COVID-19 changed the world in early 2020. Businesses were forced to close their doors, instructing their employees to work from home as much as possible. At first, this change seemed like a bad thing for many people. Now, over a year later, many people are contentedly – and safely – working from home. But will these changes hold after COVID-19 eases up? Or will employers revert back to their pre-pandemic work modes? As far as anyone can tell right now, remote work is here to stay – and here is why.
Growth in the Remote Workforce
As far as anyone can tell, remote work is here to stay. As of July 2020, online jobs had increased by 2.8 times since March of that year, and they still show no sign of slowing down. Brazil saw the most growth, and remote job searches went up by 60 percent. The point of these statistics is to show that we, as human beings in the workforce, are adapting.
It used to be rather awkward having to shove your cat out of the way during a Zoom call or explain why your kids were being noisy in the next room. Now, though, this is the norm. Employers’ views of their remote employees are shifting as we all strive to adapt to our “new” work environments. You can show up in your pajamas, you do not have to worry about getting stuck in traffic, and you can tend to your kids as needed.
This has some vast implications for why people will choose to live in certain places. It also shows that people in the workforce can be just as efficient – if not more so – while working from home three to five days per week. Urban economics, consumer spending, and transportation are just a few aspects of everyday life that are shifting with the need to work from home. Larger cities (such as San Francisco and Chicago) are seeing more people choosing to move to outlying suburban or even rural areas because they feel free to do so. Cityscapes are changing, and therefore so are suburban and rural ones. Expect to see more new homes cropping up in those outlying areas as the housing market continues to shift.
As remote jobs become a more permanent part of everyday life for exponentially more people, employers are having to trust their employees. Many employers were once wary of how unproductive employees were when not being overseen in an in-person workplace. This was especially true for office workers. Now that officer managers and business owners cannot be physically present to monitor everything their employees do, they can use technological methods for tracking progress and must trust their employees to be accountable for turning in timely work.
This, quite naturally, builds trust and a better working environment overall. When employees feel trusted and valued, they are inclined to put in more effort. Being able to do so from the comfort of their own homes is a huge asset that encourages this, as many employers are now finding out. A more productive workforce is also one that is more relaxed and invigorated. They are more motivated to put out high-quality work.
Companies can now also reduce real estate expenses by cutting down on office space. This is a huge money-saving technique that was not seen as viable pre-COVID-19. Some office space is necessary, and select employees will be able to do hybrid work (working from the office a few days a week and from home on other days) or strictly online jobs. Cutting down lease expenses and operations costs can lead to companies being able to expand and hire more remote employees. This is a scenario in which more people – both employers and employees – can benefit.
COVID-19 has undoubtedly had a negative impact on many lives. However, there is an upside to how it has shifted the workforce and its productivity. Remote jobs are definitely here to stay and will only continue to grow.