Remote Work is here to stay for the long run. Prior to the pandemic, there were already “5 million U.S. employees working from home at least half the time” (Maddie Shepherd). But even so, as Terminal IO states, “half of leaders anticipate increasing the number of employees working permanently remote, in the next 2 years, with 81% reporting that C-19 has boosted their confidence in going remote long-term.”
Society and the evolution of technology is growing quicker than predicted. Mandy Hübener informs us that, “more and more workers want to work remotely, and more and more leaders are letting them. Those who don’t – for whatever reason – will soon be forced to compete harder for top talent. It is, without a doubt, more demanding to lead a virtual team” (Hübener).
Here are some quick facts regarding remote work:
- As reported in 2020, 5 million employees (making up 3.6% of the entire U.S. workforce) work from home for at least half the time.
- The number of regular telecommuting employees (excluding the self-employed population) has grown by 173% since 2005.
- The number of employers offering a work from home option has grown by 40% in the past 5 years. However, only 7% of all employers in the United States offer work from home flexibility.
Of course, there have been many factors that are involved to make remote work happen. Some advances in the last 10 years have made all-remote work possible:
- Faster internet everywhere
- Video call software
- Mobile technology
- Evolution of speech-to-text conversion software
- More demand for flexibility from new professionals entering the workforce
If you think about it, remote work would not have been possible during the 1800’s or the 1950’s, due to the lack of technology and resources available during those times. Even after 9/11, people were not able to sustainably work from home, because home internet was not quick enough.
Companies and employees have been able, for the most part, to figure out a stable dynamic that has been suitable for them in the short term. In the days that follow the pandemic, some of the companies that switched to remote may turn back to the office, while some companies may stay remote permanently. Others will develop a hybrid system.
Regardless of the decisions made concerning more permanent work plans, the lessons we have all learned on how quickly we can adapt will be with us for the long run.