Ladders.com is a job search company. Their research shows that between January and March 2022, North American companies were looking for 25% of their new hires to work exclusively from remote positions. That’s a lot of employees. What are the potential implications of a quarter of the workforce being recruited for 100% of their work time to be remote? Here are a few:
Centralized offices will need to be smaller in size. Unless a company has a big growth spurt, large central offices will be unnecessary or much smaller. This could affect the commercial real estate market for the next 5 years or so. Apartment rentals could also be affected, with more current properties being vacant, then raising monthly costs to compensate for the volume decline.
Companies will need to figure out how to work more efficiently, using a remote workforce more effectively. Performance measurements will need to be more accurately defined, with a computer monitoring system in place to measure performance in content, time and patterns of work. So, more auditing of remote workers.
Remote employees will have a flexibility that office-bound employees will not have available to them. They can be vacationing at a resort while working remotely, or visiting another city 1,000 miles from their home office and conduct their daily work. Or they can meet with their colleagues on-line for an hour in the morning, then work for two hours at 1pm, 5pm and 9pm to produce their work product. Office workers are confined to their work stations for a normal 8-hour day.
Conflicting issues between employees can affect morale and costs since different employees are treated differently. Remote workers don’t have the cost of commuting, (about $5,000 a year), the cost of child care, lunch costs, tolls, as opposed to office workers. On the other hand, remote workers don’t have the one-on-one time with the boss, team meetings in person, nor opportunities to interface with support groups and upper management. Career counseling, office politics and parties are limited for remote workers.
Flexible days/hours or hybrid schedules are a terrific alternative if they can be worked through between the company and the affected workers. This type of schedule can be a powerful compromise and motivator for both parties. The issue revolves around the type work required, the impact on customers, the ability of supervisors to effectively manage the hybrid workforce, along with the responsibility for results to plan.
The marketplace is continually shifting. Companies that can figure out how to optimize the needs of their employees, and employees that can accommodate the policies of their organizations, will both elevate their performance and results. The economy, competition, and new ways to gain an advantage in the business model will continue for the next two years. Those that can anticipate and manage the transition will land on top. Those that wait for the sea of change to wash over them, will not. Be flexible.
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