If the pandemic changed the way you do your job, you’re not alone.
Before COVID-19 became a part of everyday conversation, only 7% of the employed worked primarily from home or had access to telework, according to a 2019 survey from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Managers and highly paid executives made up the majority of that pool.
Today, 6 in 10 workers in the United States work from home all or most of the time, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. What started out as a health precaution has evolved into a choice, especially for those defined as “knowledge workers” or people who can do their jobs using a home computer.
In this world where the word zoom is both a noun and a verb, the majority of workers say it’s easier to meet the expectations and deadlines associated with their job when doing so in the comfort of their home office. Minus congested commutes that eat up precious sleep time, remote workers are energized by a healthier work-balance that also has another perk. When we drive less, we reduce our carbon footprint, reduce the wear and tear on our vehicles and save money at the pump.
This new era of work has even led to people accepting jobs in different states as geography has become less of a factor in career choice. Companies can also save by downsizing office spaces and reducing energy costs.
Many who still go into the office follow a hybrid schedule by working two or three days at home and spending a day or two in an office. Companies demanding employees return to an in-person space risk losing those workers, according to recent survey results that show those type of mandates pushing younger employees to quit. The boundaries between work and home life continue to blur, whether it’s children and pets in the background during a virtual meeting or childcare arrangements interrupting part of the daily routine.
The Great American Resignation has led to a power shift of employees having more options and employers having to reexamine their culture and benefits to attract and retain top talent. It used to be unthinkable to inquire about work-life balance during a job interview. Now it’s a benefit many employers tout.
Telecommuting and remote work are wins for the environment, too. Fewer cars on the road reduces greenhouse gas emissions. That leads us to breathe in cleaner air.
Most of us are more cost conscious when we work from home. We use less paper, and virtual meetings make file sharing easy.
Even with COVID-19 continuing to affect much of how people go about their lives, the changes to the workplace have become less about the virus and more about convenience and sustainability. While not every job is suitable to remote work, those that can work from home all or part of the time are on course to do so for the future. That workplace cultural shift that has very much become the new normal.