting, there are no DIY projects or kids playing in the background.

However, an overwhelming majority of businesses had positive results. Instead of a decrease in productivity, many companies noticed an increase in productivity after shifting to remote work. One study of 800 businesses showed that 94% of the participants saw steady or increased productivity after the pandemic. Even if focus is a problem, productivity certainly isn’t.

Lack of Cohesiveness

When employees all work in the same environment, there is a sense of comradery. But when people work from home, does that disappear? It’s impossible to argue that there is no effect on cohesiveness when people work from home. However, companies have been using methods to keep their employees in touch. Video conferences, chat apps, and other platforms make it possible for workers to remain connected.

Making it a More Permanent Option

Having seen the benefits of working from home and having overcome the majority of challenges, companies are shifting to a work from home model. Not every business is doing so, but there are companies in every industry that now permit their workers to work remotely. For these businesses, the benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks.

Perhaps the most significant advantage to them is the financial aspect. According to one study, the average employer saves $11,000 per person each year when the individual works from home half of the time. Switching to virtual meetings alone comes with thousands of dollars in savings. Whether you work for a small business or a major corporation, they could greatly benefit from a remote work model.

There’s also the issue of employee satisfaction. When employees are happy, they’re productive. And considering that 75% of over 25,000 U.S adults would like to continue to work from home, happiness seems to go hand-in-hand with remote work. The flexibility and savings from a remote work environment make it appealing to the workforce.

Because so many employees value working from home, it’s something companies need to consider if they want high-level talent. When faced with a decision between two companies, a skilled professional is more likely to choose the company that offers a chance to work from home.

A Glimpse Into the Future

Currently, some of the U.S workforce is back in an office environment. But this doesn’t mean things will go back to normal. After having a taste of remote work, employees and employers alike see the value in it. Covid-19 caused several key developments in technology that makes working from home easier and more productive than ever.

It’s impossible to say what the future holds. However, there’s a good chance working remotely will become the norm, for at least part of the time. And, if you’re looking for a remote job, there are certainly plenty of options available.

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