Trends in remote work shifted from a luxury to a desirable bonus years ago. Today, remote work has become the new normal for many. And, that trend will continue in the new decade. According to research from Upwork, 73% of all departments will include remote workers by 2028.
Businesses that have not yet embraced the remote work culture revolution may not understand just how impactful remote work can be to their bottom lines. Usually, remote work benefits both sides. But, companies that fail to develop a strategy to handle a remote workforce can get burned. To avoid that, businesses should think proactively to create remote-friendly workflows and processes. Consider how the biggest trends in remote work will affect your company’s bottom line this year.
Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, companies including Microsoft, Google, and Apple have told employees to work from home whenever possible. From both a business and moral perspective, a sudden shift to remote work is preferable to a workforce slammed by a novel illness.
After the smoke clears from the coronavirus isolation, many employees may discover that they prefer working from home to the alternative. If their current employers will not let them continue to do so, some workers may look for new jobs after getting a taste of the remote life.
For their part, businesses should embrace this opportunity to increase the proportions of their workforces that telecommute. Employees who work from home tend to stay healthier and take fewer sick days than employees who come to the office in person. For many companies, the coronavirus fallout will hurt revenues, but increased employee availability could alleviate some of that strain.
Increased Employee Engagement
Happy, engaged employees do better work than their sullen and disengaged colleagues. Research from Staples found that 90% of employees say more flexible working arrangements would boost their morale.
For businesses with morale issues, increased acceptance of remote work arrangements could turn the tide. Even at businesses with good company cultures, allowing employees to work from home either permanently or partly can generate an impressive boost to productivity. According to Airtasker, remote employees work more hours per month than office workers and get more done during their time on the clock.
For businesses looking for an edge, a shift to more remote work could create a quick spike in productivity with minimal downsides. If your company does not have the infrastructure for remote work yet, create a test group of a few interested employees and see how they handle the change.
Access to Contract Labor
Even workers not employed directly by businesses can affect company balance sheets. Thanks to increased availability of remote options, many workers have transitioned to full-time remote freelancing. Research from the Freelancer’s Union found that 35% of the American workforce worked freelance last year.
For businesses, increased access to contract labor means a few things. First, contractors tend to be highly skilled in specific areas, so companies can depend on them for tricky projects and niche work. Those skills don’t come cheaply, however, so businesses must think carefully about what to keep in house and what to outsource.
Despite the upfront costs, though, working with freelancers is usually cheaper than hiring full-timers. Freelancers do not demand extra expenses like insurance and PTO. Look at your upcoming projects and crunch the numbers to see whether using a freelancer makes sense for your situation.
Equipment, Rent, and Tech Expenses
Remote workers help businesses save in some areas while adding new expenses in others. Companies with remote-heavy workforces require less office space than non-remote peers, which can lead to huge savings depending on the area. Some companies use those savings to offer perks to remote employees to outfit their home offices, but the savings don’t always come without costs.
People who work remotely still need equipment. In some cases, companies may need to buy duplicates of items for multiple employees that teams would share if they occupied the same space. Security can also pose challenges. Smart companies pay for VPNs to safeguard data and communications with remote workforces.
Most companies realize significant savings on equipment, rent, and tech when adopting a remote work culture. Consider what kind of expenses a larger remote team would incur. Also, see whether you could downsize your current office space to save cash. Then, compare the results.
Addressing Trends in Remote Work
These remote work trends will influence balance sheets across industries this year. And, the increasing movement toward remote work will not slow down any time soon. Businesses that do not already accommodate remote work must consider how they plan to thrive in a future where remote work could be standard.