Almost two and a half years after the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations around the world have established new work norms, recognizing that flexible work is no longer a temporary pandemic response measure, but a enduring feature of the modern work world.
According to a report by McKinsey, 58% of Americans work from home at least one day a week. 35% of respondents reported being able to choose to work from home five days a week. When given the opportunity to work flexibly, 87% of people accept. This dynamic is widespread across demographics, professions, and regions. The flexible work world was born out of a frantic response to an unexpected crisis, but it remains the ideal work characteristic for millions of people. There is a significant change in the way and the locations where Americans desire and actually engage in work, indicating a structural shift.
Not everyone can enjoy working from home. Low-income frontline workers cannot work from home at all while professionals, managers, and those in high-paying fields such as IT support, payroll, and call centers can work entirely from home are mainly . Although some employees may choose to work on-site because they enjoy the environment, others may be forced to do so because their home environment is unsuitable, they lack the skills and tools for efficient remote work, or because they believe that remote work has advantages. Employers should be aware that different groups have different views and experiences of remote work and should consider how flexible work fits into their diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies.
The extent of flexible work options is dependent on the industry and the specific job within it, and can influence the ability of companies to attract top talent. For example, the vast majority of computer and math professionals say they have remote work options, and 77% of them are willing to work entirely remotely. Even those who have lower overall rates of working from home may find that they need to hire technologists due to the rapid digital transformation across industries.
The survey asked people if they had recently looked for work or planned to look for work. As expected, the most common reason for job seeking was the desire for higher pay or more working hours, followed by seeking better career opportunities. The third most popular reason was seeking flexible work arrangements.
Previous McKinsey research showed that workplace flexibility was the top reason for those who left the workforce in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic to accept new jobs. Employers should be aware that the opportunity for flexible work may be a deciding factor when candidates make decisions between job opportunities with similar pay.
To compete for top talent and digital innovators, employers need to understand the habits of their talent pool and expectations for flexibility. Employers should invest wisely in technology, adjust policies, and train employees to create a workplace that blends remote and on-site workers.
Having a designated workspace equipped with appropriate technology, such as video conferencing, childcare arrangements, pet care, and a schedule that allows for social contact and stimulation, typically derived from interacting with others in a workplace, contributes to a successful remote work experience. From laptops to software and internet speed, identify the technological tools you need, including applications such as Zoom, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. Use advanced video conferencing equipment such as Kandao Meeting Pro's close-to-face remote communication technology to improve meeting efficiency rather than compensating for collaboration deficiencies by increasing meeting times.
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As time goes on, the full impact of the trend towards remote work from home will become evident. As both employers and employees, it is important to be prepared technologically for this new era of work.