In 2020, the world experienced an unprecedented event. The COVID-19 has fundamentally altered the daily lives of the masses with the “stay at home” orders, leading to dramatic shifts in how people work, communicate and more.
From a business and professional perspective, it thrust remote work into the spotlight. Companies have had to embrace the remote work approach out of sheer necessity, creating pathways for business continuity when workplaces couldn’t open and employees could not work onsite at the office due to COVID-19 exposure risks.
While the pandemic did spur a much faster trend toward fully remote work, the movement toward the telecommuting has been underway particularly over the last decade.
If you’re curious about how the transition unfolded, here’s what you need to know about the rise of remote working.
Remote Work Pre-Pandemic
While much of the recent growth in the telecommuting landscape is directly attributed to COVID-19, the resulting shelter-in-place orders, and ongoing health and safety concerns, the rise of remote work actually began well before that time. Expanding cloud technology and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions paved the way through the 2010s, particularly in the technology sector.
In 2010, just 9.5 percent of the workforce telecommuted at least one day a week. By early 2020, 36 percent of professionals could make the same claim. That’s nearly a 400% growth over a 10-year period!
Interest in remote work among professionals has also been growing dramatically. During an era where work-life balance is increasingly becoming a major priority, telecommuting options have been seen as an avenue to achieve greater harmony. Studies show that 37 percent of professionals were open to changing jobs if the new position supported remote work, at least on a part-time basis. Many of our clients have shifted toward at least part-time remote, leading to lower attrition rate levels among IT teams.
In many ways, the remote work trend has been becoming a priority over the last several years. However, once the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic arrived, the remote transition for employees went into full overdrive.
COVID-19 and the Dramatic Rise of Remote Working
As COVID-19 became a significant concern in March 2020, many state governments took dramatic steps to slow the spread of the virus. One of the most significant moves was the launching of shelter-in-place orders that included mandatory closures for certain types of business locations.
When the orders were announced, companies had two options. First, they could simply shutter their operations. Second, they could transition into a remote work paradigm. Typically, those that could choose the latter option.
Quickly, many companies that were resistant to remote work pre-pandemic saw their doubts about the arrangement diminish. Questions about work quality, productivity, and collaboration were answered, showing that many professionals could effectively handle their responsibilities even when not in an office. Particularly by leveraging tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts and other webcam meeting technologies, employees have been able to come together in face-to-face meetings virtually, so as to continue the working comradery while working from home.
As remote work proved its plausibility, some companies took major steps, announcing that their employees would have the option of working from home indefinitely. For example, Microsoft, REI, Twitter, Zillow, and Square were all relatively early adopters of this shift in perspective, and many others continue to follow suit.
Fifty-four percent of all working Americans have expressed a desire to continue with remote work, as well. Productivity boosts, cost-savings, and better work-life balance were all cited as reasons for wanting the ability to work from home long-term.
Continuing Transition to Remote Work
While the release of COVID-19 vaccines does mean that safety and health concerns that initially spurred the dramatic increase in remote work won’t remain forever, both companies and professionals have now experienced the benefits of telecommuting. As a result, many businesses will continue to support these arrangements, and a significant portion of the workforce will prefer those employment opportunities. Overall, approximately 74 percent of business leaders anticipate keeping remote work arrangements in place post-pandemic.
Ultimately, remote work will continue to see rapid growth and more normalcy.
To expand your remote workforce with top IT talent, contact On Cue Hire today.