Remote work, one year later: Is it here to stay?

Remote work, one year later: Is it here to stay?

As of this writing, the COVID-19 pandemic has just passed its first anniversary, and vaccination programs are ongoing. Companies in Connecticut and the rest of the United States are looking forward to the economy being boosted once more by a third massive injection of cash. So much has changed since March last year, with remote work setups being one of the most prevalent when it comes to business operations.

However, business managers and owners have begun to contemplate on remote work and whether or not it would make sense to adjust operations once again. Chris Herd, CEO of FirstbaseHQ, a startup that supplies companies’ remote workers with IT equipment, went one step further by talking with nearly a thousand companies about their plans for the near future. Here are some of the insights he shared.

Headquarters as we know it will change

Thanks to remote work, offices don’t need as large a footprint as it did before. Less space means less rent and utility bills. These are the likely reasons why firms in Herd’s survey are shrinking their office spaces by 40–60%. This is in line with recent news that many businesses are shifting to a “hub and spoke” model.

Some businesses will do away with headquarters entirely

Many digital companies have led the way to adopting a remote-first approach to their operations. For example, Twitter and Shopify will allow all of their employees to work from home if they so choose, even long after the pandemic is over.

Among the companies Herd talked with last year, 30% said they were considering doing away with their office spaces entirely. If ever they push through with their plans, they’re most likely to avail of virtual offices. More than greatly reducing business’s overhead costs, having no physical office also means that staff can move away from expensive cities and support their families better elsewhere. Some companies have gone and will go so far as to lower their employees’ salaries based on the latter’s reduced cost of living.

Job markets will become global — and also become more fiercely competitive

Because of digital communications tools, companies don’t have to settle for the best job applicants within a 30-mile radius. Rather, for jobs that can be fulfilled online, companies can hire from practically anywhere in the world, barring language and connectivity barriers.

This means that businesses can obtain highly skilled staff from countries with cheaper labor markets, and salaries of workers in more expensive labor markets may eventually be reduced to stay competitive.

Less commuting means cleaner air

For public relations purposes, companies are not hesitant to claim that permitting staff to work from home reduces their need to commute, which in turn reduces the number of vehicles plying the streets. Beyond cleaner air, the ecological benefits of telecommuting include reductions in the consumption of paper, plastic, and electricity.

Stress from hours-long commutes is replaced with remote work burnout

Mainly due to the lack of separation between work and rest, overworking has become a prevalent issue for many companies. With time saved from commuting, staff feel that they can accomplish more tasks. Others fail to set boundaries and allow themselves to be on-call 24/7. Sometimes, managers make their subordinates do more work for the same amount of pay because the latter owe the company a debt of gratitude.

According to Herd, companies are now more aware of this burnout trend and are working to implement ways to mitigate this.

Employees have more time for their loved ones

Workers can help their kids with their studies, especially when schools are closed due to lockdowns. Those with sick relatives can tend to them more closely, too. Even Chris Herd himself expressed his delight with remote work, tweeting:

All in all, remote work works. It has allowed businesses to remain operational despite everything that COVID-19 threw at them. Whether you are having your staff return to the office, let them work from home, or provide an office-home hybrid setup, turn to Founders Technology Group for all your IT needs. Consult with our IT specialists to know your options.