With the novel coronavirus shutting down offices, many companies are expecting their employees to work from home. But behind every employee who works from home – or anywhere, really – is a skilled and dynamic IT team that must constantly change how they serve employees. And if they implement remote work incorrectly, it could turn off employers from using it in the future.
Long before the current public health crisis, employers were becoming more comfortable with remote work. According to data from the American Time Use Survey, 36 million salaried employees in the U.S. did at least some of their work from home as of 2017-2018. That was up from 19% in 2003. In fact, for over 5 million Americans, working remotely was a required part of the job.
Not every office is turning away from traditional models, but the technological tools in place today mean remote work is no longer out of the question. In fact, it can be imperative. In its 2020 HR Trends Report, HR consulting firm QTI Group found that many respondents were advertising workplace flexibility to attract a dwindling labor market.
The numbers don't fully address the shift toward remote work that's underway. 2020 has Slack and Google Drive; 2003 just barely had email and instant messenger. Some company cultures have adapted to the new tools and gone all-in on virtual work, while others stick to mostly 8 to 5 formats.