Remote Flexibility, the New Normal

Written by Di Princell

January 20, 2022

The word remote is such a lonely word, bringing up images of an isolated cabin in the woods, hungry wolves prowling about, and potentially a shortage of food and supplies. Today’s remote office/branch office (ROBO) is often the polar opposite of the Hansel and Gretel version. ROBO is usually set up in the employee’s house often located in a separate town, state, or country from the company’s main office.

Last week, 60 Minutes reported in a segment called The Big Quit, that pre-pandemic, 1 in 67 jobs was remote, whereas today, 1 in 7 jobs is remote, an astounding increase.

One of the antonyms for the word remote is cozy. According to the Work From Home Guide by Wrike, a proper Remote Office has 15 cozy ingredients:

  1. Identify and create your ideal workspace
  2. Get the right work from home equipment
  3. Choose the right lighting
  4. Temperature control
  5. Pay attention to your health
  6. Stock up on office supplies
  7. Keep plants
  8. Let the music play
  9. Keep inspiration close by
  10. Store your professional work documents separately
  11. Choose colors separately
  12. Stay well-nourished
  13. Get dressed
  14. Keep breaks short and sweet
  15. Track time

As reported in the Big Quit, workers are burned out, and as a result, are seeking balance, autonomy, control, and flexibility in their homelife/jobs as the new normal, one that is not going away. Hiring signs flourish across the U.S., offering higher pay, better benefits, signing bonuses, moving expenses, paying for education, and remote work. Working from home increases spendable income by decreasing daily expenses like gas and childcare; it also eliminates commuting stress and confining work hours. Customizing a workspace to meet individual physical and emotional needs, contributes to enhanced feelings of wellness. Special needs workers, once restricted in a defined workspace, are finally liberated. Wellness, independence, contentment, inclusivity, and higher productivity are some of the byproducts of a well-managed remote space.  

Working remotely lowers overhead for employers which is critical for many during the Covid crisis, and as the quit rate soars and workers seek flexibility, a home office opens the door to a larger talent pool. The Big Quit reported that workers are 2 1/2 times more likely to apply for a remote job. Wrike’s research shows that remote workers are 20-25% more productive than their counterparts due to reduced social distractions and the ability to take breaks whenever; motivation, performance, and creativity soar. Providing workers with the necessary technology, boundaries, expectations, goals, and policies to be successful is a sure way to increase productivity, the backbone of a home office.

Rick Fiorito, COO of RIBBIT, a data analytics company, believes that “We have passed the point that the Pros of a remote workforce – bigger talent pool, office related cost savings, higher morale, lower turnover, increased productivity – significantly outweighs the Cons – reduced oversight, lack of the human face to face element, added investment in IT/data security/communications. Companies like RIBBIT, committed to leveraging the enhanced information/communication technologies and performance management tools developed over the last few years, will be the ones with the most productive and happy work forces in their industries!” 

Stay tuned . . .

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