The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much about our home life, as well as how we work. One important change is that these previously separate aspects of daily life — personal life and work life — are now merged for millions of Americans.
It’s not a completely new concept, however. Thanks to technology and employers’ willingness to set up remote working programs for employees, the trend toward more telecommuting has been growing for decades.
The rapid growth of telecommuting speeds up even more
The latest work-at-home statistics from Global Workplace Analytics show that, since 2005, regular work-at-home practices have grown by 173% among the non-self-employed population, 11% faster than the rest of the workforce. Meanwhile, telecommuting in the U.S. has seen a 115% increase in the past decade. Both of these statistics strongly indicate that telework is rising in popularity every year and is likely to continue growing.
That trajectory sped up quite a bit since the COVID-19 pandemic forced both businesses and employees alike to devise new ways to keep doing business without opening their physical plants or offices. A recent MIT survey polled 25,000 American workers during the week of April 1. This survey revealed that 34.1% of them were working solely from home; while just four weeks earlier, they had been commuting to the office.
The data also suggests that many of those workers will continue to work at home even when their offices reopen. Adding that data to the roughly 15% who said they’d been working from home pre-COVID-19, and we have almost half of the U.S. workforce working remotely at least some of the time.
While a survey in April 2020 showed Rhode Island as ranking 45th in the nation for the best remote working environment, that seems to be changing in many sectors, including the state government.
The benefits of remote working
The pandemic has certainly resulted in a huge increase in the number of Americans working from home and it is likely that work is forever changed. Still, many businesses were already rethinking and changing where their employees work, including Beacon Mutual Insurance, which recently updated their telecommuting policy to offer more flexibility to their employees.
Thousands of other companies, including many in Rhode Island, are simply deciding not to go back to the office as it once was and are transitioning their employees to permanently working from home for a number of reasons.
Many studies show that working from home can boost employee morale, improve work-life harmony and foster better mental health. Employees can benefit from being able to get more rest due to cutting out that commute, saving money and being more productive overall. They also have more time for themselves and for their families. Employers see positive changes, too, including better attendance and money saved on overhead costs. However, employers face challenges to maintain company culture and employee relationships.
Challenges with remote work for employer
Remote workers have unique needs, which include collaborative technology and communication, as well as safety considerations for ergonomics and healthy working environments at home. In addition, no matter what tomorrow’s workplace looks like, your business needs to have workers’ compensation insurance.
Beacon Mutual understands the needs of remote workers as 90% of their own workforce is currently working from home. The company is here to protect Rhode Island businesses and their employees — no matter whether they are working from the office or working from home with workers’ compensation insurance and services.
Their safety team offers resources and training to help Rhode Island businesses work remotely during COVID-19 and into the future. That’s thanks to a team of certified ergonomic specialists who will work with local businesses and their employees to provide a wide range of ergonomic services, wherever employees are working.
- Beacon's Technology for Remote Work and the 4 Tips for Telecommuting
- The Providence Journal also covered this blog story: What more remote working means for the future