Building a Remote Workforce

How Is Remote Work Changing The Workforce?

by Katherine Wolf
How Is Remote Work Changing The Workforce?

Learn how remote work changed the workforce in the wake of the pandemic and how your business can benefit from this new way of working in 2022 and beyond.

In 2020, the job market witnessed a historic shift due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to this shift, remote work is no longer a niche opportunity that only the most modern and "Millennial-friendly" companies offer. Instead, it's a necessary way for people around the globe in nearly all industries and positions to work safely. 

Read on for more insight into what's ignited the shift to remote work and how your business can benefit from this new way of working.

Understanding The Difference Between WFH and Remote Work

WFH, or "work from home," is a fairly small lifestyle change where employees who typically commute to the office temporarily work from home. In contrast, working remotely involves allowing employees to work from anywhere other than your office location; whether this is their home, a coffee shop, or another country.

Working remotely is not working from home. Working from home implies you are doing so temporarily, or for a limited time (i.e. 2 days a week). Remote work is work that can be done permanently from anywhere but most commonly from a home office. Employees can be fully remote or follow a hybrid remote work model (WFH) in which they are required to come to the office at least a few times every month or attend some in-person meetings. Hybrid remote work options can be limiting, restricting you to recruitment within your local area almost as much as in-person positions do. Fully remote positions extend your reach as a potential employer to the global arena. 

How Remote Working is Changing in 2022

Remote work isn’t a new concept by any means. Before the pandemic, it was estimated that 37% of US jobs alone could be done 100% remotely—but only a small percentage of the workforce actually leveraged this type of work environment. Only 7% of employees worked completely remotely prior to COVID-19. 

The remote work shift that happened in the wake of COVID-19 took place on a scale and and at a pace rarely seen in the workforce. Now, the mindset about remote work has shifted, too. Remote work is no longer just for the Millennial nomad looking to freelance while living the #vanlife. Remote working full-time, lifelong positions are here to stay because: 

  • Employees want to choose. Many employees had never worked remotely before COVID-19, but now that they have, they don't want to give it up. As more workers express a desire to continue remote working arrangements, workplaces have had to increase flexibility to match those demands. In fact, it's been estimated that 70% of the entire workforce will be working remotely 5+ days each month by 2025.
  • People are migrating from cities to rural communities. According to a CBRE report, 2020 saw a significant increase in emigration from dense, high-cost urban metros to more rural communities. In fact, 15% more people left urban centers in 2020 than in 2019, with the key driver being the ability to work from anywhere. People are also finding that living in more tight-knit rural areas allows them to feel more connected to their community and spend more time and money locally.
  • The cost of living is rising. Between supply chain disruptions, rising rents, and inflation, the overall cost of living has gone up since the beginning of the pandemic. Remote work allows employees to save money, which can help offset rising costs in other areas. By spending less on gas, food, coffee, and professional attire, for example, individuals can use those resources to invest or enjoy personal hobbies. This not only reduces financial stress but also improves mood and productivity. 

The Impact of Remote Work on the Workforce

The shift to remote work has affected the workforce in a variety of ways. While most changes are positive, there are some hurdles to overcome. Here's a rundown of some of the major impacts. 

Increased productivity and engagement.

One of the major benefits of remote work is that it boosts productivity and engagement. In fact, studies have found that 81% of hybrid employees report being highly engaged, followed by 78% of fully remote employees, and only 72% of on-site employees. However, this increase in productivity and engagement relies on technological preparedness. When remote employees have the materials, equipment, and digital tools necessary to work remotely effectively, they are 2 times more likely to be engaged.

Access to a diversified talent pool.

Remote work means the potential talent pool for organizations is no longer limited by geography. It's now possible to recruit employees from around the globe without having to pay for relocation expenses, enabling a greater amount of diversity when it comes to ideas, age, race, and abilities. The Harvard Business Review found that in some jobs, applicants who live over 5 miles away are given one-third fewer call-backs. Leveraging remote work can take location bias out of your recruitment process, boost diversity within your organization, and give you access to a stronger talent pool.

Higher employee retention. 

Beyond the advantage of attracting new talent, offering a strong remote work policy can also help incentivize your current employees to stay with your company. It's true—74% of employees say a remote work option would increase their willingness to stay with their current company, and results presented in a Gallup study suggest that 54% of employees would leave their current employer for one who offers more flexibility. Giving employees ranges in terms of work location and hours is a relatively low-cost benefit and employee retention strategy to leverage.

Reduced overhead costs.

Organizations save a large amount of money on real estate expenses when they need less office space due to remote and hybrid employees  They can also save on office supplies, utilities, and more. Even before the pandemic, employers were able to save an average of $11,000 for every employee who worked remotely for half the year—double that to a full year and each remote worker can potentially reduce your company costs by around $22,000.

Increased importance on cybersecurity and technology.

When working remotely, employees, devices, and their data now reside outside the walls of an organization's physical environment. This increases vulnerabilities and, in turn, the risk of cyberattacks. To adjust, businesses must prioritize cybersecurity and ensure they are using technology safely and effectively. 

It's Time to Adapt to The Future of Work!

Remote work is the future of the workforce. Is your business ready to adapt? Crossover is here to help. We make recruiting top remote talent easier than ever before so you can focus on making your business more efficient and profitable.