Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic it is estimated that only 6% of the US workforce worked remotely. Due to the pandemic that number jumped to a high of 70% in April 2019.
There are benefits to remote and/or hybrid work models for both business and the workforce.
What are the benefits on the workforce side?
- Remote employees save an average of 40 minutes daily from commuting.
- Since 2020 people have been meeting by video calls 50% more since COVID-19.
- After COVID-19, 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least 1 day per week and 80% expected to work at least 3 days from home per week.
- 23% of those surveyed would take a 10% pay cut to work from home permanently.
- People are saving on average close to $500 per month being at home during COVID-19. Resulting in savings close to $6000 per year.
- 81% of those surveyed believe their employer will continue to support remote work after COVID-19.
- 59% of respondents said they would be more likely to choose an employer who offered remote work compared to those who didn’t.
What are the benefits of remote working for employers?
- Surveys show companies save an estimated $11,000 per year savings per remote employee.
- Geographic boundaries removed allow for a larger talent pool to fill positions
- Lower absenteeism rates
- Office “Politics” reduced or eliminated
Why don’t people want to return to a traditional work model?
- Change in daily routine: 27%
- Being away from family or pets: 26%
- Office politics and distractions: 34%
- Childcare or caregiver responsibilities: 15%
- Lack of health and safety measures (i.e., wearing a mask, social distancing): 32%
- Being required to adhere to health and safety measures: 21%
The negative impacts to business:
- The belief that workers will slack off if “no one is looking.”
- Employers are afraid employees are more likely to engage in improper behavior while working from home, such as visiting inappropriate websites.
- Employees might misuse company equipment or information.
- This kind of distrust often results in many employers trying to monitor their employees who work from home.
While this “new normal” has both positives and negatives there is also a serious risk associated with remote work. Removing a secure network environment can have unforeseen and potentially wide spread and costly consequences.
- Phishing Schemes
- Weak Passwords
- Unencrypted File Sharing
- Insecure Home Wi-Fi
- Working from Personal Devices
Cybersecurity spending is expected to increase at a double-digit rate in 2021, driven primarily by the need to enable employees to work from anywhere. Gartner is forecasting worldwide spending on information security and risk management technology and services will grow 12.4% to reach $150.4 billion in 2021.
The long-term impact of a remote or hybrid workforce will be reviewed and analyzed for years but one thing has already emerged as a result, “…. what we’re seeing in the data is a shift in people’s mindset post-pandemic.” This new remote/hybrid work model has changed the landscape of employee – employer relationships. The 2nd quarter of 2021 saw the highest number of US workers voluntarily leaving their jobs as business started to reopen. The workforce has readjusted their priorities. Even workers who are not able to do remote work are feeling empowered to ask for more in terms of work-life balance. It would appear that a mutually beneficial relationship has taken a back seat, for now.