It’s been more than two months since the majority of Americans were forced to work from home due to COVID-19, and the majority of us are showing no urgency to get back in the office or workplace.
According to recent Gallup research, up to 63% of employed Americans said they were working from home by April 20.
In mid May, Gallup shifted to a different set of questions about what happens next and how likely American workers will return to the office if they can do their job just as effectively from home.
According to Gallup, 26% of remote workers said they’d like to come back to the workplace. Another 25% said they’d rather work from home because of health concerns, but would return to the workplace once those concerns subside.
However, the other half said they’d like to continue working from home because they prefer it. That includes 22% who say preference is the only reason and 27% who cite both preference and the coronavirus.
Half of workers say they want to continue working at home because they prefer it, whether or not they also have concerns about the coronavirus. While some of these workers may reluctantly head back to their workplace, others may decide to look for new jobs that allow them to maintain the remote work lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to.
Of course, should infections spike as Americans recirculate and should businesses be forced to re-shutter, the issue of returning to work may be moot for another extended period of time. As of now, it looks like most remote workers would be OK with that.
What this means for the enterprise and IT departments everywhere
Gallup’s poll is one of many that is affirming what the new normal will look like. Other organizations have released similar research, like IBM, which said 54% of workers want permanent remote work.
Now, companies like Facebook, Twitter, Coinbase and many others are embracing remote work and offering it for the foreseeable future.
If your staff has been working remotely with just their organization-issued laptop – or their personal devices – it will be time to invest in remote technologies for each remote worker by repurposing what you would have spent on utilities and building infrastructure costs.
That includes things like webcams, microphones, headsets, unified communication and collaboration platforms, digital experience tools, productivity tracking software, cybersecurity solutions and even office furniture.
That also includes policies and procedures to make remote work part of the organization’s culture, like setting up tools as if everyone is working remotely.
Rather than assume everything will snap back to normal once there’s a vaccine and no new cases are being reported, embrace change and innovate to meet your employees where they want to be.