The Work Anywhere™ Blueprint
Coach Jay Wright on working from home and designing a ‘Work Anywhere’ blueprint for the future
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The novel coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has dramatically accelerated the remote work race; forcing businesses to duct-tape together work-from-home solutions that are typically unintegrated, unsecured, and lack a long-term strategy. As the CEO of the global analytics firm Neilsen said*, “We’re trying things in 24 hours and then just rolling it out.”
Now, with businesses evaluating their post-COVID-19 workforces, new data is emerging that clearly indicates a “Work Anywhere” mindset, both for employers and employees, is here to stay. According to a CNBC/ ChangeSurvey report, one in four respondents (24%) indicated they would like to work from home either “entirely” or “more than before” the outbreak occurred.
For employers, they are likely going to find compelling financial and safety reasons to embrace remote work which will dramatically change office planning, commercial leasing, and ultimately the technologies needed in employees’ new work environments.
“Those changes are already taking place. Businesses could see a 25% reduction in office space as leases expire, and history would indicate he’s not alone. These kinds of decisions are similar to the ones made after the recession of the late 2000s, with an important caveat – there won’t be a focus on employee densification.”
– Robert Walters, head of a global 4,500-person recruitment agency
“Open Office” Isn’t Possible Anymore
After the last recession, to reduce costs, many employers downsized their offices. They also created more open-space concepts allowing for employee densification so they could expand without leasing more space. According to Cushman Wakefield, a global real estate services firm, due to densification, square footage per employee decreased by approximately 8.5% between 2009 and 2017.
Clearly, employee densification within open spaces is not going to be en vogue, or even possible, for an extended period of time. In addition, if workers can be productive at home, and businesses can reduce costs with a smaller office footprint, they will make those changes to appease investors.
Can Workers Be Productive at Home?
Of course, ‘if workers can be productive’ is the key statement. And, based on numerous surveys, it appears that remote workers are in fact more productive, or at least just as productive, as they were in the office.
A study in 2019 by Airtasker of 1,004 full-time employees noted that telecommuters worked about 17 more days per year than their commuting counterparts. Interestingly, the same CNBC survey noted earlier revealed that 28% of employees now working from home use their commuting time to get more work done.