Remote work: from nuisance to strategic advantage

How “the great resignation” is influencing company stances on remote work in the future

The proliferation of high-speed home internet and technology tools such as laptops, phones, and tablets has allowed workers to access their email and files anytime and anywhere they are connected to the internet. This access has contributed to the slow but growing acceptance of remote work over the last 10 years. Indeed, many companies have had various work-from-home policies for years, including fully remote employees (sometimes out of state) or employees who work partially remote. This has been especially true in urban centers with high traffic volumes, where long commutes can affect employee productivity and morale. But the slow growth of remote work adoption accelerated exponentially by the pandemic.

According to Gallup, only 8% of remote-capable employees worked exclusively from home prior to the pandemic, with 32% working remotely partially, and 60% still fully on-site.

 In response to the pandemic, 70% of remote-capable employees worked from home exclusively in May of 2020. In February of 2022, Gallup found that 39% percent of these workers were exclusively remote, 42% working in a hybrid scenario, and only 19% were fully on-site.

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Just trying to survive

Logic Speak was already focused on helping a substantial number of its clients move to the cloud before COVID hit. These clients had an easier time implementing remote work than those with all-local infrastructure and client-server applications that required employees to be in the office to access them. The employees of these companies could not access their information or collaborate remotely. They had no infrastructure in place for remote work. As a result, when the shutdowns began, the goal for these companies was just to get something up and running to allow them to survive—band aid solutions so employees could work in some capacity. For Logic Speak’s non-cloud-enabled clients, these band-aid solutions included remote access through screen-sharing utilities, hastily put together VPNs, and weekly cloud data migration.

Moving toward an uncertain future

Now that companies are now more consistently open, and some workers have moved back into their offices at least part-time, companies are making decisions on whether to require employees to return to the office fully, to provide a hybrid option, or to go fully remote. Companies choosing to incorporate remote work must now go back and fix those hastily put together solutions they implemented two years ago—with an eye toward productivity and security. But planning for an unknown future—both from a pandemic standpoint and a remote work standpoint—is difficult.

Employees have discovered that working from home enabled them to restore work/life balance and spend more time with their families. And companies are realizing that requiring employees to return to the office after two years of a better working experience will be difficult. The ability to utilize some form of remote work is becoming a requirement for job seekers. And according to Bloomberg, 39% of U.S. adults stated that inflexibility around remote work would lead them to consider quitting. Small and medium-sized businesses who want to attract and retain quality workers must take this into account when considering whether to offer a remote option.

The future of work is uncertain. No one knows what the modern office workspace will look like in a few years. What seems certain is that it will not look anything like pre-COVID office spaces. Forbes reports that 87% of business leaders believe that the office plays an important function for team-building and collaboration. Yet less than 20% of these leaders want to return to pre-COVID work environments. Most see 2 to 3 days in the office as the ideal hybrid situation. And offices won’t look different only because of the number of employees utilizing them. Many companies are reimagining office spaces as places for collaboration on in-office days, with days spent at home utilized for individual work.

In this new blog series on remote work, we’ll discuss the challenges of doing remote work right, review important technology considerations for companies who decide to implement remote work, and talk in-depth about security and strategies for success.

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