Before the pandemic, few companies utilized teleworking as a primary option for employees. Working from home was thought to be challenging to manage and ensure employees were actually working.
Because of these previously unknown challenges, most businesses preferred their employees to work in an office at a central location.
As we know, with the rapid increase in COVID infections, many companies were forced to transition their workforce to a work from home capacity immediately. Some organizations dealt with the change better than others, but most CEOs agree the work from home transition has been successful.
A hybrid remote work schedule will likely continue
Initially thought of as a temporary solution, many companies consider some form of teleworking as a permanent option moving forward. A recent study by PwC found 83% of employers believe remote work benefits their company. The decrease in office space required has saved costs and benefited employees as well.
It has been so successful that less than one in five corporate executives want to return to working in an office full time. Even wealthy individuals in the technology industry are moving from their high cost of living areas to lower cost of living areas due to the ability to perform their jobs entirely online.
Similar to the employers’ perception, employees also believe working remotely has been a success. A study by Nintex found 70% of remote employees think they’ve been more productive working from home than they expected.
Perspectives of an office environment
Employers and employees were surveyed about their opinion of the benefits of an office environment.
- Offices increase employee productivity
- Offices offer meeting spaces to communicate with clients
- Increases collaboration between employees
- Fosters company culture
- Offices increase collaboration between employees
- There is more security to access documents and equipment
- Offices provide spaces to meet with clients
- An office environment is conducive for training and career development
One generation is struggling more than the others
Even though the data shows working from home has been widely successful, a segment of employees are struggling with teleworking as their primary work environment. While many would believe the older generations would struggle more with technology and a remote work environment, the opposite is true.
The majority of Generation Z workers, age 24 and younger, feel they struggle to remain productive while working remotely.
Gen-Z workers, who are just starting their careers, have not had an opportunity to build connections and networks with others in their industry, creating obstacles for them to remain productive. The older generations, such as Generation-X, Millennials, and Boomers, have been in the workforce for a while and have created professional networks they can tap into to maintain a productive work environment.
Gen-Z employees report feeling disconnected from their supervisors and feel they would benefit from hands-on training to increase their skill set. In addition to feeling disconnected, Forbes reported that 48% of Gen-Z workers say they are bored with their work from home jobs.
Relationships built in the office environment continue to be valuable
Relationships continue to be one of the most valuable aspects of an office environment. Of the employees surveyed by PwC, 87% believe the top need for an office environment is the importance of collaborating and building relationships with team members.
While remote work is here to stay for the near future, employers need to understand the importance of hands-on training and the benefits of personal connections. Our Gen-Z employees are the future of our workforce and need to be set up for success with virtual meetings and roundtables.
Even though remote work has unique benefits to employers and employees, when this pandemic becomes a distant memory, we can’t forget the importance of human interaction and our in-person social needs.