SMALL BUSINESS INSIDER: The Persistence of Remote Work

By at 22 November, 2021, 1:54 pm

by Raymond J. Keating –

We all know the story of how the pandemic led to an explosion of mobile, remote, or at-home work. What’s interesting – though not necessarily surprising – is to the degree that remote work has persisted.

Recent polling from Gallup revealed some interesting data and trends.

First, in September, 20% of employees (i.e., full time who work for an employer) worked some of the time from home with another 25% working 100 percent from home. That 45% is down from the 69% just after the pandemic hit, but significantly up from pre-pandemic levels.

Second, white-collar employees came in at 26% working at home some of the time and 41% exclusively from home. That’s a whopping 67% of white-collar employees working mobile or at home some or all of the time. As noted in the following chart from Gallup, while that level has come down from the pandemic high, it hasn’t come down that much.

Employees Value Remote Work Options

A poll earlier this year by Gallup identified various views on remote work, including 91% of those working remote hoping to maintain that arrangement. Also, it was noted, “Three in 10 employees working remotely say they are extremely likely to seek another job if their company eliminates remote work.”

Actually, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being extremely unlikely to leave and 5 extremely likely, those citing 4 and 5 combined for a total of 54 percent among those currently working exclusively from home.

What were the top reasons cited for working remotely?

Gallup pointed out that the most cited reasons were “not having to commute, needing flexibility to balance work and personal obligations, and improved wellbeing (which likely results from having more time).”

Productivity and Employee Preferences

Interestingly, on the reasons for selecting their preferred working arrangement, each group cited being more productive among their top five reasons, with 41% among those preferring to be full time on site citing productivity, 26% among those wanting a hybrid environment, and 35% of those preferring fully remote status.

This speaks to how workers differ in terms of the arrangements that they feel most comfortable and productive working in, which is important obviously for employers, including small businesses, to consider.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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