The pandemic is almost over, but things aren’t going back to the way they were. A new working paper called Why Working From Home Will Stick was recently published by the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). They found more employers are planning on adopting WFH as a regular part of operations, and it has huge benefits to employees, employers, and the economy. Almost all of these benefits are related to the elimination of commute times. Who knew it was such a drag?
Work From Home Is Here To Stay, With A Lot More Companies Planning To Make It Permanent
Interviewing tens of thousands of Americans, many will continue to WFH post-pandemic. The researchers found 20 percent of full workdays will permanently be WFH. This is up from 5% before the pandemic, so the telework force will increase four-fold in terms of days. The reason this is in days is due to a number of companies adopting hybrid models — where some days are in office. The last point being largely due to companies being locked into long-term leases, but that’s a different discussion for another day.
The researchers found the WFH trend is likely to stick for five reasons:
- Better-than-expected experiences, with many people pessimistic about WFH finding they actually like it;
- New investments into physical and human capital to accomplish work from home. That infrastructure wasn’t cheap, and companies are going to use it;
- The diminished stigma of being an “at home worker,” which was perceived by many to be a low-income job prior;
- Lingering concerns about crowds and contagion risks;
- and a pandemic-driven surge in tech innovation to support remote work. You now have an army of companies with salesforces, developing ways to get your boss to approve sending you to work from home.