As summer comes to an end, and temperatures across the US are cooling down, conversations around remote work are heating up.
Even though conversations on the topic largely predict the end of the five-day, pre-pandemic way of doing work, many corporations continue to announce plans to bring employees back to the office.
Yet taking a hard stance on bringing employees back into the workplace can create additional challenges for companies’ talent acquisition and retention efforts — which 77% of CEO’s reported as their top concern.
According to Brian Kropp, Chief of HR Research at Gartner, “Forcing employees back into nonflexible work arrangements could leave organizations vulnerable to talent being actively poached by employers that offer the kind of flexibility employees have come to expect during the pandemic.”
Recent research from McKinsey backs this statement up as respondents to its latest survey cite a flexible working arrangement as a top three motivator for finding a new job.
So what are business leaders to do in this new normal? How should they address the return to work vs. remote work dilemma? We suggest embracing the idea of remote work and learning how to extract the benefits of this work arrangement to the best extent possible.
Work is What We Do, Not Where We Go to Do It
Adopting remote work as part of your company's culture is not easy. We know because before transitioning to becoming a remote-first company, we had to first undergo a mindset shift.
A top concern among company leaders is the impact of remote work on employee productivity. Yet numerous studies and compelling data reveal this isn’t the case.
Microsoft 2022 Work Trend Index reported that 80% of employees believe they are just as much or more productive than they were before.
And it’s more than just flexibility and productivity. Time-starved employees are embracing the time and cost savings associated with remote work.
Stanford University’s research suggests that in America alone workers are saving 200 million hours and 6 billion miles of commuting a week. They’re also spending 35% of that time saved by working additional hours for their company.
When added to the time spent commuting, remote work saves employees an average of 70 minutes per day — not to mention extra savings from eating out, clothes, gas, and more, which is top of mind for employees amid market uncertainty.
So how should you address talent needs during uncertain times and return to office challenges conversations?
Adopt a Flexible Talent Acquisition Model Tailor Made for Uncertain Times
In such uncertain times, leading companies have tended to err on the side of caution and seek flexible models for talent acquisition. One such approach we’ve seen companies adopt first hand is relying on an on-demand talent acquisition model.
With this model, hiring managers are able to onboard the best subject matter experts globally to scale their teams quickly (typically within 13.5 days)— ramping up as talent needs evolve.
While you wait for the picture around return to the office to get clearer, you can rely on the rapidly growing remote independent workforce. We've seen this first hand on our platform where the spend for remote independent talent is up 47% YoY in the first half of 2022.
Adapting to the New “New Normal”
If there's one thing we can take away from this debate, it's that remote work is here to stay. Researchers from Ladders are projecting that 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of the year and that remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023.
When rethinking how to adapt employee work arrangements today, realize that it doesn't have to be all remote or all in the office. It pays to come to a happy medium and listen to what employees say.
Want to learn more about navigating remote work or how to implement the best work model for your business? We’ve got you covered with a couple of more resources:
- To Return to the Office or Stay Remote. What Path Should You Take?
- Hybrid Work is Here to Stay. Here’s How To Make It Work For You