While workplaces were forced to shift quickly from in-office to at-home work in the wake of COVID-19, many companies have found it hard to ignore the key advantages of remote working. It should be understood that working remotely is not a privilege everyone has, but those who can swing it understand its strategic and effective benefits.

Gaining a comprehensive look at the latest work from home trends can help you better cater to the needs of your business as a whole and ensure your digital workspace is set up to thrive. We’ve provided some recent statistics about remote work from Owl Labs below so you can use them to bolster your policies and prepare for the future needs of your workplace.

Remote Work Statistics

Today, nearly 70% of full-time workers in the U.S. are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cultural change that comes with long-term remote working has made it clear that many will continue working from home after the pandemic. Even after COVID-19 guidelines are lifted and workspaces can re-open, 92% of full-time workers surveyed expect to work from home at least one day per week, and 80% expect to work from home at least three days per week. Many advantages have emerged for individuals and corporations alike. 

Employees from various industries have expressed that remote working has increased their productivity, honors work-life balance, accommodates unique work styles, and gives them the flexibility they need to thrive professionally. The survey shows that 77% of respondents agree that after COVID-19, having the option to work from home would make them happier. Not to mention, business owners who have successfully implemented a work from home model have seen cost savings in more areas than one! On average, remote employees worked an extra 26 hours each month during COVID-19.

Furthermore, around 75% of people say they feel more productive since working from home during COVID-19. We can think of few things better for business owners than happy employees and saving money. To prepare for the post-pandemic world, it’s a good idea for companies to begin assessing which work from home shifts have improved their operations. You can hone in on the data that gives insight into your employees’ working preferences and the effects on morale, happiness, and company growth.

Trends Surrounding Working From Home

Even though remote work is not a new concept, it’s more widely accepted now than it ever has been before. To prepare for the shifting workforce landscape that’s sure to arise post-pandemic, business owners need to know the facts surrounding remote work.

This way, companies can prepare for the future by understanding what their employees expect in light of—and following—the pandemic. Like that those working from home during the pandemic want to do so permanently 123% more after COVID-19. The more business owners become attuned to their employees, the higher job satisfaction will be! Giving your employees the support they need to feel happy and safe is critical to keeping productivity high while simultaneously keeping turnover rate and costs low. Especially since trends are showing that 1 in 2 people will not return to jobs that don’t offer remote work following COVID-19.

Remote Work Best Practices

Successful remote work is hugely dependent on employees being set up with the technical assistance they need to flourish. This cloud-first working economy may be new and exciting to business owners, but it can also feel like a whole new world without any clear direction to your less tech-savvy employees. Here are some remote work best practices to keep in mind as you work to support your remote employees:

  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Pairing a BYOD policy with a secure file sharing solution at your business is a great way to give your employees a sense of comfort and familiarity while simultaneously ensuring your most crucial files stay safe.
  • No Shadow IT: While there are viable products that can help slow down shadow IT, there are many things businesses themselves can do to slow down this complex issue, such as increasing communication, implementing security training, conduct regular audits, and more.
  • Screen Sharing Capabilities: While in a traditional office, employees can simply walk up to their co-workers’ computer screens to collaborate or troubleshoot, but remote workers don’t have this same luxury. Screen sharing allows people to see what is happening on each other’s devices from afar. 
  • Collaboration: Effective collaboration is essential for any team, especially those working remotely. By using collaborative solutions, teams won’t need to send and share multiple copies of the same document. The right collaborative platforms will ensure everyone has access to the most recent version of documents or files.
  • Streamline Your Systems: While the right software is detrimental to your business’s success, it’s important not to overdo it. If communication is scattered across multiple platforms, it can be challenging for employees to get organized and acclimated accordingly. Employers should outline their current systems and ask for employee feedback to better streamline workflows.

Data Security Training: Considering the increase of cyberattacks on valuable data since the pandemic, cybersecurity training should be mandatory for all remote workers. You need to educate your employees on what malware, phishing, and various other scams look like so they can better avoid putting your organization at risk.

Tips for Managing Remote Workers

Since remote work doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, employers should begin strengthening their work from home model so they can push forward no matter how long stay-at-home ordinances persist. With so much outside of business owners’ control right now, a pivotal next step they can take is ensuring their employees are well taken care of. It’s shown that 79% of participants want to work remotely to avoid getting COVID-19 or having to commute, 74% want to work from home to reduce stress, 72% want more work-life balance, and 70% can focus better at home.

Remote working isn’t just about technology—it’s also important to consider the culture change that is taking place. It’s up to employers to build flexibility and empathy into their work culture, so employees feel supported and less stressed during this time. To adapt to the current climate, business owners are being forced to completely rethink how they should operate now and in the future. There are likely many dated practices that need to be reconsidered in light of this “new normal.” 

This should include a reconfiguration of how and where employees do their jobs and what fundamental shifts should be made to improve employee work life. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Promote Communication: Whether this is conversations about workplace changes, clarity on assignments, or merely initiating small talk, leaders should be going the extra mile to genuinely converse with their employees. Even in remote circumstances, it’s crucial to build rapport with every member of your team, even if it takes scheduling longer than typical one-on-ones. According to a recent study, employees desire to be recognized for their contributions 30% more during periods of disruption. Make sure you’re giving your team the recognition they deserve. 
  • Hop on That Video Call: Something essential for managers and other higher-ups to remember is that more than half of all communication is nonverbal. When you’re trying to get to know your employees and cater to their individual needs, a video can give you the personable approach that audio-only calls and chat messages can’t pick up as well. People have been meeting on video calls 50% more since COVID-19 started. If a video call isn’t an option at the time, you can show some connection by incorporating things like exclamation marks, emojis, or GIFs. 
  • Make Sure Job Roles Are Clear: Sudden workplace changes can cause a lot of confusion, making it the manager’s job to clear up any uncertainties. Make sure your employees understand their individual responsibilities so they can approach their roles with clarity and confidence. When new expectations or roles are assigned, make sure you talk them out clearly with your employee(s). This ensures the right flow of communication and will help you overcome misunderstandings.
  • Notice Distress: It’s no secret that the pandemic has exasperated burnout, and not being attuned to this as a manager can take a significant toll on your team. A recent survey has revealed that 76% of participants agreed that workplace stress affects their mental health. Add this stat to the stress people are experiencing due to the global health crisis, and you’ll understand why many companies are seeing a dip in productivity. You can counteract this by showing empathy and support to team members that feel overwhelmed. 

SmartFile offers secure file sharing and storage that help you easily manage and share large file structures whether working in-office, remotely, or through a hybrid model. We aim to enhance communication, collaboration, security, and usability to ensure your work from home experience is as streamlined as possible.

Source: https://resources.owllabs.com/state-of-remote-work/2020

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About John Hurley

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of SmartFile. My role is to find the right people and give them the right tools and resources needed to grow both professionally and personally.

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