Before 2020, remote work was touted as the future of the workplace. While the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to accelerate that future briefly, we’re seeing more and more companies require employees to return to the office full-time.
According to a report from ResumeBuilder, 90% of companies will require employees to return to the office in 2023. Among those companies is The Walt Disney Company. Due to their size and reach, they are viewed as a leader for other businesses, meaning that more companies will be right behind them in welcoming employees back to the office full-time. Even though some companies are implementing these changes, are they necessary?
Considerations for Remote Work
Since remote or hybrid work styles have emerged, many studies have been conducted on work output. Overall, much of the research shows that remote work has been a success. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “In general, employees are satisfied with the arrangement, happier with their employer, and often at least as, if not more, productive working remotely than onsite.” The biggest risk businesses face with a blanket back-to-office policy is losing employees. Data from ADP Research Institute last year indicated that “organizations that force employees back to fully onsite could risk losing up to two-thirds of their workforce.”
Geoff Webb, Vice President of Solution Strategy at NC-based software firm isolved, said, “Many employees will have become accustomed to remote and hybrid working, and the sudden shift is likely to cause some portion of employees to evaluate their priorities and expectations from an employer.” Companies and HR leaders must weigh the pros and cons of remote versus hybrid or entirely in-person policies while listening to employee feedback. According to SHRM, “many experts predict there will likely be a balance.”
How We’ve Found Success in Remote Work
What about companies that have always been remote?
We are among the few small businesses that have been fully remote since we started our company 15 years ago. This is a huge accomplishment, especially for a time when remote work was a pipe dream for most.
Supporting a fully remote team of employees can be challenging at times, but it is highly rewarding. Being remote gives us the advantage of hiring employees from all over the world that are the best in their field. We currently have employees representing 20 out of the 50 states. We’re also able to hire employees from other countries.
According to ResumeBuilder, 48% of business leaders believe that working in the office improves productivity. However, many studies have proven that employee production increases with remote work. Before the pandemic, Stanford conducted a study showing that workers were 13% more productive working from home due to fewer sick days and a more convenient and comfortable working environment. A two-year study conducted post-Covid from Great Place To Work found that employees were, on average, 6% more productive when they were able to work from home. In our own 15-year experience, we’ve found that there are many ways you can keep a remote team engaged and productive.
At PSM, we utilize apps such as Teams or Skype to instantly ask a coworker a question, similar to walking down the hall to their office. This allows us to call meetings, see coworkers’ availability, and even send files for review easily and quickly. In addition to this, each department has daily meetings to review and update tasks.
Once a month, our entire corporate team meets virtually to update each department on task progress. We also take this time to bond by mailing out care packages to utilize during our meetings, playing games, and having casual conversations. We meet in person at least once a year to work together, evaluate company goals, and participate in team bonding activities.
Remote work is not for all individuals or companies, and that is okay. As a remote company, we attract candidates looking for remote work and are happy to provide that option. One of the best things about technology is that employees can look for remote, hybrid, or in-person jobs. Because of this, companies and their HR leaders must consider their business model and how it fits into the ever-evolving work environment.