With the pandemic roaring back and threatening the economy again, many businesses think that remote work isn’t going away soon. In fact, companies are beginning to accept the possibility that physical offices might stay closed for nearly two years now.
The Longer Employees Work Remotely, The Harder It Will Be to Get Them Back
Remote work helps employees continue with their work while remaining safe inside their homes. Many employees already made adjustments to their workday routines. They replaced commute time with workouts and setting exclusive hours for work.
As more and more workers appreciated the benefits of working from home, many executives are getting concerned. The longer people stay at home, the harder it will be to get them to return to their desks.
Meanwhile, Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer of Intel Corp, realized that remote work is now an accepted way of life. “If you have a little blip, people go back to the old way. Well, this ain’t a blip,” he said.
Intel is among the many companies that didn’t shut down. Instead, employees continued with the work by connecting from home. Gelsinger thinks that hybrid and remote work will remain the preferred systems for the next few years. “There is no going back,” he predicted.
Due to a resurging virus, the office return dates for employees remain postponed indefinitely. Big tech firm Apple Inc already told office employees that the scheduled September reopenings won’t happen.
Instead, the company will open its doors to regular work in January at the earliest. Other companies such as Chevron and Wells Fargo also announced the cancellation of their September returns.
In addition, ride-sharing company Lyft also announced a February return. This is a full 23 months after it first turned to remote work.
Remote Work Disconnect Workers From the Company
Meanwhile, Prudential Financial Inc. said that they are moving their office reopening to October instead of September. However, the schedule remains fluid, given that the pandemic has yet to show signs of weakening.
Vice-chair Rob Falzon worries that the extended stay away from the office can negatively affect employee connections. “My single greatest concern is around talent.
As individuals disassociate themselves from their organizations from a cultural standpoint, it becomes increasingly easy for them to make decisions to leave and go elsewhere,” he observed.
“When they’re in the workplace, I think they have a broader sense of connection to the platform, to the culture of the organization—their fellow employees, their teams—that makes them less inclined to want to leave,” Mr. Falzon added. As a result, many employees report an increase in recruiting pitches from rival firms and network connections.
Remote Work Proven Effective
Despite the apparent disconnect, many experts agreed that companies can still work effectively via remote connection. In fact, perceptions of the effectiveness of remote work continue to rise.
When PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted a survey last year with their employees, 73% agreed that remote work was successful. By January of the next year, the approval rate rose to 83%.
However, many remote workers are now fully adjusted to the lifestyle of zero commutes and private surroundings. As offices remain closed, it becomes more difficult for companies to willingly return to a pre-pandemic style.
As a result many workers now want to remain fully remote, pandemic or not. From 29% of workers in January 2021, 41% of PWC employees now prefer the same full-time remote work setting.
Watch the DW News special report: Will remote working outlive the pandemic?
Do you agree that employees will find it harder to return to the office the longer remote work continues? Personally, do you prefer remote work, or do you work better in an office setting?
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