Work from home! Make money in your pajamas!
Over a year into the pandemic, much of America’s white-collar workforce that has been doing this long enough for it to feel normal may or may not still be dazzled by the allure. Regardless, even when it’s safe to go back to an office, many predict that working from home and more flexible options will remain the norm.
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Global Workplace Analytics, a research-based consulting firm, estimates that at least 25%-30% of the U.S. workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. Large companies like Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have already announced more flexible permanent policies.
On top of meeting employee demand, it makes sense for employers on a number of fronts. Global Workplace Analytics estimated that employers could save an average of $11,000 per half-time remote worker per year, thanks to factors such as increased productivity, reduced real estate and absenteeism costs. Work-from-home policies are also a strong statement of sustainability, with real power to get cars off the roads.
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While all of this makes a strong case for making these changes more permanent, Laurel Farrer, international remote work expert and CEO and founder of Distribute Consulting, sounds a note of caution.
“Remote work, as a working model, developed by about 10 years in the span of just two weeks,” she said. “What we are experiencing right now is not remote work. What we are experiencing now is an international contingency plan for a global pandemic.”
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In order to truly get remote work right and do it in a sustainable way, Farrer says that not only companies but state and federal governments, need to be more intentional about how remote work is designed.
Here are some of the top good — and not-so-good — aspects of our future remote work lives.