Study: 20.5% of Full Workdays Will Be From Home

From articles of renowned organizations such as Forbes down to research conducted by reputable educational institutions like Harvard, remote work has been one of the highlights in the future of work and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. 

Having implemented this type of workforce model, findings have been reported on the benefits of executing a remote workplace. Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford professor, presents insights on remote employees yielding higher levels of productivity. 

Furthermore, Bloom collaborates with academics from the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago to discover that employers are planning for workers to render 20.5 percent of full workdays from home after the pandemic ends. 

Organizations around the globe now recognize that this new workplace setup isn’t a temporary solution to the pandemic but is forecasted to be a more sustainable working norm in the future. 

To better understand how workers in the USA are taking remote work policies, McKinsey’s third edition of its American Opportunity Survey sheds light on American workers’ view on flexible work. 

The firm discusses the following highlighted discoveries:

35% of workers can work remotely full time

The survey reports that a shocking 58% of twenty-five thousand American workers have the opportunity to work from home at least once a week while 35% have the option to work from home five days a week. 

McKinsey notes that it isn’t only the numbers that are astonishing. It adds that what’s even more notable is that the respondents are spread out in terms of location, sector of the economy, and the nature of the job – most especially those whose tasks normally demand on-site labor.

In its analysis, McKinsey claims that data demonstrates that after two years of studying remote work and forecasting that flexible work will remain, a major shift in the working landscape and the society is observable.

In addition, 41% aren’t offered this option due to the nature of the industry they belong to. Given the demand for remote work, global mobility and HR personnel are challenged to find creative methods to offer some form of flexibility in their organization.

Flexible working arrangements preferred

The survey discovered that when the results are extrapolated to the wider population, 80 million American workers would rather work most of their weekdays remotely. Consistent with the extrapolation, 87% of workers will take an employer’s offer to work remotely at least some of the time.

Workers offered full-time flexible working arrangements on average spent 3.3 days in a week working remotely – a small increase from part-time workers who are offered remote work. Interestingly, 12% of employees who were offered part-time work-from-home options worked remotely 5 days a week.

This indicates that employers have not recognized the extent of the demands for remote work among their workforce.

Averages through demographics reveal employees’ preference for remote work

There’s a notable consistency among workers of different genders, ethnicities, ages, and educational levels. The majority of these demographics who are given the option to work from home are currently working remotely.

However, the opportunities to work from home aren’t uniform.

People in the United States who belong to the younger, more educated, or possess higher income levels were more likely to have options to work from home. Moreover, male workers were discovered to have more remote work options than female workers. This can cause a problem with rising numbers of working mothers raising concerns about their ability to balance both work and parental duties.

At every income level, younger employees reported more work-from-home opportunities in contrast to their older peers. Perhaps, this disparity is stemmed from the inability of some older employees to navigate through remote workplace set-ups and tools. 

Employers need to understand that different groups perceive remote work differently. What they can do is tap their global mobility and HR teams to gather as much information from their workforce’s views on remote work opportunities.

Most industries support some form of flexibility, but digital firms demand it

Remote work opportunities across different industries and roles vary. This implies that organizations have to anticipate the competitiveness of in-demand talent. For instance, the respondents in the Business and Financial Operations sector reported 61% willingness to work remotely full-time. A stark difference from the Sales industry where only 29% were willing to work remotely full-time.

Understandably, specific roles and industries do warrant the ability of an employer to offer work-from-home opportunities. But, even those industries that require on-site labor have evolved. 50% of respondents from the Educational Instructions and Library and 45% in the Healthcare Practitioners and Technical sector reported they do some form of remote work. 

This can be attributed to the rise of online learning and telemedicine capabilities in the pandemic. 

Job seekers prioritize flexibility in where and when they work

McKinsey reports that workers considered better compensation and better career opportunities as the top 2 factors in searching for a job. The third factor is the ability of employers to offer flexible working arrangements.

A previous McKinsey study supports this finding. The firm discovered that the population who left work in the early stages of the pandemic found another job providing them with more autonomy over where and when they work.

That’s why global mobility professionals and HR personnel need to be aware that flexible working options might be a deciding factor for candidates, or else they lose competitive advantage in a highly competitive job labor market.