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Working from Home Trends

In March, just as the pandemic was ramping up in Ontario Canada (and the whole world), and much of our workforce were being forced to work from home, I wrote an article titled, Will our Workforce be changed by Corona Virus forever. At the time many speculated that we would be back to work by the fall, not knowing how Corona Virus might evolve. This crisis was, and still is, a unique situation for society to deal with, and we have all had to adapt many aspects of our lives as new information is gathered. Jump forward 8 months, to present, and we are now entering “phase 2” with increased COVID cases again. Now we are all left to wonder if it might be months to years before a vaccine is approved and administered to the masses, and we can only speculate about how effective and timely this effort might play out. So many questions remain. In March 2020, Microsoft had already suggested that there would be long term effects to the workforce, regarding work from home trends. Microsoft predicts the novel coronavirus pandemic will be a turning point that will change how we work and learn, forever. I believe this statement more now than I did in March and statistics suggest that many others are thinking the same which I’ll get into more later. So, assuming this is the case, what does this mean for our workforce and for employers moving forward? Building space and technology needs aside, as an employer, I think more about changes with recruitment and onboarding, employee satisfaction and retention, work from home policies and procedures, and social aspects of people/employees around team building and collaboration. In our company, we are now considering hiring developers that can work form anywhere in the world. With our development teams working successfully for the past 8 months in a remote environment, we now have the experience to confidently hire candidates outside of our geographic area. As finding local talent can be a challenge, this has created new opportunities for us to tap into a global talent pool. With our Ontario based MSP team, we have managed to provide a high level of service with our Network Analysts working remotely 80-90% of the time. We all used to work at the office, and techs would go onsite as needed. With a few operational adjustments, we have adjusted to a new working environment. Hiring someone into a position that allows some aspect of working from home is going to be a “perk” that many expect. Employers will need to consider this for retention and recruitment purposes moving forward, in my opinion. If you need help with setting up your workforce to work remotely, we can advise you on remote connectivity and the security layers to consider. Here are a few interesting insights from Global Workplace Analytics. The demand for flexibility in where and how people work has been building for decades. Before the crisis, surveys repeated showed 80% of employees want to work from home at least some of the time. Over a third would take a pay cut in exchange for the option. While the experience of working at home during the crisis may not have been ideal as whole families sheltered in place, it will give people a taste of what could be. The genie is out of the bottle and it’s not likely to go back in. We believe, based on historical trends, that those who were working remotely before the pandemic, will increase their frequency after they are allowed to return to their offices. For those who were new to remote work until the pandemic, we believe there will be a significant upswing in their adoption. Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.


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