I am really pleased to be spending some time this week at the Work From Home Alliance 2023 Remote Working Summit in Dallas, Texas. The WFH Alliance is led by Michele Rowan and is one of the leading bodies in the US providing research and advice for companies that are supporting work-from-home (WFH) teams.
As many of us know, the health crisis created a sudden need for businesses to support working from home. The lockdowns and stay-at-home orders were issued almost without warning and created a situation where almost all office-based workers needed to stay home – avoiding public transport and offices.
People enjoyed the flexibility that WFH offered. It wasn’t just about removing the need to commute twice a day. Working from home created a new sense of flexibility. It was easier for people to start or finish early or just be more flexible with their hours – such as taking longer breaks in the middle of the day. None of this would be possible in an office. Many workers enjoyed this new and unexpected freedom.
Even the investment banks on Wall Street, which vowed to get their employees back in the office when the crisis was over, have not achieved it. Bloomberg recently reported that two-thirds of banks are now offering employees flexible hybrid work options. The CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, earlier said: “remote work doesn’t work.” Now his company is accommodating the flexibility that their employees want.
Michele Rowan’s benchmarking study, which she presented at this conference, stated that 63% of organizations are fully home-based and 78% agree that they hire direct to home vs. transitioning home post-training.
In fact, finance and banking are second only to information technology in embracing hybrid and remote work permanently. Professional and business services come third, which includes processes like customer service advisers working from home. The number of job postings offering WFH is now stabilizing but has settled at more or less 5x the level before the pandemic.
In my most recent book “Don’t Fear The Gig Worker: GigCX And The Employment Reboot” I explore some of the changes to the post-pandemic employment market. The important thing to note is that WFH is not the only change. The move to WFH has become a catalyst for other changes.
My Forbes article here explains in more detail, but I believe that people are not just leaving traditional jobs to move into other conventional full-time jobs – they are giving up on traditional jobs and seeking a new path.
We are not seeing a wave of office-based workers moving to their home office and working a solid 8-hour shift every day from Monday to Friday. Far more flexibility is possible without the need to commute to an office. For people who need to work at specific times, or for a specific number of hours, the big change is the ability to choose their own hours.
The GigCX Marketplace is a great example. Customer service advisers working from home can select the brands they are interested in working for and can select their own hours, down to 30-minute incriments. If they want to skip Friday then they just don’t sign up to any hours on Friday. They choose.
Contrast this to a typical contact center environment. The commute to an office. The continuous 8-hour shift. The commute home. The lack of choice about which account you will work on because the contact center assigns advisers based on which client is busiest.
A professional that is judged on what they deliver, rather than hours spent working, will now find that they can finish early or take a day off without any need to ask permission – so long as their expected work is being delivered.
WFH has unleashed a new era of flexible work where individuals have more control of their working days and working hours and can usually get paid when they like – rather than waiting for a monthly salary check.
I’m looking forward to discussing all this at the Remote Working Summit in Dallas because I think we are witnessing a revolution in how people want to work and WFH is at the core of this change.
For more information on the WFH Alliance 2023 Remote Working Summit please click here.
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