Will working from home remain a norm for companies after the pandemic? According to CPA Practice Advisor, the answer is yes. They reported that business owners responding to a recent survey conducted by AICPA said that they would allow telecommuting for employees for the foreseeable future.
The survey specifically asked about operations for the next twelve months. While 15% of respondents said that work from home was not an option for them due to the nature of their business, many businesses owners reported an increase in telecommuting due to the pandemic. Half of all those polled said that they planned to return to normal onsite operations when social distancing restrictions are lifted. However, 22% said that they would be prioritizing remote work, with 9% planning to go entirely virtual.
As a whole, most companies included in the survey expected to keep their physical offices. 77% said they would not be changing their brick-and-mortar places of business at all. 18% expected to utilize less space. Only 5% plan to reduce their physical real estate utilization by 50% or more. An additional 5% said they were actually going to expand their physical locations in the next year.
The pandemic forced many companies to take up new work-from-home policies and while this may not have been the natural choice for some entrepreneurs, many were surprised to find how well telecommuting worked in their businesses. Studies have shown increased productivity from a flexible schedule and time blocking, and many employees report greater satisfaction with their jobs and work/life balance due to this cultural shift.
In addition, allowing telecommuting can ease the concerns of business owners worried about customer and staff safety (33% of respondents) and government restrictions for quarantine and social distancing. Those polled, expressed their intent to make their physical workplaces safer if they were planning to return. According to CPA Practice Advisor, 74% plan to require masks in the workplace, 71% will make their offices socially distanced, and 64% will provide personal protection equipment to staff.
Though the survey exposed a dim outlook on current economic positions, with only 24% of respondents saying their view of the US economy in the coming year was positive. However, there is still some good to be found. 43% of business owners polled said they planned to expand their businesses in the coming year. This is up 24% from last quarter. In addition, 85% of companies reported their finances were either “acceptable” or “strong.” As companies begin to recover from the economic shutdown, continuing to allow employees to work from home may increase productivity and potentially lower costs as they begin to recover financially.
Since it looks as if work from home is here to stay, it is a good idea to learn how to prioritize company culture with remote employees and how to ensure data security from home. A solid work from home policy is a great way to futureproof your business and attract and maintain top talent in your field, while also ensuring the safety of your team and clients.