The COVID-19 pandemic saw a surge in remote work, as governments implemented stay-at-home orders and companies pivoted to teleworking to keep employees safe. Although the urgency of the public health scare has subsided, many companies are maintaining remote or flexible work policies. Some experts suggest that remote work is "trending permanent" and will continue to become more prevalent in the future.
Gallup reveals that 45% of full-time employees in the United States were working partly or fully remotely as of September 2021. What's more, nine out of ten of those remote workers wanted to keep working remotely, at least to some degree. This isn't just a U.S. phenomenon. Global Workplace Analytics predicts that 25% to 30% of the workforce will continue to work from home as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
Clearly, remote work is no fleeting trend. Some of the biggest business names out there are embracing the flexibility it offers.
More and more companies are offering fully remote or flexible working arrangements—such as hybrid models, where workers only have to come into the office a couple of days per week and can otherwise work from where they want.
This isn't just a question of meeting the demands of workers who are eager to work from home. Remote work also offers some noticeable benefits, for both employees and employers.
Companies switching to remote work can remain competitive in the hiring marketplace and continue to attract top talent. They won't miss out on people who are prioritizing flexible working arrangements. Plus, companies have a wider talent pool to choose from when they go remote. They aren't restricted to job candidates in their immediate vicinity, which can be limiting.
Employees benefit too. They can enjoy a better work-life balance when they have greater agency about when and where they work. This can also mean more time for self-care tasks, like healthy cooking and working out, boosting worker wellness.
Plus, staff well-being budgets are gaining prominence in response to the increase in remote work, prompting employers to reinvent their benefits plans.
Overall, this can result in happier workers, who may also be more productive—which, in turn, benefits the company. Everybody wins!
Recognizing the benefits of remote work, many companies have already shifted to fully remote or flexible working arrangements. A successful shift to remote work requires a well-thought-out strategy, and these companies seem to have it down.
Here's a quick peek at some big names that are spearheading the movement:
The streaming music company offers a "Work From Anywhere" program, which was launched in February 2021. It offers in-person, remote, and hybrid work arrangements, plus flexible living options for team members who want to move elsewhere, although there are some limits when it comes to time zones.
In March 2022, Lyft announced plans to create a fully flexible workplace. The rideshare company's flexible workplace model maintains strong support for in-person office life while giving workers the ability to structure where they work. That said, some positions—like service mechanics—still require an on-site presence.
In October 2021, the adhesives manufacturer announced a "trust-based approach" to remote working called "Work Your Way." Under the new policy, employees can decide for themselves whether they want to work remotely or in the office—or take a hybrid approach, mixing both options.
In 2021, the global software giant announced that its employees were free to "work from home forever." However, the company has kept its offices in the Philippines, Turkey, Japan, India, Amsterdam, and San Francisco open, giving employees the option to work on-site if they want to.
Another software company that's committed to giving employees greater flexibility in where they work, SAP announced its "Pledge to Flex'' model in June 2021. The concept lets workers decide for themselves whether they'll work in the office, remotely, or both.
The marketing and design company shifted to permanent remote work in August 2020. Its office locations were converted into "collaboration centers," similar to coworking spaces. Employees can book desks and come in for some face time when they want.
The cryptocurrency company announced a remote-first work model in May 2020, and in September 2021 they reiterated their commitment to remote-first. Although some roles still require in-person meetings or functions, about 95% of the company's employees have total flexibility and can choose to work from home or the office or to mix it up and do a bit of both.
The social media behemoth reopened all its offices in March 2022. However, employees are still allowed to decide where they work, and can be remote full-time if they want to (and their position allows). CEO Parag Agrawal reiterated the company's commitment to "truly flexible work" via a Tweet in March 2022.
This technology company offers employees three choices: @office, @flex, and @home. With @office, workers come in three or more days per week. With @flex, they commit to coming in at most two days per week. With @home, they don't have to come in at all.
The real estate company also hopped on the remote work bandwagon. Today, the majority of its employees have the option to work where they want, either from their home or in an office, or a combination of the two.
This is just a sampling of companies that have switched to remote work. Odds are that the remote work landscape will continue to shift. If recent trends are anything to go by, it's likely that more companies will join the movement.
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