Model: @Austindistel @breeandstephen

Prior to the epidemic, companies relied heavily on an in-person staff that showed up to work, attended in-person meetings, and traveled as needed. Prior to 2020, only a tiny proportion of workers worked remotely, despite the fact that remote work had been gradually growing over time.

According to Global Workplace Analytics, 80 percent of workers desired to work from home at least part of the time before COVID-19, and more than a third would have accepted a salary reduction to do so. Employees clearly want it, but bosses were generally unwilling to allow it.

Although several companies considered and tested such work arrangements, remote employment is still a relatively new concept.

Then there was the pandemic, and there was no way out. Companies of all sizes had to rush to make remote work a reality, and what has happened since then?

The advantages and potential of a remote workforce have been recognized by both employers and workers.

New business models

The post-pandemic business model differs significantly from the pre-pandemic company model. According to Upwork’s “Future of Workforce Pulse Report,” by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, up 87 percent from pre-pandemic levels.

There will be three kinds of jobs as remote work becomes more widely accepted:

  • Retailers, factories, and other companies that need employees to be physically present to perform the job fall under this category.
  • Senior executives, as well as those in human resources and other areas that need at least some in-person presence, fall into this category.
  • Accounting teams, sales teams, and marketing teams are examples of remote-only jobs; many of these roles include tasks that may be performed from home or through virtual meetings rather than in the office.

A remote workforce has many benefits for all parties involved, but it is especially beneficial to businesses in two ways:

Increased talent recruiting

For starters, businesses may recruit much more readily outside of their geographical areas, and their applicant pools can be substantially expanded. Employees may live and work in more cheap or attractive parts of the nation, and businesses aren’t limited to hiring talent in their immediate vicinity.

Employees are also getting more used to flexible work settings, which is accelerated even more by working from home during COVID-19. As a result, many people are actively looking for companies that are welcoming to remote workers.

Offering these options may help businesses recruit top talent while also satisfying current workers.

Expenses are lower

Remote employment, of course, benefits businesses’ bottom lines. They may modify their pay to match the cost of living in markets outside of their native area.

If a business is headquartered in San Francisco or New York, but employs remote workers in less costly cities or towns, the corporation may be able to negotiate wages that are similar to the employees’ market and quality of living while still being competitive in the industry.

Organizations that employ a work-from-home staff will save money on office space and expenses compared to those who do not. Even those who use a mixed work style may save money on space, air conditioning, and other costs that rise as the number of employees in an office grows.

Companies that are leading the way

Salesforce is an excellent example of a business that has proclaimed the “9 to 5 workday is dead” and is allowing workers to pick how they work depending on their job function and whether or not they must be in the office. This action demonstrates the company’s ability to be flexible while also establishing a precedent for other companies to follow.

Other businesses are opting to change their previous job requirements and adopt remote work as their primary business strategy. Dropbox, for example, will now allow all employees to work from home on a permanent basis, with the option to visit the other locations only as needed.

Here are a few more notable businesses that have made the same decision to keep the bulk of their staff remote forever (see the full list here).

Other businesses, such as HubSpot, give their workers a say in the issue. The inbound marketing leader chose to offer its employees three options: working from home full-time, working one to two days per week in the office, or working three or more days per week in the office.

Regardless of how you look at it, one thing is clear: A partly remote workforce is here to stay and should be seen as a good corporate development. Remote work benefits both companies and workers by allowing access to top talent regardless of location and appealing to today’s workforce’s demand for flexibility.

It may also help businesses save money on wages and expenses, resulting in increased profitability. While companies will undoubtedly utilize all three operating models mentioned here to some degree in the future, there’s little question that a mainly remote workforce will ultimately outperform them all.

Thanks to Amit Patel at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.