Remote / Hybrid / On Site Work (The Ongoing Discussion)
“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” – Angela Ahrendts, Sr. VP of Apple
Gas prices are going down. Inflation is still on the rise. The stock market seems to be as predictable as fantasy football points. Midterm elections are coming up in just a few short weeks in the midst of an uncertain political future for the country. Do a Google search for “Are we in a recession?” and you will get a dozen different answers. No one knows for sure, and it’s making hiring decisions and working conditions uncertain and uncomfortable waters to navigate. Oh, and Covid is still not over. There are still tens of thousands of new cases being reported daily across the country. And hundreds of daily casualties due to the pandemic. But, nearly 3 years into this nightmare, everyone is exhausted and desperate to return to “normal” operations. However, that may not be the safest or the most economical decision right now, especially as it relates to in-person work. We’ve covered this topic before, but it’s still something that needs to be addressed. So, we’re going to re-explore remote / hybrid / on site work in the ongoing discussion of worklife in America.
The Great Resignation Isn’t Over
More than 4 million people in the US quit their jobs in June of this year. Almost 11 million job vacancies still remain unfilled. An estimated 40% of Americans still say they’re thinking about quitting their jobs. The number one reason was a lack of prospects for upward mobility. While salary is also always a top priority for any employee, more and more we are seeing other factors take higher priority.
According to a recent FlexJobs survey, 62% of those asked why they left their previous positions responded with a “toxic company culture”. The second most popular response was low salary, followed by poor management. Immediately after that was a lack of healthy work-life balance, no remote work options, and not allowing flexible schedules. And several of those relate back to what we’re talking about here: remote vs. hybrid vs. on site work.
Benefits of Remote Work
First of all, there are many benefits to you, the employer, for allowing remote or hybrid work. If you demand workers to show up to a physical office, you are limited in your talent pool. Depending on traffic and gas prices, you may be limiting your search for new hires to a 20-30 mile radius. Allowing for remote work means you have access to candidates across the country, even internationally.
With the steady increase in remote work during the pandemic, many studies have been conducted around the topic. The results have steadily come in and they have been consistent. Remote work is more productive and performance is drastically improved. Forbes published a study revealing that remote workers are 35-40% more productive than their in-person counterparts. They also have measured an output increase of at least 4.4%. Not only that, but the quality of work improves in a remote environment. The same studies show that workers produce results with 40% fewer quality defects.
Remote work also saves you, the employer, and your employees time and money. Workers can save thousands of dollars every year on gas, transportation, maintenance, parking fees, meals, and other expenses one only incurs working in person. Workers are also experiencing a better work / life balance saving hundreds of hours by not sitting in traffic.
And all of that also translates to lower turnover. Employees who are keeping more of their paychecks, producing better results, spending less money and time on commuting, are happier employees. And happier employees don’t quit with even close to the frequency of those who are less satisfied.
And Then There’s Covid
While many companies are adapting to the current demands and desires for remote or hybrid work, other companies are increasing a return to in-person work policy. And employees are not loving it. A recent article published by cnbc.com exposed multiple ongoing Covid outbreak notifications at California Google offices.
There have been conflicting responses to the regular Covid notifications employees are reportedly receiving. Many are pushing back to the recently mandated 3-day in-person work weeks. They question the reasoning behind this decision as Google saw some of its fastest revenue growth in 15 years while employees worked from home.
Google, like many other companies last year when vaccines became available, mandated their employees get vaccinated or potentially face losing their jobs. As the severity of Covid cases seemed to wane and the trend grew for a return to in-person work, Google loosened their Covid protocols, but still mandated their employees to be vaccinated for in-person work. Those who have chosen not to get vaccinated are using the current Covid infections as leverage to get Google to stop mandating vaccinations. Their reasoning is that if people are getting Covid anyway, those who are unvaccinated should be allowed back in the office.
Let Them Work Remotely
The biggest question you must ask yourself is why. If you feel like you need to have your employees back in person in the office, why? Every study shows that remote workers are:
- More productive
- More efficient
- Produce better quality work
- Are saving money for themselves and the company
- Have better work / life balance
- Are happier
- Are less likely to leave
And yet, companies are spending additional money to entice workers back into the office. They are providing more fun activities like ping pong tables or basketball hoops and are creating a more zen environment with a more relaxed atmosphere, plants, decorations, furniture, and more. Also, they are offering to provide meals. Employees are still leaving for remote work opportunities and still resistant to returning to in-person work. Employees are still demanding more remote or hybrid work weeks. Even though remote work saves time and money for everyone, companies are spending MORE money to lure employees back into the office. So the discussion around remote / hybrid / on site work needs to continue. But if it’s your company demanding on site work, the discussion needs to be amongst your executives and the question that needs to be answered is why.