Strong Evidence That the Remote Workplace Is Here to Stay

It took no more than a few months to stop COVID-19 before a large number of employees realized they could do their job well without ever setting foot in their office again.

By working remotely, people helped people to imagine a new attractive reality to move to a new city, town, or country while maintaining their current livelihoods.

Instead of fighting the rapidly changing tide, the Pillars of Silicon Valley embraced the new business reality. Facebook recently offered its employees the opportunity to work permanently at home. Twitter announced that it will not reopen its offices until September 2020, giving employees the option to return when offices open.

The prospect of working full-time remotely is no longer imaginative or challenging. This may be a new normal. And it will change the way we operate in the post-pandemic world.

To get a better idea of   how employees’ attitudes toward the workplace are changing, especially in the face of the pandemic, our company surveyed more than 1,000 remote workers. Respondents varied by age and level of employment and were from across the country.

We found new information about office work. For example, we were surprised that 42% speculated that remote work would eventually replace physical offices.

Employees worried about going back to the office

As companies reopen, there is a general concern about how safe life in the open workplace will be.

In our survey, 38% said they were nervous about returning to work and anxious to see what security changes would be made.

Another 6% were discouraged by the fact that their bosses forced them to return to the office, even if they wanted to work remotely.

Working from home can be more productive

A total of 39% of respondents in our survey found that they work remotely more productively, without the attention of an office environment.

This concept is not really new. Startups have been harnessing the power of remote teams and virtual workers for decades, while the money that would go to the owner of an office park was poured out.

(A note: it’s funny that managers who liked to have open office layouts and policies to bring their own devices were so reluctant to do the real work in their own space; but after the experience, it will probably come true.)

Interestingly, among those who reported NOT feeling more productive at home, the blame fell on the lack of technical resources and resources (21%) and a lot of distraction, this time in the form of children and housework (17%). Even if, in theory, children go back to school after the pandemic.

What the office does well

A clear role that the company plays for our research group is to enable and promote the relationship between employees.

A significant 60% of respondents said they had difficulty maintaining working relationships while working remotely, and 28% said they did not interact with colleagues daily.

There seems to be a social aspect that Zoom meetings cannot replicate and it can be difficult for the next generation of executives to find a way to reiterate the value of personal engagement.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the traditional office we knew will no longer exist.

Face-to-face work will still have a place in the post-COVID world, but models of open offices and cube farms will have to undergo significant and expensive changes to ensure working conditions.