Whether because of health reasons, a desire to have a work-life balance, or a preference to avoid daily commuting, workers across the country are taking a stand in favor of the home office.
Among those surveyed, 58 percent said they prefer a fully remote job post-pandemic, according to a FlexJobs survey that was carried out in July and August. An additional 39 percent expressed an interest in a hybrid arrangement, while a mere 3 percent said they are inclined to return to a fully in-person work environment.
As such, it’s no surprise that some retailers, manufacturers, and restaurants that require employees be present during their shifts are struggling to find workers. Nearly seven in 10 companies have reported a shortage in talent and a hard time in finding new hires, according to ManpowerGroup’s latest Talent Shortage survey. Companies with the least amount of flexibility and most in-person positions top the list of those facing hiring difficulties.
The flip side of the equation also is true: Companies that operate virtually and allow their employees to work remotely on a part-time or full-time basis are, in a word, thriving. A little more than a year ago, Cimpress/Vista, which specializes in customer-focused, entrepreneurial mass customization, adopted a remote-first model.
“Since committing to permanent remote working, we have made remote work a towering pillar of our culture at Cimpress and Vista,” Paul McKinlay, head of remote at Cimpress/Vista, told The Epoch Times. “While many companies are still indecisive about choosing a permanent remote-first work model, our inbound applications have increased by 300 percent.”
The firm New Frontiers Executive Function Coaching, founded by Daniel Koffler, an entrepreneur based in New York City, has had a similar experience. The company provides individual and group executive functioning and academic coaching, transition support across the lifespan, and professional development to teachers, professors, support staff, and employers.
“We work with folks in-person and virtually, but administer the business completely remotely these days,” Koffler told The Epoch Times. The shift from an office to virtual setting has made it easier to find workers for particular roles.
One of the advantages for companies that shift to remote roles lies in the expansion of the talent pool. Rather than relying on local geographical limits, firms can cast a wide net, spanning counties and beyond.
“We now have team members in 30 U.S. states, which is over three times as many when compared to before we went remote-first,” McKinlay said.
Simultaneously, workers are drawn to work—and stay—with companies that offer virtual options.
“From an internal survey, 79 percent of our remote team members stated they are more likely to want to stay at Cimpress/Vista as a result of our remote-first ways of working,” McKinlay said.
Employees cite better balance as a key benefit, with 71 percent of team members at Cimpress/Vista saying their work/life harmony has been improved by remote working, leading to better well-being.
“They have also been very open about the impact it has had on their family, being able to replace commuting times with meaningful moments such as lending a helping hand at their children’s school,” McKinlay said.
Remote working calls for a unique set of systems to maintain open communication, accountability, and ultimately, results.
“Our handbook spans a huge number of remote-first topics from communication principles and HR programs, through to social interaction and building connections with team members worldwide,” McKinlay said.
Having an arrangement that ensures accountability is essential to making a remote environment a win for both employees and the firm.
“As an organization, accountability is one of our core values,” Koffler said. “We specifically refer to that during our hiring process, and consistently revisit it during our ongoing supervision and check-ins.”
These occur daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually, depending on the circumstances.
“We run our business through the EOS (Entrepreneur’s Operating System) approach, which stresses that everyone knows their role, has a specific set of goals that ties to the organization’s goals—so if people are left to their own devices to manage their time, they know what they need to do in order to move the ball forward,” Koffler said.
Finally, keeping everything as open as possible helps maintain trust and confidence.
“We try to make it as easy as possible for people to work from home,’ Dror Zaifman, a director of digital marketing for iCASH, an online lender based in Canada that is partially virtual.
“We have a culture of transparency, so there is little need for face-to-face interactions,” Zaifman said, adding that the company shares its monthly financials and quarterly performance reports with employees.
The growing company hasn’t had trouble finding workers, and employees are kept up to speed on the latest company decisions and actions.