The emergency measures forced on thousands of reluctant companies are likely to form part of the future work market. The work from home surge has prompted these companies to consider whether they actually need large city office spaces with staff relying on crowded public transport. Employees, on the other hand, have come to realise that they can be equally efficient, if not more, working from home.
But what does this mean for the future of our workforce and is there likely to be a boom in remote working? One can say for sure, that a continuation of employees working from home after the lockdown measures are lifted, will constitute a temporary boom.
It’s still unclear whether the public will feel safe enough to return to their places of work any time soon. Safety argument aside, let’s look at other metrics that would indicate a happier, more productive remote workforce post-COVID-19 and precisely what that will mean for the remote work market.
Bloomberg notes that as millions of workers are forced to do so remotely, demand for collapsible desks, video chat and more will explode. Their virus-drives-long-lasting-change”>experts expect this market to keep surging when the virus fades.
As much of the world comes to terms with and settles into weeks, if not months of remote work, capitalism continues to adapt. And thanks to globalization, the effects have already been monumental. Not only are domestic manufacturers of home office supplies, stationery, and digital devices seeing a soar in demand, they’re also receiving more interest from potential overseas distribution.
Kate Lister, author at Global Workplace Analytics states that the current forced work-from-home shift cannot be underestimated. She indicates that, in the U.S, the evolution of telecommuting has been too slow and elitist; often reserved as a perk for executives and high-value employees. Since the Great Recession, firms have increasingly expanded on remote work to cut costs. Over the past few years, firms have expanded on it to recruit and retain talent. Although, unemployment is forecast to swell.
Some industries, in particular, will benefit from the work from the home shift. Tech firms, for example, who largely work remotely, will face fewer difficulties than those whose employees don’t want to return to the office. Many employees who have been sent to work from home are already starting to question why they had been going into the office all these years in the first place. This will be a hard sentiment to shake in the months and potentially years that follow this global crisis.
For many companies, startups, in particular, the remote work market is presenting problems, as well as opportunities. For example, startups such as Zoom and Slack are offering their critical tools for free during the crisis. They’re doing so, in part, in hope that people who started using them during the crisis will realize their value and continue to use their services once normality is restored.
Long before the global crisis was even conceivable, a study done by Buffer.com about the state of remote work in 2019 found that 99% of those surveyed, would like, at least once in their career, to be able to work offsite. If nothing else, this huge figure proves that remote work is immensely popular. It’s now largely become a reality and we begin to wonder whether the novelty is beginning to wear thin?
Thinning or not, the situation we now face is one of necessity. The current climate has sparked concerns over how our ‘new normal’ will deal with commuting, child care, access to food, and our social life. For many, most things are simplified by staying at home where possible- which includes working remotely.
For companies, on the other hand, whilst it may not be entirely visible at first instance, there are a number of incentives to push for a prolonged period of remote working. For example, retaining employees. In the Owl Labs survey, remote workers said they’d be likely to stay in their jobs for at least 5 years (13%) more than onsite workers.
Not to mention the cutting of costs that come with a remote work market. Just as employees save money, so too do employers make significant savings. Running a physical workspace in the city can be expensive and the recent weeks may suggest, unnecessary. It’s estimated that remote work can dramatically reduce the cost of keeping a business operating by up to $10,000 for every remote worker.
As the crisis persists and we come to realize that the world continues to spin whilst we work from home, there are sound reasons to suggest that a boom in the remote work market is likely to ensue.