Though the arrival of a novel virus isn’t the best circumstance for a company to be forced into remote work, Caplan does hope there will be an even bigger shift toward this type of professional option, because the “cat is out of the bag.”
“Coronavirus is going to expose more people to working remotely than ever,” he says. “Most people will see that it is very possible and start to grow accustomed to the benefits of [remote work], including autonomy, no commute, and less distractions than open offices. Companies that don’t allow remote work already are going to have to continue supporting it going forward, now that they have proven to themselves that it works.”
After COVID-19 passes and businesses try to return to normal, there is a real possibility that professionals may change their tune on what matters most to them. That’s already the case for many, according to research from the International Workplace Group. Their March 2019 findings showed that 80% of job seekers would choose a job with a flexible work-from-home policy over one that doesn’t offer the same benefit.
The ability to grow a company without a lease is becoming more and more attractive. Also productivity may be more focussed on outputs instead of just presence behind a desk, or clocking time by working late in an office.
See We’re in the midst of a massive work-from-home experiment. What if it works?
While much of the news is scary, I’ve found a silver thread of hope in this pandemic: What if this is our chance to prove remote work, well, works?