Last year, we were faced with numerous unknowns that resulted in a drastically different lifestyle. As lockdown initiated, we began to spend a ton of time with our household. Schools were virtual. Most everyone who could work from home was working from home. For the most part, people did not go out unless necessary. A magnitude of emotions overcame all of us. No one knew precisely how the pandemic would play out. A year and a half later and there are still many things we do not know. Some people and companies were already used to telework, but most businesses and workers who began to work from home were not. What we do know is that remote work became a positive of the pandemic for many people.
Some concerns arose when work equipment or documents were being accessed from home. Employees were as careful as they were in the work setting. Departments were able to add in secure zero trust and other features to keep internal networks safe. Some companies send weekly or monthly internet safety emails with tips and tricks for keeping data safe. Others let their IT departments pick what needed to be installed on computers before working from home. We learned that working from home can be secure when the appropriate steps are taken.
2. Employee Satisfaction
Employee satisfaction and retention are two key indicators for companies. Low employee satisfaction can lead to decreased productivity and higher turnover rates, both of which are bad for business. While the transition to remote work was overwhelming and terrifying for many initially, statistics have shown that employees are reporting higher job satisfaction with the ability to work from home. A FlexJobs’ survey revealed that 58% of individuals who responded desired to work from home full-time after the pandemic, and another 39% would prefer a hybrid model with some remote work and some office work. We learned that working from home has provided flexibility and better work-life balance that most employees find desirable. In fact, those individuals currently searching for new jobs are even more likely to search for postings with a hybrid work model or full-time remote work possibilities.
Companies even saw an increase in productivity and efficiency during the transition to work from home. Businesses have realized that employees do not need to physically be present in the office to meet deadlines and do great work. Remote workers were found to be 35-40% more productive than the workers who remained in-office, probably due to workplace distractions. Surveys showed that company productivity remained the same or higher since remote work began at the start of the pandemic. The employees who said they were more productive working from home ranked their reasons for increased productivity. The top answers were fewer interruptions, a quieter work environment, a more comfortable workplace, more focused
time and avoiding office politics. We learned that remote work provided employees with the opportunity to thrive, produce great work and be just as efficient, if not more efficient while working from the comfort of their own home.
4. Time Management
Remote work has helped many people to fine-tune their time management skills. While these tasks may have seemed daunting at first, their time management became enhanced once individuals got into a routine. Weekly staff meetings and other meetings that previously filled the workday were not feasible in person during the pandemic. Instead of these meetings, emails were sent, or video conferences were set up. We learned that some meetings are actually wasting valuable working hours and have found many instances where emails work just as efficiently as meetings would.
Remote work was initially feared and probably a source of anxiety and worry for many employees and employers alike. The prospect of something new that happened almost overnight left many people scrambling to adapt. The good news is remote work has improved employee satisfaction and productivity in most cases. We have learned many things from the transition to remote work, with the most important being that people desire a job that has remote work capabilities or a hybrid model.