Hobson Associates

What Will the Workplace Look Like Post-Covid?…

Happy woman working from home

I am a remote employee (have been since way before the pandemic) and wonder what the landscape is going to look like post-Covid as employees start getting their jobs back after being furloughed and workplaces start to find their new “normal”.

While searching for data to share with you, I found statistics in which I am positive will impact the working environment as we know it:

A recent Gartner survey revealed that 74% of CFOs plan to shift some employees to permanent remote work after the pandemic ends. Of those, 25% said 10% of their workforce will remain remote, 17% said 20% of their workforce will remain remote and 4% said half of their workforce will remain remote.

It is true, remote employees can:

  • Save companies money
  • Enable businesses to retain top talent that seeks flexibility and the ability to work from the comfort of their own homes
  • Avoid commutes and perhaps even travel without missing work time.

This shift also presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs to cater to the work-at-home employees who need powerful, reliable equipment, software platforms and related accessories. Many of these products are expensive at the enterprise level, but some companies might move toward equipment leasing, accessory add-ons such as headsets and office furniture and SaaS platforms.

Is it going to be an HR nightmare trying to wrangle employees back into the office permanently? 

  • I believe most companies will think outside the box and offer more flexibility with hybrid roles. This would save the employee commuting time, gas money, clothing allowance, food, etc. while keeping everyone happy, comfortable, and safe and also as important, productive.
  • Predictions are being made employees will be making more decisions based on quality of life versus work opportunities. For example, those who have been forced to hunker down in city apartments have decided to move to the suburbs or rural areas where they can enjoy the great outdoors – or even just a lawn.

With that said, businesses would be wise to consider the need for employees to lead quality lives when they make their hiring and policy decisions. It lends credence to the idea that companies that allow remote work will be best positioned for success post-pandemic; otherwise, they risk losing top talent that deems a pay decrease acceptable to achieve better lives.

It is likely many top employees will want to continue working from home once the pandemic ends. Companies that offer such flexibility are well-positioned to attract and retain top employees.

But they may not be employees at all…

  • Unemployment, layoffs, and outright terminations have caused many former employees to seek remote work online. Some are likely finding they prefer the freelancer or contractor role over the corporate 9-to-5: it offers diversification, so they might feel more secure in knowing they’re not necessarily out of a job if another disaster strikes.
  • Businesses should consider how they’re going to keep such employees in-house. The cost savings can be substantial, even for the highest-quality work, but shifting to gig workers also means investing in the right collaboration platforms and developing policies specific to non-employees. That said, companies that are willing to hire gig workers can tap into top talent pools as needed and avoid the overhead associated with maintaining a full-time staff as well as related taxes and benefits.

 

I am hoping the worst is behind us, with “herd-immunity and vaccines” distributed throughout the states, according to Dr. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, we will all soon be free to “move about the cabin” safely!

 

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