Photo: Antonio DiCaterina
Ten months ago, the workforce scrambled to maintain productivity ahead of a devastating pandemic.
Although the agreed-upon initiative—remote work—does not serve all parties equally, its impact will likely transcend COVID-19.
According to new research from Tehama, 85% of full-time American workers would like to work remotely for the indefinite future, with 83% saying it would give them the opportunity to address important life goals. More than half would even leave their current job for one that allowed them to work from home permanently.
Moreover, it’s estimated that remote workers save around $4,000 a year by working from home; on-location costs include coffee, lunches, and a professional wardrobe.
According to a recent study from the International Telework Association and Council, teleworking yields a 20% decrease in employee turnover rates and a 60% decrease in employee absenteeism.
It may very well be that companies will have to start advertising telework positions in order to attract and retain talent in the future.
Is this a good thing?
Why some companies should remain remote
In recent guidance published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers determined that telework significantly reduces coronavirus outbreaks in a given community.
Among the sample pool featured in their analysis, only 35% reported being able to telework full-time or part-time and 65% of coronavirus-infected participants regularly went into their office or school.
These numbers are especially relevant as coronavirus spikes ravage the industrial midwest.
“Businesses and employers should promote alternative work site options, such as teleworking, where possible, to reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2,” the researchers wrote in the report. “Where telework options are not feasible, worker safety measures should continue to be scaled up to reduce possible worksite exposures.”
Even with an effective vaccine, COVID-19 will persist to some capacity in the western world. Ideally, this capacity will be greatly reduced by 2021 but that doesn’t negate the significance of public health measures.
If you work out of a city, you know that commuting can be a taxing affair with respect to germs, mood, and productivity.
On balance, American workers spend between $2,000 and $5,000 on transportation each year. The same devotes roughly 225 hours to commuting annually. That’s a lot of money and time.
“Data shows that Americans spend 13% of their household expenditure on transportation, a larger portion than people in Europe,” the institution for Transporation and Developmental Policy reports.
“On average, Americans own 2.28 cars, meaning that many households in the US have three or more vehicles. In fact, 35% of American households own three or more cars. Personal vehicles accounted for the largest amount of transportation expenditures in 2017 – a total of $1.1 trillion, almost 90% of total transportation expenditures. In 2017, transportation costs made up the fourth largest expenditure among American households which spent an average of $9,737 each on transportation costs.”
The managerial and working-class are trudging toward a shared appreciation of remote operations for this very reason.
“The daily commute — which, back in 2015, was 26 minutes each way for the average U.S. worker — has been squashed for many, at least for now. Collectively, workers who kept their jobs in the wake of COVID-19 have millions of extra hours on their hands per week,” explained finance expert, Mallika Mitra.
Between April and July of this year, workers in each county of the US saved up to 1.5 million hours every week by forgoing their morning commute.
According to a recent survey published by Upwork supports the multi-faceted revealed that 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to abandon busy urban life thanks to remote work opportunities.
Meta research has shown time and again that working remotely reduces employees’ stress/commute stress, in-office expenses, in-office liabilities, increases worker flexibility, and meaningfully addresses poor work/life balance trends that insiders have reported on for years.
Essential workers and those who occupy the hospitality industry are epicentral to a functioning economy. However, if we can ween business that can survive digitally off of in office-operations, we might concurrently eliminate the pressing health and financial barriers that comes with them.
“A 2014 study from the University of Waterloo in Canada found that as a person’s commute grows, their satisfaction with life reduces. Employees with long commutes feel the pressures of a time crunch more acutely, which can heighten their overall stress levels, according to the study,” Mitra concluded.
“We aren’t in a place yet to know exactly what the workday will look like post-COVID. But it’s clear that forcing people back into cars or packed trains would take back a lot of the time they’ve been saving. And maybe their sanity, too.”