The worldwide events of the last few years transformed the workplace as we knew it and increased an already developing need for remote workers. The pandemic served as a massive wake-up call, teaching us that work could be done from home and the importance of trusting employees to control their schedules. This skill is essential for those with long commutes, costly childcare arrangements, or simply wanting to spend more time with their families.
According to a new National Bureau of Economic Research study, remote employees save an average of 72 minutes per day by not commuting. What happens to the time that they save? They spend some of it working, with 40% of the time saved spent on primary or secondary tasks.
Many have praised remote work for its multiple advantages, but it is not everyone’s ideal work setting. Millennials were the largest group in the workforce in 2022, and they had a fundamentally distinct perspective on “work” from prior generations. Most Millennials expressed a desire for remote work to continue and, surprisingly, will not even consider a job offer that does not include it as an option. This is a change from older generations, who are more traditional and prefer office work over remote work.
An organization’s success is dependent on its people’s success. Employee turnover is costly. It takes eight to twelve weeks to fill a position and an additional four to eight weeks to educate a new team member; this can lead to a 40% reduction in productivity. To avoid these costs, companies should provide employees the flexibility and opportunity to learn, grow, interact, promote equity, and make a professional and personal impact. A key part of this is being open to the growing work arrangement opportunities many employees are seeking.
On average, remote workers are much more productive than those who work in an office. A person’s productivity can be defined as their efficiency in getting things done. It is intrinsically linked to efficiency, which can be defined as the ability to produce a desired result. Concentration and drive are prerequisites for getting things done. Efficiency is the ability to get things done in a short amount of time without sacrificing quality.
For companies, remote work’s most prominent perks are eliminating overhead expenditures, having access to a larger talent pool, and lowering the company’s carbon footprint. Companies can onboard new operational professionals and subject-matter experts by diversifying their workforce with global talent. Bringing fresh perspectives is far easier in a remote approach than in an in-person one.
According to a recent Stanford University study, firms offering remote work are 50% less likely to face attrition. Furthermore, remote workers outperform their in-person colleagues by 13%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that productivity dropped by a stunning 7.5% in Q1 2022 as workers returned to in-person work environments. This is the most abrupt reduction in production since 1947.
Fostering the Culture
There is more to life than work, but if we’re going to devote a third of our adult lives to our careers, it’s essential to find them rewarding. When employees feel a sense of belonging to a team or organization because it fits with their beliefs and they feel safe enough to show important parts of who they are, they tend to do a better job and be more engaged and happy at work. On the other hand, not feeling like you belong makes you more likely to feel lonely, burned out, and underperform, and neither remote nor hybrid work changes this.
An organization’s culture continues evolving even if fewer people are in the office. On the other hand, it’s getting more difficult for organizations to connect with people and bring them together through a shared cultural experience. This is because the cultural experience itself has become more vague, elusive, and subjective in the way we usually understand it. If work is an activity instead of a place to go, it might be time to give up the idea that corporate culture is only found in the physical workspace.
Organizations can send stronger messages to employees if they check in with them more often and tell them why. For example, a flexible and creative company might hold regular improv events and have tools for brainstorming and sketching available for everyone to use. Monthly formal updates of one hour have been replaced by biweekly updates of 20 minutes. CEOs call in from home (sometimes with their kids on their laps), and there are more online “ask me anything” sessions in the style of town halls. The goal is to establish a culture of empathy within the company that employees are expected to extend to external consumers, to meet people where they are, and to project openness.
A Future Forum survey of knowledge workers in six major countries found that the vast majority value flexibility, with only 12% wanting to return to work in the office five days a week. A clear majority of 72% want the option to work in a hybrid remote-office setting. They want to avoid commuting and have a better work-life balance. The advantages of a remote or hybrid approach for businesses include hiring from larger talent pools, lowering real estate expenditures, and operating more efficiently.
Your company will be able to create an inclusive, engaging, and healthy corporate culture if you adopt a servant leadership style, put an emphasis on the employee experience, and do virtual team building with purpose.
The 26 factors the CAA uses to predict general interest help organizations make sure that their cultures are inclusive and well-aligned. An organization’s survival depends on having a positive workplace culture, as a negative workplace culture has an impact on all aspects of one’s business plans. A good first step is to reflect on the needs of remote or hybrid employees in the context of their culture. Find out more about a tool that can assist you in fostering a sustainable culture for all employees, especially keeping in mind your remote and hybrid workers, by going to Workzinga.com.