WFH companies are rapidly developing after a massive boost during the lockdown of 2020. In fact, remote work, flexible working, or any other name given to this transformation in how we work has come to stay. 

To bring this reality into perspective, here are some statistics about companies working from home permanently that should get your attention.

Employee Statistics

Data reveals that about 4.7 million people work from home at least half the time in the United States. 16% of companies (in the United States hire only virtual workers while 44% do not hire remote workers.

That leaves the last 40% of companies in the country with hybrid workers. Take a look at some employee statistics below:

Employer Statistics

These statistics show that working from home jobs are here to stay, and remote work is the future of work.

Understanding the New Normal Called Remote Working

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 17% of American employees worked from home five days or more per week. This increased to 44% during the pandemic. 

Although the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the remote working trend, research revealed that remote working has been on a sharp rise over the last decade, with an average growth of 98% in the previous 12 years.

In the U.S., a tech research firm’s study shows that employees of companies working from home permanently will rise from 16.4% to 34.4% in 2021. 

With this change, companies must adapt to retain their remote-working talents. Some findings from a research study show how vital remote working could be to climate change.

Here are some observations from the study;

  • 2.9 million Americans telecommute each year, saving 390 million gallons of gas and preventing 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • By the time all of New York's workers took off their cars, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by the equivalent of taking them off the road 2.4 days a week.

With these benefits, remote working has come to stay, and organizations must be adaptable and agile to enjoy these benefits.

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Organizational Challenges of Remote Work and How to Overcome Them

With remote working, employers are getting concerned about retaining their workers. Because of greater global inter-connectivity, talents now have more options and can be selective in their choice of companies.

To illustrate how many organizations are struggling with retention during Covid-19, KPMG surveyed CEOs to identify the biggest priorities on their agenda. 

While only 1% had said 'talent risk' was the most significant risk on their agenda pre-Covid-19, it's now their most considerable risk overall with 21% of CEOs.

It is essential to understand that Employee Retention heavily depends on satisfaction, which boils down to how well you deal with employee needs and concerns. 

As remote work becomes the 'new normal,' employee retention factors, like vibrant office spaces and onsite perks, have changed, which is why we need to revisit the question 'What does it take to keep employees happy?'

While a competitive compensation package remains vital, it's not the only requirement. Other important considerations necessary to keep remote working employees happy include:

  • Quick resolution of IT issues: Employees' technology tools must help them do their work efficiently and not the opposite. Therefore, avoid those constant IT issues that can bring the employee's day to a halt.
  • Prioritizing Career Advancement: Companies need to be clear on the career path available to their remote employees. Your workers need to know what their career progression resembles. 
  • Fairness in Compensation plan: Let's imagine two remote employees, and each one lives in a city that is either expensive or cheap, depending on their location.

Does it make sense to pay them the same as if they were doing the same job, or should you adjust their salaries to reflect their cost of living? 

These are essential factors to consider in building compensation plans for remote workers.

  • Recognize your employees' efforts: "Employees that don't feel recognized are twice as likely to quit — Tiny Pulse." This quote says it all.
  • Communication: This remains the life-blood of every organization. Keep communication channels open and easily accessible. Feedback must flow in both directions.

Maintaining Relevance in the Workplace as a Remote Worker

Although working from home is becoming more acceptable with the command and control office model gradually becoming outdated, some remote workers remain worried that the lack of "face time" with their boss could hurt their careers. 

With the shift in working style comes a greater need for remote workers to justify their relevance to their employers. Here are some tips on how to do that.

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  • Be Organized: It's vital to get the basics right. Show up on time for meetings, meet your work deadlines and be productive.

  • Communicate and Check infrequently: It's essential to show up and not hide because you don't get thought of for opportunities if you aren't seen or heard.

  • Maximize the use of technological tools provided: If you don't know how to use tools, take time to learn and master them. These tools will improve your efficiency.

  • Network: Just doing your work isn't enough: To succeed while working remotely, you need to build your network with co-workers in person and via social platforms. Get known by your colleagues and others in the industry.

  • Lastly, take breaks and prioritize your well-being: You're only valuable for your organization when you're healthy.

The Final Note

Let us put out there that remote work is here to stay. There are already so many statistics backing this up, as well as how I know some of you are feeling. The key challenge now s to strike a balance between working professionally in your pajamas. And as an employee, it is to be seen and to be heard.

On the part of the employers, making the whole process of work as seamless as possible is a great step forward.