Prior to the pandemic, remote work was a fringe concept in the American workplaces. While it existed, relatively few people were in a position to work from home. Yet when COVID-19 reached the US, lockdowns pushed 95% of office workers into remote positions. After an extended experiment that has not entirely concluded, 97% now say they prefer working remotely. A working model once available to only a few Americans now has the potential for widespread adoption.
The Benefits of Remote Work
Remote work has many benefits for its practitioners. Nearly 8 in 10 workers are glad to be rid of their daily commute. The less time they spend sitting in traffic, the more time they have to pursue other goals. Almost 3 quarters of workers think remote jobs allow them to maintain a better work-life balance. This can mean spending more time with one’s family, but it stretches beyond that as well. The benefits of remote work are so beloved that a third of workers say they would take a pay cut of more than 10% to keep their jobs remote.
Yet while many workers anticipate resistance to their new preferences, remote work is good for businesses too. To start, granting employees flexibility and trust where possible boosts their loyalty and morale. Not only does this allowance create a better work environment, but it also translates into improvements for the bottom line. For every employee allowed to work from home 2 or 3 days a week, companies save $11,000. Reduced office costs tell only a part of that story.
Why Hybrid Workplaces May be the Future
With both workers and businesses on board, one would expect remote work to be rampant. The main factor tempering this shift is that only 37% of US jobs can be done entirely at home. Instead of staying fully remote, many businesses would benefit most from a hybrid workplace. Mixing in-office and remote participation has the chance to bring the best of both worlds into the modern workplace.
What does a hybrid office look like? There’s no single answer to this question. Hybrid work models take on different forms depending on employee and business desires. Some companies want to maximize remote work and only bring people into an office where necessary while other companies seek the opposite. Some companies only want to make their leadership meet in person while others want every employee to spend some time in the office. Even choosing who decides when employees are remote (the managers or employees themselves) is up for debate. It matters less that businesses have a uniform hybrid model and more that open communication brings them to the best possible option.
Beyond relative office to in-person ratios, hybrid models present new situations for managers to consider. Office space must be used in a more intentional way when it’s shared among many employees. Inclusion and collaboration require more intentional fostering when there is a divide between in-person and remote employees. Despite these concerns, most workers are willing to work at them. 52% of Americans would prefer hybrid workplace models.