- More than 80% of company leaders surveyed by research and advisory firm Gartner said their organizations plan to permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time upon reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gartner announced July 14.
- The survey of 127 HR, legal and compliance, finance and real estate professionals also found that 47% of respondents said they intend to allow employees to work remotely on a full-time basis, while 43% would grant flex days and 42% would provide flex hours.
- The majority of respondents said they were not worried about maintaining productivity under a "hybrid workforce" model, according to Gartner, but nearly one-third (30%) were most concerned about maintaining corporate culture. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they had implemented more frequent check-ins between employees and managers.
The pandemic has caused companies to not only move much of their workforce to remote status, but also create support systems and architectures that may allow permanent access to remote work and other forms of flexibility in the future.
Employers have buoyed this trend in recent months with announcements of permanent work arrangements. In May, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that more than 95% of the company's workforce was working remotely and that it planned to make adjustments to ensure employees could continue to do so on a long-term basis. Verizon-owned phone service company Visible announced earlier this month a plan for all employees to move to permanent work-from-home status. Twitter launched a free, eight-week virtual program, called Camp Twitter, aimed at supporting working parents by allowing their children to participate in classes and other activities during the summer, Human Resource Executive reported.
Additionally, HR professionals appear to be supportive of remote-work arrangements. More than half of HR respondents to a recent survey by social network Fishbowl said they would elect to continue working remotely permanently. But other research has found that not everyone is onboard with a permanent shift: two-thirds of organizations who responded to a WorldatWork survey published last month said they would resume in-office operations by the end of the summer, if not sooner.
Some employee groups have experienced hurdles to remote work, however. During the initial wave of response to the pandemic in March and April, more than half of knowledge workers surveyed by workforce management software firm Asana said they lacked access to a dedicated desk, personal computer, laptop or reliable internet connection. A March report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute found that smaller percentages of Hispanic or Latino and Black or African American workers were able to work from home compared to their Asian and white counterparts.
"The question now facing many organizations is not how to manage a remote workforce, but how to manage a more complex, hybrid workforce," Elisabeth Joyce, VP of advisory at Gartner's HR practice, said in the firm's statement. "While remote work isn't new, the degree of remote work moving forward will change how people work together to get their job done."
Employers might be able to use the current moment as an opportunity to focus on initiatives that improve workers' sense of belonging, sources previously told HR Dive. Ideas for doing so include "windowed work," which describes a system in which employees are able to reconfigure their workweek so as to make it more flexible. Managers can also improve workflows by setting regular virtual check-ins and using a group approach for setting goals.