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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Working from home moving out of the pandemic


Our recent survey of Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce (NACC) Members showed that a total of 70% of member businesses reported shifting their workforce to remote at some point during the pandemic. Of those, 54% plan to continue remote operations post-pandemic and 10% of respondents are still reviewing this issue.

Below are some compelling national data points that suggest that remote work environments will continue at a much higher level than pre-pandemic levels.

  • 25% – 30% of the workforce will be working from home by 2022 (1)
  • 79% of remote employees say remote work increases their productivity and/ or focus (2)
  • A 50% increase in remote work could lead to over $11,000 in savings annually per employee (3)
  • 2 out of 3 workers surveyed say they would take a pay cut to work remotely full time.
  • More than 50% of respondents state they would give up Amazon, Netflix, or social media for a year to be able to work remotely.
  • And, 23% would give up 50% of their PTO in order to work remote (4)

This data and other research points to the need for employers to incorporate remote work to some degree, when possible — not only to attract the best candidates but also to retain current employees. Major companies continue to announce their permanent work from home modes of operating, shrinking their office space footprints, and in some cases – converting executive suites to meeting rooms and collaborative spaces.

Case in point, the NACC significantly shrank our footprint recently with all staff working remote unless meeting with Members or for NACC meetings and programming. Our remaining space continues to provide two conference room spaces for Member meetings and collaborations, as well as a small workstation for staff to work in preparation for in-person meetings. This has resulted in a savings of thousands of dollars per month that can be directed to other areas which more directly support our Chamber Members.

However, the remote working model is beginning to pose some challenges for employers and can have some negative economic impact. For example, the shift to work from home will directly reduce spending in major city centers by at least 5%-10% relative to pre-pandemic. Many top business leaders are expressing concerns that the lack of in-person collaboration will stifle innovation among their workforce. Furthermore, on-boarding new recruits and integrating them into a company culture proves to be a major obstacle in the ‘work from home’ model (WFH). (5)

In summary, the WFH model is here to stay. However, moving forward a hybrid model may be more prudent. This would allow team-building and face-to-face interactions that come with office culture, which is shown to be the fertile ground for innovative ideas. But, workers can still retain flexibility and work-life balance that is now coveted by a large majority of our workforce.

We will keep a watchful eye on the policy landscape to ensure both our employers and their workforce thrive moving forward in this new era of remote work environments.

Please reach out if you have questions or comments on this issue and other policies impacting the business community.

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Reba Morgan Osborne
Reba Morgan Osbornehttp://naperville.net
Reba Morgan Osborne is the Director of Government Affairs for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact Reba at (630) 544-3387 or rosborne@naperville.net.

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