Since May 2020, about a quarter of workers have setup offices (or a laptop tray) in their home. While remote work was a growing trend pre-pandemic, and the companies who could deploy work from home setups did in order to keep employees safe, is this current environment really our new normal?
Research in the staffing industry over the summer digs deeper and goes beyond the high-level data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Within staffing firms, 70 percent of workers are remote – and more than a third say the majority of talent being placed is setting up their new desk at home. Prior to the pandemic, only 13 percent of companies allowed work from home at least half the time, but since mid-March, 47 percent of firms are allowing mostly work from home. And staffing companies that previously allowed all work from home (just 2 percent) jumped to 9 percent.
Not only does the staffing industry provide us a glimpse into real remote work scenarios, these professional recruiters offer insight into how talent is currently being placed. Here are lessons and takeaways from companies that use staffing firms – and staffing professionals themselves.
What do hiring managers think about remote work so far?
Overall, employee satisfaction and happiness are on the rise. The top three upsides of remote work are that employees are more relaxed, these workers have a higher favorable opinion of their employer and a lack of commute means more productivity. A close fourth is that employees are less likely to be in unnecessary meetings (again, more time for productive work).
But here are the top three perceived downsides: employees find it harder to focus sometimes, people can feel lonely or depressed and team cohesion will suffer.
It’s worth noting that there were higher percentages of upsides than downsides, and hiring managers more consistently agreed on the positives. Downsides were broken across more categories, with lower percentages in each, potentially indicating these reasons might vary office-by-office and with company culture. The positives – such as employees feeling supported and given flexibility – were more universal.
How do hiring managers and staffing professionals see the future of remote work?
As more and more clients support virtual interviewing, remote work and remote hiring, staffing firms are making changes to the hiring process to accommodate remote worker placements.
- More than 80 percent of hiring managers within companies say they will allow virtual interviewing, invest in technology to ease remote work and allow employees to work remotely more often, and three-quarters say they’ll establish a process to hire remotely and increase the use of temporary or remote workers.
- To meet changing needs and adapt to what hiring managers want, more than 90 percent of staffing firms will allow virtual interviewing and plan to develop processes for onboarding and offboarding talent.
- About 80 percent of staffing firms plan to establish process to help clients hire remotely, as well as allowing their own employees to work from home more often.
And there are two stats to note when looking at the predicted remote work landscape for June 2021, a full year after the survey: a 22% increase in “most” and “some” employees working remotely (but generally still less than half the work week), and the firms that allowed either all or no work from home are set to return to those same pre-pandemic levels. This data signals that the anecdotal desire for a mix of in-office and remote is a likely option once workers start returning to physical office spaces.