The Future of Working from Home
The COVID-19 pandemic created a historic shift in the job market in 2020. It led millions of Americans to transition to remote work for the first time. While some companies prior to 2020 offered the ability to work from home as a perk. We slowly are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, companies are starting to create their idea of the future of work.
We sat down with our President, Michael Larkins as he weighs in on his experience and perspective of working from home and the future it holds.
Prior to COVID-19 Pandemic, Did your employees work from home? If yes, tell me about that experience.
We developed a “Work From Home” policy several years ago in response to long commute times folks were experiencing coming into the office and as a reward for top performers. Simply put, once a new colleague reached the 90 day probationary period, they were given a work from home day and had to remain in good standing to continue receiving this perquisite. It did require our management team to learn new skills in managing remote resources in a performance based environment. It became an excellent way for us to identify those folks who not only could work from home effectively, but also excelled in the environment. Unfortunately it also revealed that not everyone can be as effective working from home as they did in the office. I also struggled with work from home as it had always been my philosophy that I did not want to take work home-home was time for my family and to be focused on that part of my life. Even to this day I prefer being in the office and not take work home; but will have to admit I have seen the benefit personally of working form home 1 day week.
Does your employees work style or productivity differ when working from home? in office? and hybrid?
That answer is very role dependent based on my experience. I observed that many of our recruiters would schedule calls with candidates before or after work hours based on the candidates availability and preference. Similar with sales, attending evening and weekend events became more of the standard routine as opposed to participating in such events during work hours only.
Are you allowing your employees to work from home now? What does your work from home policy look like post COVID-19?
Currently our office is open and we have many individuals who come into the office several days a week. For new employees it is important for us to maintain the “team” culture we established over 10 yrs ago when we started Suna. We coordinate events or activities where teams (recruiting, sales, HR Ops) will be in the office together for trainings and collaboration. We target at least one day a month where we host a team event and encourage everyone locally to attend and stay connected or get reconnected with their colleagues. We recently launched 3 days in the office and 2 remote days….and then the new Delta variant hit and we have temporarily put that on hold. On any given day, we have about 40% of our local staff come into the office for full days or partial days.
Are you noticing more employers listing work from home or partial work from home as an incentive to attract talent? Do you find more success in jobs that offer WFH?
For many roles we are seeing talent require/request perm remote status or not interested in the role. Because we support a variety of clients in various industries, many roles require folks be present-wfh is not an option. This can create the illusion of internal “inequity”. Fortunately with the advent of technologies, collaborating in a remote environment is becoming much more efficient and accepted.
What do you see the future of work going? Full in office, Flex schedules, more remote work?
Definitely moving towards a vision of creating a social work hub where we can promote and encourage an exchange of ideas, teaching/learning and ensuring that our culture is curated by us and not external factors!