The COVID-19 pandemic brought a radical change to the business world: Corporate offices emptied out, and at-home offices emerged. Daily, stressful commutes during long morning and evening rush hours dissolved, and worker productivity increased as people used that found time for better work and improved well-being.
Prior to the pandemic, the business world was already moving in the direction of remote work. Many IT, SaaS and marketing companies, for example, were ahead in the talent acquisition game, recruiting the brightest people from all corners of the country to leverage their “distributed workforces.”
The events of 2020 forced businesses that had not yet deployed remote work to quickly adapt to the new work model. The need to pivot on a dime resulted in an incredible experiment in work culture that produced several positive outcomes, including higher productivity rates from employees, improved work-life balance, improved retention rates, and lower carbon footprints.
The fear that employees would not be as productive working from home has proved to be erroneous, as leaders have witnessed their employees working effectively from home for the majority of 2020. Improved productivity may be attributed to fewer distractions from office settings, more rest and gained energy due to no daily commutes, and flexibility for employees to complete their work during hours that are best suited to their schedules.
The future of work is here today. While 42% of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have started returning people to the office, many are waiting until 2021 (17%) or are uncertain about the timeline for return (11%).
The return to the workplace is slow with many SMBs embracing a hybrid work model; 29% are making the return voluntary and another 29% are planning a phased return. For those companies that are able to make remote working a permanent option, they are expecting a remote work model to save on large expenditures such as high rents and utility fees. Thanks to the number of innovative online collaboration and project management platforms, many businesses have been able to move forward despite the obstacles they have faced during our global crisis.
To explore the new direction of work, Vistage partnered with Optimize Inc. to look at this year’s trends in remote work, the adoption of collaboration technology, changes in corporate office settings, and shifts in company culture. Download The Future of Work in America for insights into how small and midsize businesses are remaking what it means to work, collaborate, and move business forward in a changing world.