“One of the reasons companies aren’t as comfortable as employees are may be because before the pandemic, you could see work happening,” Wilke says. “Now things need to change to encourage accountability, communication and documentation of processes over time and remotely. A bit of that is habit learning and a bit of digitization. This investment in tools needs to happen so businesses can retain that responsibility and maintain that connection no matter where their employees are.
Women are leading this remote working revolution. According to payroll data, women have chosen remote work disproportionately across industries. For example, the number of women in retail working from home in 2021 exceeded the number of men doing the same, a first in Gusto’s history.
“Women are telling employers that working remotely is an even bigger benefit for them,” says Wilke. “We know that women tend to have higher levels of care responsibilities or family obligations, so they benefit from the flexibility and the ability to be able to balance those things.”
Bottom line: Employees are moving and changing jobs for more flexibility and companies need to embrace this or severely limit their talent pools and growth. These changes also create a need for a new HR playbook that strikes the right balance between collaboration and company culture among distributed employees.
“While the office environment is really good for innovative and collaborative work because it maximizes that serendipitous engagement, working from home is best for focus and productivity,” says Wilke. “What HR managers are going to have to grapple with is figuring out how to maximize time in the office for what it’s best and how to maximize time at home for what it’s best. in order to improve the overall productivity of working time in general.”