<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=296236294594579&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Strong opinions and shared thoughts on companies, culture and Work — by the makers and friends of Ninety.io

Remote Work | 4 MIN READ

The Long-Term Trends Driving Remote Work — It’s Not Just the Pandemic

It’s clear COVID-19 has changed the way we work. Even after people can safely go back to an office, 55% of the company leaders surveyed by PwC say they expect employees will be in the office just three days per week or less. And it’s not a surprise that company leaders would feel this way, given that 83% said that the shift to remote work has been a success for their organizations.

The shift to remote work, which we prefer to call Work From Anywhere (WFA), is even more pronounced among entrepreneurial, venture-backed companies. In June 2020, the Kung Group surveyed 500 founders who said that, on average, they’d permit 70% of formerly office-based employees to work from home, and 66% said they are rethinking their investment in a physical office.

But while the pandemic served as a catalyst that forced organizations to move to a WFA model, the trends that will ensure remote work remains a fixture of life have been present for at least a decade. After all, in 2019, almost one in six Americans or 26 million people were already working remotely at least some of the time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And that same year, Forbes’ list of the top 100 companies for remote jobs had a number of organizations that had been on the list for six years in a row, including well-known names like Xerox, CVS Health, Salesforce, ADP, American Express and Humana.

So, let’s explore some of the reasons a significant number of companies and employees were already sold on the benefits of WFA prior to the pandemic, and why we believe so many more will continue to in a post-pandemic world.

Technology and the rise of the nomadic worker

Prior to COVID-19, thousands of companies were already using cloud-based company operating systems (COS's) like Ninety.io to help them build and run their organizations. When the pandemic hit, not only did these companies learn that these systems made remote work Almost EasyTM, but they swiftly changed the very nature of the way these companies thought about working together. Today, most of these companies are not only very comfortable with WFA but making WFA a core part of their culture.

Up until COVID-19, WFA jobs were only available to what some call the “creative class” — science, content creation, engineering, computer programming, etc. These were jobs that only required a computer and a good Internet connection to perform nearly all their tasks.

Many advancements in the capabilities of cloud-based collaboration, planning, meeting, and management tools (like those of Ninety.io), as well as video conferencing, are available today. Due to such tech advancements, a recent McKinsey study concluded that  a significant proportion of many jobs that one would normally imagine would require a physical presence in the office can, in fact, be done from anywhere.

Working remotely may help these kinds of employees become better and better at their Work because their jobs require large chunks of uninterrupted time to enable deep concentration on tasks. A noisy office full of chatty colleagues can make that difficult. Indeed, one survey comparing remote to in-office workers found that 22% of office workers said their boss distracts them from their work, while only 15% of remote workers said the same.

It’s hard to deny that COVID-19 has demonstrated that WFA makes sense for more than just creatives. The consequence of this is that companies that do not embrace some form of WFA are likely to have a harder and harder time attracting and retaining talent that believes it can fully execute its roles and responsibilities from anywhere in the world. Hence, we like to refer to those who fully take advantage of the trend, who can work from anywhere, as the world’s newly minted “nomadic class.”

Work-life balance may finally be getting a booster shot

The desire to achieve more balance between Work, family, and leisure time has been a hot topic among leaders and employees alike for quite some time, and the ability to work from anywhere enables many to come closer to that goal.

For starters, WFA eliminates the daily commute to and from an office, which is not only extremely time-consuming for many, but also expensive. According to a 2020 study conducted by Airtasker, remote workers saved an average of 408 hours or 17 days by not having to commute, and they saved more than $4,500 on gas alone. Add up the wear-and-tear on a vehicle, and the savings grow even larger.

It also appears that many employees are putting at least some of that extra time not spent stuck in traffic into their work: remote employees spent 1.4 more days working each month than their in-office colleagues, which adds up to just slightly less time than they gained by not having to commute.

WFA employees also spent more time on themselves. For example, employees who work from home spend more than double the time doing physical exercise than those in an office, and it’s easier to attend functions at children’s schools or take relatives to the doctor. In fact, a 2018 academic study in the Journal of Business and Psychology found that remote work increased employees’ performance, job satisfaction, and commitment to their organization, while they simultaneously experienced less work stress and work-related exhaustion.

Challenges and opportunities

But even though there are plenty of benefits to the WFA model, it does create new challenges. Organizations must think creatively about how to maintain and develop a company culture, strengthen ties between employees and help people combat “Zoom gloom,” that sense of exhaustion that almost all of us have experienced after a long day chock-full of video conferencing.

Working from home also leads many employees to blur the lines between work and family time, which can ironically lead to less work-life balance.

That said, these are challenges we will overcome. In fact, in the coming articles, we’ll address these topics and more. Our goal is to provide readers with insights that will enable them to strengthen their approach to WFA so they can create an even more productive, humane and resilient working environment and, ultimately, do extraordinary work together.

Be Extraordinarily Productive, Humane and Resilient

We know you have many choices of products to help build a great company. At Ninety.io, our passion is to help you and your organization become extraordinarily productive, humane and resilient.

Sign up for a free trial with access to all Ninety.io functions, features and support. We guarantee you’ll love it.

Topics: Remote Work Organizations Technology

Related Posts

Subscribe to Work From Anywhere