By Gonzalo Lavín Alfaro - Business Development
Evaluating the "new normal"
Factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, technological advancements, and evolving work dynamics have ushered in a new era of flexibility, leading to a rapid surge in remote work. This paradigm shift has not only redefined our work practices but has also presented several advantages for both employees and employers. However, it is crucial to retain a reserved approach to evaluating remote work while identifying the trends that have emerged since its widespread adoption and implications for human resources managers worldwide.
What was once considered unimaginable a few years ago is now commonly referred to as the "new normal", especially in sectors where office work predominates. And by now, we are all familiar with the benefits commonly associated with remote work, including:
1. Enhanced employee well-being: Reduced commute times translate into decreased stress levels, improved mental well-being, and lower transportation costs.
2. Optimal utilization of office space: Remote work diminishes the need for extensive office space, leading to cost savings for organizations.
3. Promoting sustainability: With no commuting involved, there is a reduction in vehicle usage and subsequent pollution.
Challenges and debates around remote work
Despite the well-publicized advantages, remote work also poses certain challenges. Potential drawbacks include isolation and reduced social interaction, which can impact mental health. Moreover, while arguments extolling the productivity gains of remote work abound, there are also serious voices that claim the exact opposite. While these are often dismissed as reactionary management positions, they deserve equal consideration.
The rise of remote work has also given rise to other challenges, particularly in relation to location flexibility. Some individuals now work remotely from different cities, regions, or even countries. In such cases, questions arise regarding fair compensation for those residing in lower-cost areas, as well as concerns related to insurance and taxation.
An evolving landscape: keeping abreast of developments is crucial
Over time, work-from-home policies have undergone further evolution. During and directly after the pandemic, the proportion of companies offering full-time remote work exceeded 90% in applicable sectors. However, more recently, some companies have begun reverting to traditional in-office work to address the aforementioned issues. According to Vencon Research surveys, it is common to see consulting companies offering employees 1 to 3 days of remote work, representing the majority of responses. While some firms in certain industries like IT and technology continue to offer 100% remote work, the overall trend has shifted towards a hybrid work model.
As firms worldwide continue to consider the efficiency and balance offered by different work models, remote work will remain an evolving and important aspect of human resources management. To further discuss our findings on trends in your industry or to seek our assistance in benchmarking your remote work policies, please don't hesitate to get in touch.