Remote work is here to stay and employers offering it have a competitive edge when it comes to retaining and recruiting employees, according to a survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.
Three-quarters of businesses (76%) that have offered remote work since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic say they are continuing to allow their employees to work remotely. The most cited reason is to help attract and retain employees (66%).
Nearly half of employers (49%) say remote work has had a positive impact on their company as a whole, while only 15% say it has had a negative impact, and the remainder say it has had no impact at all.
What’s more, a plurality of employers (46%) say remote work has not impacted employee productivity compared to when they were in the company’s physical workspace. Nearly a quarter of companies (22%) reported their employees became more productive, though one-third (32%) of companies say their employees became less productive with remote work.
The ability to work remotely has become a basic requirement for an employer to stay competitive in many industries, according to Hanif Hemani, an Express franchise owner in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
“Quite simply the ‘genie is out of the bottle’ and most employers have offered and continue to offer work from home options,” said Hemani. “Remote work isn’t going anywhere and, in fact, employers are using this flexibility as a recruitment strategy.”
Hemani says hybrid work weeks have become the most popular remote work model.
“Most businesses are electing a hybrid model requiring employees to be in the office for a set number of days,” he said. “Typically, I am finding that the 3 consecutive days in office is a popular and good option, as all employees are available for face-to-face meetings on one set day of the week.”
There are some potential drawbacks to remote work.
“Recent insights from some large surveys have warned that remote work can stifle innovation, as employees tend to interact (remotely) with only the same group of people, and cross divisional collaboration and cross pollination of ideas can become less frequent as innovation can often occur from in-person ‘watercooler’ interactions,” said Hemani. “Remote work can also cause a disconnect between employees and their managers which can lead to problems down the road.”
But there are also many benefits to offering remote work.
“Remote work is popular and desired by many employees, and if employees are happier, this should lead to better engagement, which can lead to better productivity,” he said. “If employees are more engaged and more productive then the employer will benefit. In addition, if employees are more satisfied, they will be less likely to leave which will save companies time and money not having to deal with turnover and recruitment.”
When, and if, the country’s labour shortages ease, it remains to be seen if fully remote or hybrid workplace options are as prevalent,”
Express Employment Professionals CEO Bill Stoller.
“As long as productivity doesn’t suffer, offering a remote work option for employees has many benefits and is a popular incentive shaping many companies’ cultures right now,” he added. “While this arrangement may not be feasible for everyone, competition for top talent is still fierce, so it may be worth a try.”
About Bill Stoller
William H. "Bill" Stoller is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment International. Founded in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the international staffing franchisor supports the Express Employment Professionals franchise and related brands. The Express franchise brand is an industry-leading, international staffing company with franchise locations in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
About Express Employment Professionals
At Express Employment Professionals, we’re in the business of people. From job seekers to client companies, Express helps people thrive and businesses grow. Our international network of franchises offers localized staffing solutions to the communities they serve across the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, employing 586,000 people globally in 2021 and 10 million since its inception. For more information, visit ExpressPros.com/CA.