The concepts of remote work and online jobs were around before the pandemic, but they certainly weren’t the norm.
In fact, prior to 2020, only 7% of workers enjoyed flexible schedules and the ability to work from home part-time or full-time. The lucky few who did enjoy these WFH jobs were mostly managers and highly paid white-collar workers.
Then, of course, COVID-19 happened — and everything changed.
The question is: Are these workplace changes here to stay? Or is it time for everyone to return to the office?
We’ll explore this important topic below, so keep reading!
Remote Work During the Pandemic
Experts estimate that about 70% of the population worked from home at the height of the pandemic.
For many companies, this change took place overnight. Employers and employees who already did some remote work (at least part-time) had an easier time with these workplace changes.
For other companies, though, there was a serious learning curve. At least 20% of workers said they lacked the proper technology, equipment, or home office space to work effectively from home. Others struggled with focus and motivation, while many had to juggle their new WH jobs with family responsibilities.
And yet — here we are. Vaccinations have rolled out, cases are dropping, and many businesses are reopening and trying to return to normal. Meanwhile, we’ve all made the necessary adjustments to transition to working from home.
Where does that leave us?
Workplace Changes in 2021 & Beyond
So, is all this change in the workplace here to stay? Or will we eventually go back to working the way we did before?
Consider some current telecommuting trends:
- 62% of employees say they have the tools and resources to work remotely at least part-time
- 82% of employees say they would like to continue their WFH jobs at least part-time after the pandemic ends
- 25% of workers would take a 10% pay cut if it meant they could work from home at least part-time
The message is clear: A large percentage of the population has gotten a taste for working from home — and they want more. Employers who never previously considered the benefits of working from home have seen that it can (and does) work.
This is one reason why big corporations like Microsoft and Spotify plan to allow their employees to telecommute, even after the pandemic ends.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses. The nature of some jobs and industries simply doesn’t allow for remote work. There’s also a continued class distinction between those who are able to work from home and those who can’t.
And although many love the work-from-home environment, others find it stressful and isolating. Parents may struggle to care for their work while looking after their family, while young employees struggle to foster friendships or connect with mentors remotely.
There are pros and cons to WFH jobs, but for most people, the benefits outweigh the challenges.
WFH Jobs Are (Mostly) Here to Stay
Of course, WFH jobs aren’t possible in every industry. Some people will have no choice but to return to in-person positions at offices, factories, or shops.
For those who have the option, though, remote work and online jobs may continue to be the “new norm.” Whether these workplace changes will bring lasting positive benefits remains to be seen!
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