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Is the remote workforce trend here to stay?

Is the remote workforce trend here to stay?

The remote workforce phenomenon, brought on by COVID-19 and stay-at-home directives in many of the hardest hit states, has changed, possibly forever, how companies and organizations do business. According to Gartner Research’s recent report on Remote Work, more than 48 percent of employees will continue to work remotely post COVID-19.

While there are clearly some positives for moving to a remote, or hybrid workforce model, there are also some pitfalls, or challenges, to such an approach, especially long-term.

With so many people working from home in 2020, and many companies having to change the way they do business, this month’s SSN News Poll looked to see if the remote workforce movement is just a trend or something that is here to stay in 2021 and beyond.

When asked the big question – is your company considering staying with a remote or hybrid workforce? – 63 percent said “yes,” with another 5 percent still considering it (saying “not yet”), and only 33 percent saying “no.” The top benefits of going with this approach for respondents included being more adaptable and nimble (42 percent), creating happier employees (32 percent) and cost savings (26 percent).

“The doubters that remote work would never work have been silenced,” said one respondent. “We've found employees are just as productive and happier since doing away with the ‘normal’ daily grind of commuting and work.”

Another reader added, “Productivity has improved, occupancy rates have improved and employee morale is better. That, coupled with cost savings of lease space equals a permanent remote workforce.”

While many companies are clearly moving to, or considering, a remote or hybrid workforce, for the approximately one third who are not looking at this model long-term, some of the concerns with this approach include negatively affecting company culture (70 percent), lack of accountability (20 percent) and lost productivity (10 percent).

“There are certain employees and positions that will continue to operate remotely [but] it will not be full time and it will be limited,” said one respondent.  “We have seen issues with accountability and company culture with long term deployment of employees. We plan on allowing deployed workforce on limited basis, based on productivity of the individual. New employees will be office based until they have been assimilated to company culture and operating standards.”

Another respondent agreed, adding, “We will come back to the office but will allow for remote days as needed.”

Hopefully, the successful rollout of vaccines in the first half of 2021 will create an atmosphere that brings back business as usual.



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