After COVID – work will look different
One thing is sure, work will look different in a post COVID-19 world. Many employers that sent employees home to work remotely during the crisis, are reconsidering work at home policies after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Some employers have even seen increased productivity.
Square recently announced that it was going to update its policy and allow some employees to stay home permanently. There are some jobs of course that will still need to come into the office, but if an employee can work remotely, and can do so, Square will offer this as an option.
For many employers, new remote working options will enable to them to tap into labor markets that previously were not available. Since the location of the employee no longer makes a significant difference, employers will be able to hire employees in more rural areas and in different cities across the United States.
For employees, the ability to live outside of a busy metropolitan area or closer to family and friends, will enable them to work for employers they would never have considered before. The injection of new money spent by the remote workers into the local economy will be a boon for smaller towns that traditionally have had lower employment and lower paid jobs.
The availability of rural broadband is going to be critical to success of the new remote workforce.
In Puget Sound, where traffic has become a major factor in decided where employees live and employers locate, remote working can save considerable time and money. Not only for the employee who is no longer stuck in traffic, but for the wider population of the area. There will be less cars on the road and less commuters on transit.
The state will need to reconsider its current infrastructure investments as we will see a reduction in transit use for buses and light rail.
Commercial real estate demand may change in this new style of working. The demand for more flexible workspace for hot desking and shared workspace will change the size and type of space employers will be looking for. Many companies have already shifted to a new way of working, so these changes will not be as disruptive.
The key to success with remote workers will be maintaining the sense of belonging to the company they are working for. Over the last decade, copious studies have been done for best practices and maintaining employee productivity while remote. This data will be critical in helping new, remote employees stay connected to their teams and work colleagues.
COVID-19 has had a lot of negative impacts to our society. One positive one, however, might be a new way of working that benefits employers and employees, reducing costs and increasing work life flexibility.
Work is certainly going to look different in the coming months and years.