Remote work has been around before the pandemic, but when the pandemic hit, remote work has become more popular than ever. Employees had to be sent home to avoid the transmission of Covid-19. For employees worldwide, remote work has become the new norm. It wasn’t safe to ride an elevator with five people, nor was it safe to eat lunch in the cafeteria or break room. Wherever you go, you will likely come in contact with another individual.
Since workers adapted to the situation, they found it to be a better lifestyle than working in the office. According to the Pew Research Center, 60% of workers want to work from home all the time.
Remote Work Became the New Norm
A Business Response Survey found that “telework accounted for about 50 percent of paid work hours between April and December 2020, compared with 5 percent before the pandemic.”
Very quickly, it was normal to have a home office, and in-person meetings became Zoom calls. All communication reverted to e-mails and phone calls. Offices everywhere had to adopt new practices for both remote work and dealing with clients.
Why Remote Work is a Blessing
Employers and managers might have been concerned that remote work would have a negative impact if employees were unsupervised since there are a lot of distractions at home. However, employees and employers soon realized there were benefits to working from home.
After working from home for months, some people can have a work-life balance due to their flexible schedule. Without the commute to and from work, life did seem easier. People didn’t have to get up early to commute and beat the traffic. They have more time to get the kids ready for school, and they can plan their activities after work. With more time in a day, people have more time to do everything.
For some employees, there were fewer distractions now that staff didn’t have to go to a meeting physically and fewer interruptions from other chatty employees. Lunch and coffee breaks may not have been as long when the kitchen is only a minute away. Fewer interruptions and distractions meant more work was being accomplished.
Working from home also allowed employees more flexibility in their day. They could start work sooner. They might put more hours in on some days so they could finish earlier on Friday. Some managers were happy as long as deadlines were met. They didn’t micro-manage their employees’ hours.
An Owl Labs State of Remote Work 2021 Report noted that they “learned productivity didn’t suffer, with 90% of respondents that worked from home during the pandemic saying they were as productive working remotely compared to the office.”
With most employees at home, there was no need to rent a big office or waste money on gas since the gas price was always fluctuating. By cutting back on expenses, employees have extra monthly money to pay off their debt, bills, groceries, and other miscellaneous things.
Sweatpants and t-shirts became the new uniform for employees. This also contributed to increased productivity. One employee commented to the Washington Post, “I can focus on my work, on my skill development. It’s just about my work [not] what I’m wearing or how I did my hair.”
Happy Employees & Employers
If employees’ work-from-home arrangement has changed their life for the better, those employees are going to remain loyal to their employer. No need to jump ship if there’s smooth sailing in this employer-employee relationship. For some employees, remote work meant less stress and less risk of burnout. It’s easier at home to close the laptop and walk away.
Employers enjoy all the above benefits if they are also working from home. They, too, are happy remote workers. They are saving money. They’re enjoying a better work-life balance, maybe even more so because travel and late meetings are not a daily occurrence. From a business standpoint, they may also save on overhead costs, employee sick days, etc.
Returning to the Office is Getting Serious Pushback
If everything is going so well, will there be a return to the office? In some cases, yes. For example, there may be pressure from small businesses for employees to return to the office so that they support the local economy. Also, some employers think employees should be back in the office, even if it’s a hybrid model of two days in the office and three days at home. So in 2022, some offices began to migrate to a hybrid model.
The reality, however, is that some employees aren’t keen to return to the office. Pew Research found that “60% of workers with jobs that can be done from home say when the coronavirus outbreak is over, if they have the choice, they’d like to work from home all or most of the time.” The Owl Labs Report noted that “38% said they would be willing to take a 5% pay cut to work remotely at least part of the time.”
When push comes to shove, some employees will look for a new job where full-time remote work is offered.
The Genie is Out of the Bottle
When remote work has become the norm, no one wants to return to the office. Once a lifestyle has been changed, there is no turning back. Employees are not seeking employment elsewhere because they want a flexible job that gives them less stress and more time. They want more in life than commuting and grinding the 9 to 5 at an office. Remote work is indeed the new norm!
She started her blog, The Money Dreamer, when she realized the 9-5 job was not the lifestyle she wanted anymore. After designing for a while, she wanted a more meaningful life, which was freedom, so she decided to venture out. She took action so that she can live her dream life and decided to help people to live theirs by helping them how to save, budget, and invest.