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January 25, 2021 Experts Corner

Here’s why remote work is here to stay

Photo | HBJ File Many Connecticut companies and nonprofits have reduced their office footprint to allow employees, like the one shown above, to work from home.

With the continuous advances in technology, it’s easier than ever for businesses to get work done remotely.

Hema Crockett

Since so many organizations have spent time working in a remote environment due to COVID-19, we’ve quickly learned what works for this unique situation and which areas need improvement. Many organizations have already adopted a permanent remote-work model moving into the future.

Here are a few reasons why remote work is here to stay.

Larger talent pool

In the past, working remotely was considered “normal” for entrepreneurs or independent contractors in the gig economy only, but organizations wanted employees, and consultants, to be on-site and working in the office.

This greatly narrowed the talent pool. Now, organizations can expand their horizons and look outside of their immediate area for standout expert talent.

Since employees have been working remotely, organizations have seen a significant increase in productivity and communication, making employers more open to hiring or partnering with people who are located throughout the U.S.

Jamie Jacobs

We’re also adopting more creative ways to utilize remote-work technology, giving businesses access to a much larger, more diverse talent pool.

Leadership tip: Develop a hybrid talent strategy, one in which you leverage consultants from the gig economy as well as your own employees.

Increased flexibility

While remote work may not have been a popular idea for organizations prior to the pandemic, through trial and error it’s safe to say we’ve learned a lot.

Many people found they’re actually working best from the comfort of their home, some feel they have limited distractions that previously arose in the office and others hope to continue their job permanently remote.

In any case, the flexibility that comes with working from home is no secret. We’ve seen this a lot with parents having to be home with children while they are away from the classroom. This isn’t to say remote work is the only solution to create flexibility in a position, however it could mean higher productivity and lower employee turnover.

Recent statistics show that 40% of people feel the greatest benefit of remote work is the flexible schedule and organizations allowing remote work have a 25% lower employee turnover rate than those who don’t.

Leadership tip: Consider how your organization can create a hybrid plan that allows employees to continue working remotely a few days a week.

Cost savings

Whether you’re working for a large corporation or a small startup, operational costs will always exist. Since the transition out of the office we have seen significant cost savings in multiple areas.

First, many organizations were able to downsize or completely eliminate office spaces, removing rent or the cost to purchase office space from their expenses.

There were also cost savings around talent. Organizations were better able to tap into the gig economy and leverage outsourced talent versus hiring full-time employees. This means organizations are hiring independent consultants that are experts in their field for projects and interim needs.

Leadership tip: Think about your organization’s projects and interim needs and ask yourself whether a full-time employee is required, or if a highly skilled consultant is the better option. Leveraging outside talent on an “as-needed” basis may be best in both the short and long term.

While we don’t know what challenges face us in 2021, we do know remote work isn’t a trend. It’s here to stay and will be a key differentiator for organizations that want to build the best teams with the best talent from around the world.

Hema Crockett and Jamie Jacobs are the co-founders of Gig Talent, a human resources and talent-recruitment agency.

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