As we envision the future of work after the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies are rethinking their work models to embrace a flexible work strategy. Is it time for you to do the same?
ARTICLE | 5m read
December 15, 2020
By: Tim Minahan
In 2019, only 33 percent of workers chose to work remotely at least one day per week. Today, Gartner reports 88 percent of organizations have adopted WFH policies as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. As organizations focus on employee safety, it’s no surprise remote work has become our primary mode of working. But as we see encouraging news about Covid-19 vaccine efficacy and the global economy begins to rebound, it’s natural to wonder whether remote work will revert to a secondary option as employees opt to return to shared offices.
This is a fair question, but by looking at multiple trends in our current acceleration of remote work, it’s clear remote work should be a cornerstone of your workforce strategy. In this article, we will examine these trends driving the primacy of remote work and how your organization can define a successful flexible work strategy to empower employees and better manage company resources.
Even before Covid-19, remote work was on the rise because of its clear benefits to both organizations and employees. Companies found it much easier to recruit with a larger pool of potential hires in positions ranging from sales to marketing to programming. As many job roles became virtual, employees benefited from physical location being less critical to career success and opportunities. Remote working has also contributed to both a healthier work-life balance for 73 percent of those working from home, and 40 percent of CEOs say virtual working has increased employee productivity.
All these remote work benefits come together under the umbrella of employee experience. Remote workers have more agency to choose their ideal workspace, technology, and work hours. At the same time, organizations that embrace this employee freedom see more engaged and productive workers. By placing employee experience front and center and proving productivity is possible from anywhere, remote work has been a powerful catalyst for change in how we imagine the future of work.
Now that remote work has driven this change, many workers do not want to return to the office after the pandemic. 65 percent of employees currently working from home want to become full time remote employees post-pandemic. At the same time, this doesn’t mean shared offices will not have a place in the future of work. 31 percent of employees in the same survey prefer a hybrid work arrangement, and 81 percent say they’d be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.
of CEOs say virtual working has increased employee productivity
The key takeaway here is that flexibility should be a key value as you architect your remote work strategy. Company leaders should provide employees the freedom to choose where they work, how they want to work, and ultimately their best way to work. This flexibility should also apply to the technology your remote workers use. For example, a flexible digital workspace can equip your remote workers with all the apps and tools they need to be productive regardless of the device they use.
In addition to empowering employees with more agency over their work experience, a flexible remote work model can optimize your organizational resources. According to Global Workplace Analytics, a typical employer can save approximately $11,000 per year for every person who works remotely half of the time. These overhead savings help explain why 76 percent of CEOs believe their companies will need less office space in the future.
Beyond cost savings, forward-thinking companies are already revising their work models, examining workforce strategies, and overhauling the role of the physical office. For example, Gartner predicts by 2024 in-person meetings will drop from 60 percent of enterprise meetings to 25 percent because of remote work and changing workforce demographics. So, as you architect your organization’s future of work, you will likely invest less in real estate and more in remote work technologies like video conferencing, SD-WAN, and digital workspaces that enable a consistent and secure work experience across all devices and locations.
of CEOs believe their companies will need less office space in the future.
Flexible work is here to stay. As your organization architects its strategy for the future of work, look for ways to give employees more choice in where, when, and how they work. This will not only help your organization manage resources and operations in a more dynamic way, but also strengthen your employee experience—giving you a competitive edge in recruiting, engaging, and empowering employees to do their best work anywhere.
About the author
Tim Minahan is EVP of business strategy and chief marketing officer at Citrix, where he has a proactive role in helping to drive focused strategic initiatives and the company’s overall business strategy.