Remote Work: Wave of the Present

Many leaders were able to foresee the labor shortage and that the upcoming market would be extremely candidate-driven, giving workers far more leverage than usual to negotiate increases or find better opportunities with other companies. These companies whose leaders read the room properly and foresaw these scenarios are now reaping the benefits.

Remote work in most cases can be a huge benefit to a company’s hiring and retention strategy. Per a University of Stanford research study, there was a 50% decrease in resignations in companies that allowed remote work! With “the great resignation” upon us, being able to cut the number of resignations in half is a large cost saving for your company when you take things like advertising, recruiting, onboarding, HR work, and training a new employee into account.

Per Owl Labs, 74% of workers say that having a remote work opportunity would make them less likely to leave a company. On top of cutting your number of actual resignations in half, you can also keep most of your staff from even thinking about resigning at all! The cost of replacing talent is even higher in a competitive market, and this is the most competitive market I’ve seen in my entire career in talent acquisition.

Speaking first-hand from a recruiter’s point of view, being able to sell a great work-from-home or hybrid opportunity helps us find higher quality talent for our clients (external recruiters) or companies (corporate recruiter). As we just discussed this market is extremely competitive for talent. Taking an already limited talent market and limiting it even further based on geography can be a huge detriment to your ability to recruit effectively. Relocation or long commutes into an office setting can in many cases be a non-starter for talent in today’s marketplace.

Another benefit to your company is from a productivity standpoint. Per a FlexJobs survey, 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive working from home. When you have a remote work staff, there’s obviously far less oversight from management. Because of that, many think that remote work equals lower productivity. However, from this survey (along with many other available surveys and studies) we can see that is quite untrue on the whole. Will you have a few outliers that need more direct management? Of course, but they can be identified very quickly. From there the problem is either correctable and coachable or it isn’t, and disciplinary actions become necessary.

Companies that allow remote work (per a Stanford study) see an average increase of $2,000 in profit per remote worker. This makes total sense when you factor in costs like office space, supplies, higher utility bills, travel reimbursements, etc. And it’s not only benefiting the company financially. Per TECLA, remote workers save around $7,000 yearly in costs like transportation, childcare, and food!

The three biggest reported downsides to working remotely from a recent Buffer survey of employees are the inability to unplug after work (22%), loneliness (19%), and lack of communication (17%). All three of these can be solved by having solid technology in place for instant communication between employees such as Teams or Slack, in conjunction with a solid remote work policy from the employer outlying working hours, preset recurring meetings or check-ins between team members and management, and clear expectations for the remote worker.

Over the last 12 years, there has been a 159% increase in the fully remote workforce. In the last 5 years, it is still a 44% growth rate. During the pandemic, 58.6% of the total US workforce are still fully remote. This is not a trend or fad that is going to fade away as the world tries to get back to normal. I fully expect exponential growth in the remote workforce to continue as we move forward into 2022 and beyond. Don’t let yourself get left behind in the past, which is what we’ll very soon call 2021.

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