As pandemic fears are beginning to wane, companies worldwide are planning to call back their employees. Employees, who have been enjoying the benefits of flexible working, are reluctant to return to the office and are even ready to quit if the return to the office is made mandatory. Apple was recently in the news as more than 56% of its employees were disinclined to return to the office.
Similar trends were witnessed by other companies in various remote corners of the world. Many companies had to apply pressure tactics to make their reluctant employees return to the office. Given the record number of resignations, termed as ‘great resignation’, where 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November last year, remote or flexible working is once again in the limelight.
Since remote work enjoys popularity and following among employees, companies must avoid standoff over remote work. Employees’ priorities have changed, and they are demanding better work-life balance. With remote work coming to an end, companies expecting their employees back in the office risk losing them to competition. Yet many companies are doing that without realizing the long-term impact.
When companies don’t follow the remote work model, they face the risk of…
When companies force employees to return to the office, they risk losing their best talent. Remote work has made it possible for employees to get jobs in other cities, across states, and even worldwide. Due to the shortage of skilled workers worldwide, knowledge workers are always in demand.
Companies that are offering remote work are in demand. When Airbnb announced its plan to allow its employees to work from anywhere, hundreds and thousands of people browsed their career pages for opportunities.
Over 800 WhiteHat junior employees resigned from the kids online coding learning edtech start-up in the last two months after being asked to work from the office.
A survey revealed that two-thirds of the global workforce (64%) would consider looking for a new job if their employer wanted them back in the office full-time.
In today’s competitive world, attracting and retaining top talent is key for survival. Remote work plays a crucial role in this area. Companies that are flexible attract the best talent and companies that are rigid lose their talent to competitors.
Employers are always concerned about productivity when employees work from remote locations. When employers trust their employees even when they work from home, it will drive more productivity and vice versa. Many studies show that when employees work remotely, they skip coffee breaks, long daily commutes, and any other distractions to focus on their work, which increases productivity.
Stanford University formed two working groups named “remote” and “traditional” and studied their productivity patterns for two years. Surprisingly, the remote work group’s productivity equaled the traditional workgroup and there were fewer sick leaves and a 50% drop in attrition.
According to another survey, 77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period.
When employees work from home, they can save time that is otherwise spent on long commutes. Working remotely adds more hours to their workday, which helps them to have a better work-life balance. With no cumbersome commute or peak hour rush, remote work can improve the health and wellness of employees by reducing stress and strain.
There are several reasons for employees to support remote work as it keeps them healthy and safe. While the employees in the traditional workplace may have to take leave or get permission to visit their doctor, remote workers have much more flexible schedules to not miss out on their doctor’s visits or dental appointments. Since remote workers don’t take time off, they need not miss out on their vacation with family.
Traditional workers who rush to work every morning, attend meetings throughout the day and slog for five days a week have less time for social get-togethers. But remote workers who are in better control of their schedule have more time for gym, family or pets. Though remote working also requires the same level of commitment and dedication, they at least get healthier food options, and they don’t have to skip their breakfast or lunch when compared to their office counterparts who are dependent on vending machines and are under social pressure to catch up with their colleagues at a fast-food restaurant. Many studies have proved that remote employees take less sick leave, and there is less absenteeism.
When employees are asked to come to the office, they are not happy, and they may vent out their anguish on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, Google reviews, etc. Ian Goodfellow, an Apple employee, was in the international news recently after he reportedly resigned from Apple after the company made it mandatory for employees to work from the office. Ian Goodfellow, who was part of their machine learning and artificial intelligence, resigned due to a lack of a flexible work environment and policies and made his departure public. It is said that Goodfellow has now joined Google.
This affects the company’s reputation. Nasty comments and reviews can damage the company’s reputation and negatively affect new hiring. It takes about 40 good reviews to undo the damage of a single negative review.
When employees work remotely, fewer employees are in the office, which reduces costs for a business. When there are fewer employees in the office, it shrinks companies’ commercial space requirements and encourages more efficient workspace
usage. According to a Stanford study, companies saved nearly $2,000 annually per employee on office space on rent alone due to more efficient use of space.
When employees work from remote locations, they are happy, engaged, and fulfilled. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, optimal engagement occurs when employees spend 3 to 4 days working off-site. For any personal work or emergencies, a remote employee need not request any time off. Remote work offers employees more freedom, which would be missing in the traditional work environment.
As the significant reshuffle continues, companies are under pressure to create the best work environment to attract and retain the best talent. Given that some companies are reluctant to implement a remote work model, the hybrid approach appears to be the best bet. But companies will have to be extremely careful in implementing the hybrid model. With remote work coming to an end and employees returning to office, companies must ensure a level playing field for both remote and in-office workers by providing the same level of opportunities and consideration.
While a hybrid work model will help companies to avoid standoff with employees over remote work, it also gives flexibility for employees to choose a working model that is aligned with their expectations.