Remote Work Is More Productive

Young businessman punching and breaking clock with fistAn unexpected pandemic benefit.

By Chris Frederiksen
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

After distancing (A.D.), senior people want to work at home all the time. Younger staff members want to work in the office all the time. So, what is the new normal?

MORE: 2021: You’ll Never See ‘Normal’ Again | SURVEY: We Adapted to Remote Work … Now What? | SURVEY: 2020’s Disruptions Are Only the Beginning | COVID Brought Us More and Better Client Communication
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The most likely is a hybrid model, where people work at home most of the time but come to the office one to two days a week for meetings and team projects – with appropriate masking and social distancing. In 2020, many firms are more profitable than in 2019 because they cut costs and raised productivity.

They also had the gifts of PPP and EIDL. There is no shortage of work.

Having absorbed the learning curve associated with the major tax changes initiated by the Trump administration, 2019 proved to be a year of increased profitability. Firms continued to be challenged by the lack of suitable staff members; accordingly, the use of outsourcing expanded dramatically.

B.C. versus A.D. 2020 proved to be a whole new ballgame. Before COVID (B.C.), 2020 looked like it was going to be a repeat of 2019. Then the pandemic hit, and everything came to a screeching halt. Different firms reacted in different ways. Some closed shop entirely for about three weeks; some kept their offices open but did not allow clients to visit; most firms, however, because they are cloud-based, had team members work at home. This was a surprisingly seamless and positive experience. Most firms reported increased productivity – anywhere from 5 percent to 15 percent.

Why? I have surveyed dozens of firms for the answer. Reason one: avoiding a daily commute of up to three hours reduced stress and encouraged more exercise, resulting in greater well-being. Reason two: not having to get ready to go to work – as one partner said to me, “It saves me 45 minutes a day not having to put myself together.” Reason three: working at home meant that people worked longer and did not spend time gossiping or politicking.

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