Reading Time: 2 minutes

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.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Blonde businesswoman selecting image from digital interface

When people hear the word “networking” they automatically think of a registered event with people walking around wearing name tags trying to make a sales pitch. In all actuality, networking is about making meaningful connections. And, while the days of meeting in person and shaking hands may be put on hold for now, thanks to a worldwide pandemic, it doesn’t mean that connecting with people can’t happen.

Even before the pandemic hit, business networking had already seen a major shift to online and through social media. Today, a greater amount of people see connecting this way, even more convenient and helpful. These avenues of networking are better for those who may have had fears of meeting people face to face and have given them the freedom to connect right from their own home offices.

People used to be surprised when they made a business connection on sites like Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter but it’s much more common than you would think. Since networking is something that is best done casually, it makes sense to expand social media networking from a site like LinkedIn, where the sole purpose was to make business connections to more personal social sites.

In addition to social media networking, virtual events have now become extremely popular. Virtual events grew in 2020 and will definitely become more of the norm moving forward. According to a Grand View Research report done in June of 2020, global virtual events are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23.2% from 2020 to 2027. Whether these virtual events are for communication, recruitment, sales and marketing or training, they all make for good opportunities to network and meet new people.

And while the number of places to connect with people has certainly grown, the way we approach these connections shouldn’t have to change. 

Networking, no matter where you do it, should be about building relationships. Unfortunately, traditional sales networking is one of the most painful activities in the business world. It usually involves salespeople communicating awkwardly with over-enthusiastic pitches to others that don’t care to hear them because they are busy trying to do the same thing. It takes a great deal of energy to listen to these pitches. They usually begin with some flattery or niceties and then go straight to asking for business. The whole process can become a big blur. The collection of business cards, email addresses or LinkedIn profiles, names of companies and the services they provide. Everyone wants to talk more than they want to listen. These people are all very much alike and the most important thing is to stand out from the crowd while networking. It’s about building relationships. Not selling!

Is sales networking even possible without selling? It seems like the exact opposite of what should be done. But it works. Building relationships is far more valuable than gathering connections. Relationships can be established at events and online by giving people energy rather than taking it out of them. When communicating, be fully present, don’t pitch anything and be curious and eager to learn about other’s businesses. In doing this, relationships are built on a more personal level. Others will be aware of what you do, not because they are told in a pitch, but because they become interested enough to ask.

By developing real relationships, the value provided is in being more than just an acquaintance but a trusted friend. That is the key to networking. To quote Jay Danzie – “Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark”.