There are three factors human resources executives analyze when determining whether to adopt remote work apolicies. As HR professionals assess their employee and/or manpower pool they conduct a job analysis to examine three job factors related to remote work.
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When employees give feedback to human resource officers asking for work remotely alternatives, companies may be hard pressed to remote work an immediate reality. HR official’s hesitation impact:
- a current employee’s ability to transform the job they currently hold into a remote job, and
- a remote work job seeker’s ability to find remote work opportunities.
In analyzing the three critical elements of remote work adoption, employers have three options.
- HR professionals may eagerly embrace remote work
- HR professionals mgiht adopt remote work policies with trepidation,
- HR professional might wait this popular trend out, hoping remote work adoption will just go away.
Remote opportunities are largely based upon whether companies make the commitment to utilize a remote work, work from home full time, or hybrid policies. For a job seeker searching remotely or aggressively looking for remote work, there are positive trends. Remote opportunities are largely based upon whether companies make the commitment to utilize remote work, work from home full time, or hybrid policies.
What to do if your boss believes remote work leads to lower productivity? Read the articles below for helpful advice.
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Remote work is popular
In addition to the worrisome aspect of maintaining employee productivity, companies must astutely must analyze three factors of remote work adoption to obtain a full picture of the nature and scope of the job under consideration. They must complete this analysis of the three job factors while the HR professionals are under intense pressure to adopt remote work policies.
Remote work and/or working remotely is popular and considered a perk by most employees. Many workers dream of transforming their “report to the office” job to one in which they can work remotely, work from home. They may implore their employer to approve their remote work proposals. Workers consider working remotely part time or full time a benefit. The option to telecommute, report to a co-working space, or use a hybrid model is considered a beanie.
Worker Preference for Remote Work
Pew Research revealed that 76% of current workers prefer remote work, working remotely or working from home. Value Penguin estimates the figure to be around 68%. Many firms remain skittish about adopting or implementing remote work policies.
In 2020, there was a 50% increase in the number of employees using video conferencing. Video meeting technologies like Zoom and MS Office Teams are used to collaborate and allow employees to replace in person meetings with meeting by video calls.
So while the percentages of remote work adoption or the reliance upon video conferencing vary, both are on an upward trend. Human Resources experts however report that this trend is not an entirely a new phenomenon.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that “between 2005 and 2015, the number of US employees who telecommuted increased by 115%. Globally, an Owl Labs study found that 16% of multinational companies are fully remote. The study also indicated that employers allowed their workers between the age of 22 years of age to 65 years to work remotely, at least some of the time.
Remote work and employee productivity
The decision by employers to allow their employees to work from home full time is largely predicated on a job analysis. The remote work job analysis conducted by a human resources professionals is done to determine the level at which employee productivity will be maintained. The Owl Labs study analyzed prior employee data. The data suggested that during the pandemic, lockdowns and government closure mandates, about 70% of all full time workers were working from home. Prior to Covid-19, only a handful of companies were willing to risk the potential loss of employee productivity with added gains of job convenience.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic, estimates of the percentage of remote workers varied from 5% (Bloom) to 16% (BLS). Employers calculated that their “workforce could theoretically work remotely one-third of the time without a loss of productivity, or almost half the time with diminished productivity.” After 18 months of government lock down mandates and quarantines, the number of remote workers (or teleworkers) working from home full time have ballooned to 37% (Nature Human Behavior). Just who are these teleworkers? BLS found that remote workers “tend to be older, more educated, work fulltime and are nonunion.”
3 Factors of Remote Work Adoption
Consistent with the BLS data, pertaining to the US market, not all workers will be presented with the option to telework three to five days a week. Getting back to the Owl Labs research, of the workers participating in the survey, 23% of them indicated that they would willingly take a 10% cut in pay to work remote as a permanent option rather than a temporary solution resulting from a public health epidemic.
What factors determine whether a company will adopt remote work, hybrid work, telework, telecommuting or work from home permanently? In analyzing 2,000 tasks of 800 jobs in nine countries, McKinsey & Company identified that two factors that determine the probability that an onsite job will transform to offsite, remote, home-based work full time.
3 Factors of Remote Work Adoption
In assessing the full scope of an employee’s job duties and responsibilities, what are the job factors that are easily transferrable to remote work? These are the questions human resources professionals would pose. Well, there three determinants are whether a job requires:
- interpersonal interaction
- physical presence at a specific worksite, and/or the
- use of laboratory, specific machinery.
Jobs with tasks involving these three elements are the least likely to be carried out remotely. For an idea of the jobs that entail these three are: traditional classroom teachers, landscapers, manual laborers or workers using specialized machinery, childcare providers, HVAC technicians, plumbers, electricians, health care workers who conduct CT scans, home health aides, grocery and restaurant delivery drivers, for example, may be given no options for telework. McKinsey argues that jobs such as the ones indicated above are more threatened by automation and digitization than telework.
What is telework and remote work exactly?
The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that “telecommuting arrangements can vary greatly for different workers.” Teleworking can be organized based upon these characteristics: remote work 100% of the time, partial remote work from home less than 100% of the work week, working from a home office, to co-working from another space.
Remote work favors these job tasks
As with many researchers, McKinsey concluded that personal engagement and interaction with the client, customer, buyer and/or patient as well as physical presence are necessities that impede transformation of jobs. Most low wage jobs may be the ones that are less likely to be transformed into telework and/or remote work. Other key findings of the preeminent consulting firm were the following:
- The potential for remote work is determined by tasks, not job title
- The potential for remote work is higher in advanced nations. M
- A hybrid model combining remote work and office work is possible for jobs with high remote work potential
- Hybrid models have implications for commercial real estate
- Employers must adjust policies and procedures to maintain employee remote worker productivity
Remote work favored industries
The consulting firm identified a number of job tasks, duties and responsibilies that were most suitable for remote work, telework and work from home. They reasoned that “remote work potential is concentrated in a few sectors.” In ranked order, sectors and industries with the greatest likelihood of remote work adoptions are:
- Business services, and
- Information technology
The benefits of remote work, telework, telecommuting and work from home
According to the American Psychological Association, there are many benefits to employers and employees when a company adopts remote work, telework, telecommuting and work from home. From the employee’s perspective, they “gain flexibility, save time and reduce transportation, and some child-care costs.” For the viewpoint of the employer, they can “hire geographically distributed talent and reduce overhead expenses.”
Should you adopt or accept a remote work assignment?
What should you do if you have not yet acquired the technological skills or computer equipment or internet connections? What if you are an extrovert, social gadfly, or one who revels in all-day in-person brainstorming sessions? Maybe you are someone who derives energy from others? Perhaps you are the resident ‘mom’ who dispenses advice to your peers unprompted? Better, yet, maybe your management skills are best suited for in-person rallying of the troops.
Regardless of whether one has the option, or independently decides to work from home 100% of the time, partially, tele-commute, co-work or accept a hybrid alternative, it may prove wise to fully explore the benefits, costs and/or advantages, and disadvantages before making a permanent or long term commitment.
The effects of remote work on collaboration among information workers, Nature Human Behavior
The Future of Remote Work, American Psychological Association, Vol. 50, No. 9. October 2019
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
What’s next for remote work: An analysis of 2,000 tasks, 800 jobs, and nine countries, McKinsey & Company, November 23, 2020
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