Over the past 15 years, the share of the US labor force working from home has tripled, and a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University observed that companies that supported this staff ‘benefit’ saw a near 50% reduction in employee turnover rates.
WFH adoption, however, has not been fast. In 2019, only 7% of US workers were being given a WFH option – and even then it was being made available mainly to employees in senior, higher-paid positions.
Jump to today and, as a result of the COVID crisis, those who still have jobs are putting themselves at risk daily as they travel to their place of work, whilst at least half of the US population is ‘telecommuting’.
I and my colleagues fall into the telecommuting bracket and I know from speaking with them that, whilst we are all extremely thankful, we were initially skeptical.
Certainly, WFH means no unpleasant commute, a more comfortable environment to work in, and no having to suffer through certain colleagues’ predilection for reheating seafood meals in the office microwave. But what about the nuts and bolts of actually doing our jobs?
Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a change in the way that most colleagues, friends, and family talk about the remote working experience. Not only have they come around to it, but they have also become vocal advocates of the WFH way of life.
Here, then, are the top 5 benefits of universal WFH that I have uncovered:
The skepticism in WFH productivity is difficult to sustain now that we are all doing it – and succeeding.
Employees are now going to feel more empowered about working in ways that suit both their professional needs and personal needs without being afraid of looking like they’re ‘slacking off’.
I’m certainly not the only person who has witnessed an upward trend in meetings starting on time.
With far less opportunity for distracting side conversations and arguments over who gets to eat the last doughnut, whole-team video calls appear to make meetings run a lot more efficiently.
It is now everyone’s responsibility to set up a video call, manage slack messages, and start a google hangout.
And if work has not made you do it, I know the weekly family quiz has.
In many industries, the bar is still the place for business conversations at the end of the workday. And whilst I do believe face to face relationship building to be incredibly important, these practices alienate those people who are unable to stay behind.
Now we are all on a level playing field.
Connecting to a video call only to find that every other participant is sat in a room together is a uniquely uncomfortable experience in the modern corporate world. Universal WFH has eliminated this.
We all now have the same size screen and same ‘voice’ on every call. As a result, many meetings are significantly more balanced and collaborative.
I’ve highlighted just five benefits, but there are many more that I am sure you would add. This could be an opportunity to change working practices for the better in a post-COVID world, so keep sharing the benefits, and let’s all hold on to them.
Because if nothing else, our shared WFH experience has held a mirror to the way we were doing things before and made us ask ‘Was that really the best way?’
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