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Coronavirus and Work from Home: What you should know

The coronavirus pandemic sparked an unexpected and sudden shift for workers across the globe, who transitioned from their offices to their homes. Now, with work from home a mainstay for many employees over the past year, research has shown hybrid work – a model where people split their work time between an actual office and a home office –  is likely here to stay permanently for the future.

To give you an idea of the massive shift underway,  this NBC News article found: “Prior to the pandemic, approximately 12 percent of the U.S. workforce worked from home for at least one full day per month. Although not directly comparable, as of October, about 32 million Americans, or one-fifth, reported telework due to the pandemic, and almost three-quarters of those workers are between the ages of 25 and 54.”

To learn how to deliver a positive workplace experience amidst the pandemic, check out our recent webinars.

Our team is here to help you automate COVID-safety in your office, from social distancing to contract tracing. To see how it works book a demo.

Future Predictions for the Workplace

The research-based consulting organization Global Workplace Analytics estimates that “25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.” Global Workplace Analytics has put together a list of reasons why they believe many companies will continue to allow employees the option of working from home:

  • Increased demand for work-from-home from employees
  • Reduced fear about work-from-home among managers and executives
  • Increased pressure for work-from-home for disaster preparedness
  • Increased awareness of cost-saving opportunities in work-from-home
  • Increased awareness of the potential impact of work-from-home on sustainability
  • Reduced Business Travel

Pew Research Center data found that before the pandemic some one-in-five reported working from home all or most of the time. “Now, 71% of those workers are doing their job from home all or most of the time. And more than half say, given a choice, they would want to keep working from home even after the pandemic…”

Working from Home Challenges: Research shows Age/Kids at Home Play a Role

Working from home amid the pandemic has been a challenge for many. Parents have reported significantly struggling, because their kids are now learning remotely from home day care has closed. Not surprisingly, research suggests that younger workers report more distractions and have difficulty completing their work without interruptions in their home office.

The Pew Research Center found, “There is a significant age gap in the extent to which workers are facing challenges in their virtual work lives. Among those working from home all or most of the time, those younger than 50 are significantly more likely than older workers to say it’s been difficult for them to be able to get their work done without interruptions (38% for workers ages 18 to 49 vs. 18% for workers 50 and older) and feel motivated to do their work (42% vs. 20%). The youngest workers are among those most likely to say a lack of motivation has been an impediment for them: 53% of those ages 18 to 29 say it’s been difficult for them to feel motivated since the pandemic began.”

Pew’s research also concluded: “With widespread school and daycare closures, many working parents have their children at home as they’ve transitioned to remote work. Half of teleworking parents with children younger than 18 say, since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s been difficult for them to be able to get their work done without interruptions. A far smaller share of those who do not have minor children (20%) say the same. This difference persists across genders, with both mothers and fathers more likely than their counterparts without children to say this has been difficult for them. Mothers and fathers are about equally likely to say this has been difficult for them.”

Top Tips for Working from Home

Looking for some tips to make working from home more productive?

Online career platform The Muse put together the following list:

  1. Get dressed
  2. Designate a workspace or home office
  3. Keep clearly defined working hours
  4. Build transitions in and out of work
  5. Don’t get too sucked in by news or anything else
  6. Communicate
  7. Don’t forget to socialize

Companies Announcing Long-term Work from Home Policies

Companies across the globe are announcing plans for a permanent shift in work modality, allowing employees to work in a hybrid model that splits time between home and the office. Business Insider put together the following list of 21 major companies that announced their employees can work from home long-term:

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. Indeed
  4. Microsoft
  5. American Express
  6. Airbnb
  7. REI
  8. Uber
  9. Zillow
  10. Reuters
  11. Twitter
  12. Square
  13. Facebook
  14. Salesforce
  15. Amazon
  16. Spotify
  17. Hitachi
  18. Coinbase
  19. Mastercard
  20. Nielson
  21. Nationwide Insurance

Can you save money working from home?

FlexJobs, a subscription service for job seekers, published an article featuring6 ways that working from home can save you $4,000 or more annually:

  1. Commuting Costs
  • Gas
  • Car Maintenance
  • Car Insurance
  • Public Transportation
  1. Clothes
  2. Eating Out
  3. Tax Breaks
  4. The Environment
  5. “Real” Salary
  • FlexJobs explains the meaning of “real” salary as: “Say you earn $50,000 a year and you’re commuting to an office. That would mean you’re making about $21.70 per hour (because you’re working an eight-hour day plus your 54ish-minute commute, or just under nine hours daily). If you skipped the commute, though, your hourly wage would rise to $24.04 an hour!”

What workers want

Smartway2 completed a survey that revealed roughly only 6% of people want to work from home 100% of the time. The same research also showed that roughly only 2% of people want to work in an office full-time. This data confirms the notion that hybrid work is the wave of the future.

In our previous post on The Impact of COVID-19 on Employee Experience, we explain that, “The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed employees to see that it is possible to get their jobs done with a flexible work schedule. Overall, employees have become comfortable with flexibility, which is something a lot of people do not want to give up. This means employers are going to have to embrace more agile work environments – offering greater flexibility – in order to keep workers happy. The shift in the workplace and the way people do their jobs will provide an opportunity for organizations to reduce real estate costs and improve sustainability. This may lead to some organizations downsizing their office square footage while others repurpose existing space to better suit the new needs of their company.”

What is Hybrid Work? What should you know?

Hybrid work revolves around flexibility. It is a work structure where employees get to do a combination of in-office and at-home work. Hybrid work allows people to pick and choose where and when they get their job done.

This shift toward hybrid work was underway in some industries before COVID-19 struck in spring 2020, and the pandemic has only accelerated the trend as many employees have shown they can work productively from home.

Want to learn more about companies that have implemented Hybrid Work? We have a whole blog post outlining 5 very useful case studies. Check it out here.

Smartway2 is a next-generation technology company specializing in workplace scheduling solutions. We enable organizations to automate a safe return to work, by automating social distancing, contact tracing and more; while providing space utilization data to empower continuous workplace improvement.

Stefania Vatidis

Stefania Vatidis

Last updated January 27, 2021