It was just over a year ago when the workplace changed entirely. Employees were forced to work from home as countries around the globe implemented “stay at home orders. ”As a result, many researchers have sought to understand the impact on the productivity rate and the potential science behind working from home. What researches found was very interesting, as discussed in the Freakonomics Podcast: “Will Work-from-Home Work Forever?”
Morris Davis, an economist in the school of business at Rutgers University, found that “Work from home productivity increased 46% since the pandemic because of the technologies and resources that are more readily available at our disposal.” It is safe to say that, as a result of this success, remote work is here to stay. We agree, and that’s why we’ve embraced the virtual office model ourselves.
As noted in the work from home study conducted by Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom and Steven J. Davis, it was learned that people spent an average of 54 minutes per day commuting to work prior to the pandemic. While remote work became enforced, 35% of the workers spent that extra time working on their job, while 60% spent that time on household work and childcare. The fact that employees could be more efficient and spend more time being productive at home rather than relatively idle commuting to the office is a key benefit of working from home. They can reallocate their time to a meaningful business or personal task. This flexibility and additional control of their time can be enormously less stressful as well.
Another key benefit of remote work is the concept of a virtual water cooler. A virtual water cooler is a communication tool that mirrors the physical version in that the video/digital version promotes new hires and existing personnel to interact more randomly and informally with one another, creating a positive experience of bonding and forging relationships. Overall, there’s more exposure across departments and positions because people are communicating frequently and candidly – socially.
Additionally, remote work is a golden opportunity to diversify talent and build a robust company culture. In the Freakonomics Podcast, Choudhury states, “I think it really opens up the opportunity to consider colleges and universities which are not normally on the radar of the H.R. Departments. Because now you have an opportunity to go and hire from Idaho or Kenya.” This also applies to parents who are looking to move near family and want to pursue their dream job while residing in a different city or state. Remote work can also allow a person with disabilities to work from home, which creates a more inclusive workplace model.
Currently over 50% of employees are still practicing remote work, but that’s not going to work for everyone, or every business. To bridge the gap between working from home and going back into the office – consider a hybrid model. Employees can spend two or three days in the office and two or three days a week working from home. The hybrid model is great because it mixes in-person interactions with virtual interactions. It allows employees to have an expanded work-life balance.
Working from home is appealing to employees because of its flexibility, ease of technology, and expanding diversity. As Choudhury states, “Face-to-face is here to stay, as is remote work. The equilibrium is to find ways to facilitate face-to-face within the remote work model.” With the resources and technologies that people have access to today, such as high speed internet and video conferencing, it is much more manageable and easier to achieve than ever before.
At Marketing Innovators, we’ve been building the tools that enable this new way of working for many years. Whether you’re new the idea or you’ve been down this road before, we’d love to talk to you about taking your tech solutions up a notch.