Working from home: Telecommuting is here to stay

By Lee Cleveland, Polls and Trends - December 13, 2020

Even prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, working from home wasn’t a new concept as companies had started to embrace flexible work options as a way to entice – and retain – employees.

Why?

For some office jobs, an employee’s physical location is secondary to their knowledge and experience.

A study by IWG, performed nearly two years prior to start of the pandemic, showed that about 70% of the entire global workforce telecommuted at least one day in a week.

At my previous employer, a large health association in Washington, DC, staffers (with supervisory permission) typically worked from home 1-2 days per week. And by 2019, the building sometimes resembled a ghost town on summer Fridays (Memorial Day to Labor Day).

Due to early lockdowns following the onset of the pandemic and subsequent safety precautions, working from home has become the norm for many since March, and former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty believes pandemic-driven tech trends will continue even after scientists find a Covid-19 vaccine.

“I actually don’t think these technology trends are going to reverse themselves,” Rometty told CNBC anchor Karen Tso in an interview for CNBC’s East Tech West conference.

A vaccine “allows us to return to perhaps a bit of a more new normal,” Rometty added. “But a number of these things in the hybrid way of working I believe will remain, and the digital acceleration will continue because people have now seen what is possible.”

Remote work isn’t just a fad
Perhaps the pandemic is only hastening what was always inevitable?

In a 2019 study by Buffer.com, a whopping 99% of the interviewees indicated they wanted the flexibility to be able to work off-location at least once in their career. And a report by Zapier.com published in late 2019 suggested that more than 7 in 10 employees would consider leaving an office job for a remote position.

“Remote is becoming less career restrictive. More employers are willing to have conversations with employees and candidates to have remote be an option. More so, companies are adopting remote as part of their company culture vs remote just being a work from home option.”

Matt Nguyen from GitLab

(Courtesy of Remoters,net)

And let’s face it, there are some benefits to working from home for both the employee and company.

  • You save time, money and (sometimes) peace of mind by not having to drive to and from work every day
  • You don’t have to worry about what you wear, shaving, applying make-up or fixing your hair
  • Companies can save money on real estate and other overhead expenses.
  • Some employees insist they are more productive and comfortable working from home
  • You’re not distracted by the hustle and bustle of a busy office and talkative colleagues
  • You’re not confined by a core set of work hours (i.e. 9am to 5pm)

But telecommuting isn’t without challenges.

At my old job, it seemed nothing got done on summer Fridays. Some staff mysteriously went M.I.A. and emails and phone messages were often not returned until Monday.

For that reason, we’d often plan around Fridays when scheduling meetings or setting deadlines.

Not everyone can be very productive working from home as an employee can be beset by distractions that rival – and often surpass – the usual workplace interference such as family members, television, phone calls and those lingering day to day chores that can so easily take your mind off work.

Self-discipline is key.

If you need a little extra push to get work done, enjoy being out and about and / or largely benefit from that irreplaceable face-to-face interaction, working from home on the regular may not be for you or may take a little getting used to. Regardless, someone who is equipped, psychologically and environmentally, to work from home is more likely to get hired these days than someone who isn’t.

Even the real estate industry has taken notice of the work-from-home trend, giving rise to the modern day smart home – a living area where inhabitants can easily and efficiently combine all the comforts of a work office with an entertainment center, security system and household appliances.

Given the recent Coronavirus concerns and fears, companies are being forced to embrace telecommuting quickly. As a result, look for more employers to integrate remote work into their systems and processes.

If you’re an individual or organization looking to start working remotely, check the resources provided by Remoters.net.

For employees looking to work remotely, a quick study into niches that are on high demand can help, as well as using remote focused job boards like the Remoters onethat along with a few others  and following tips to better highlight “remote friendly” skills in the resume. (Courtesy of Remoters.net)


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