2020 has been the year of remote work. Even before the pandemic forced organizations to shift their employees to a work-from-home model, 7 million people in the US worked remotely. Since the COVID crisis hit, remote workdays have doubled. According to a Gallup poll, the average worker spends 11.9 days a month working from home, compared to an average of 5.8 days last fall. Also, about one-quarter of the American workforce was working entirely from home by August of 2020.
Moving employees out of the office has been disruptive. But, it’s also revealed an important truth for modern businesses: remote work offers important benefits. Let’s take a look at what those are and what businesses are doing to enable their remote employees to thrive.
Five advantages of remote work
The reality is, with today’s technology, it’s possible to recreate the office environment at home. This allows employees to continue staying productive. It makes workplace collaboration and communication possible, no matter where teams are located. And it enables companies to keep pace during the pandemic.
As a result, businesses are learning that the flexibility and resilience offered by remote work are too valuable to ignore – and it’s why few companies will be returning to a 100% on-premise work model even after we’re beyond the dangers of the pandemic. Here are the advantages that come with this change.
Less traffic and an evolution of the urban economy
If remote work takes hold at the level experts are predicting – with more than 20 percent of the workforce working remotely between three and five days a week – that would equate to three to four times as many people never getting in their car to commute to and from the office each day.
At this scale, there would be less traffic and reduced air pollution from car emissions. A London study found that working from home could reduce up to 11 billion car miles annually, which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.3 tons – and that’s in London alone.
Aside from this communal benefit, individuals will spend less on fuel, transportation, as well as expenses such as eating out and business wardrobe costs. This can lead to thousands in savings every year.
More time for work and life
When employees aren’t traveling to and from work, they have more time to spend on actual work – and more free time to enjoy their lives. A US Census Bureau report found that the average one-way commute is 27 minutes. When you add up all of this time, it translates to nine days spent every year commuting to work. With remote work, people can use the time that would have been spent in a car for more worthwhile purposes.
Easier to attract top talent
The truth is that most people like working from home. A 2019 study by Owl Labs found that 80 percent of employees want to work from home. 35 percent of the US workforce has said they’d change jobs for the opportunity to work remotely full-time. By giving employees the option to work from home part-time or full-time, your company becomes a more attractive place to work, making recruiting and retaining talent easier.
Reduced business costs
One of the most tangible benefits of remote work is cost savings. Organizations that don’t have to house a full-time staff in the office can save on real estate expenses, overhead costs, and operational costs. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the average company saves about $11,000 a year per employee. US employers save more than $30 billion a day by allowing employees to work from home during the pandemic.
With fewer distractions, less commute time, and the freedom to create a personalized work environment at home, most remote workers get more done during their workday. When asked to rate their own productivity, 65 percent say they’re more productive at home.
How to keep your business running while employees work from home
With a tailored IT strategy for your business, you can help your employees stay productive, collaborate, and communicate without missing a beat. This strategy may include cloud-based tools, which allow employees to log in to business applications from anywhere. Video conferencing tools make it easy to connect with co-workers and employees. File sharing solutions enable seamless collaboration. Productivity apps help with time tracking and ensure everyone is staying on track.
The key is to have a holistic plan that brings all of your IT resources together and adequate IT support to ensure your infrastructure is properly managed. The businesses that have been able to get the most out of the shift to remote work in 2020 are the ones that have focused on their IT.
- IT support for remote staff so they can benefit from fast resolutions to problems
- Strategic planning to ensure you have the right tools in place
- 24/7 remote monitoring to ensure your network is constantly monitored
- IT consulting to help your business continue to evolve
Remote work has changed what’s possible – is your business ready to benefit?
The pandemic forced businesses to adapt to remote work fast and to do more with technology than many realized was possible. By being forced to change, businesses have experienced the benefits firsthand – reduced costs, greater productivity, and higher satisfaction rates among employees.
In the future, remote work will likely play a significant role in business decisions, shaping the way employees and employers move forward. To ensure your business is ready to take advantage of the benefits, focus on your technology. A secure, well-managed IT infrastructure is the foundation of a thriving remote work model in 2021 and beyond.Working with a technology expert like KME ensures migrating to a remote working environment is successful and remains efficient in the future. We can help set up the environment or give advice for the best solutions. Reach out to us to learn more.