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Remote Workers Before and After COVID-19  

By Lara Gibbons May 7, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Location Services

Challenges, Benefits, Statistics and Predictions for Remote Workers

According to Motus’ recently released report, Remote Work: A New Advantage, more than 90 million people in the U.S. have a job that could be performed at least partially from a remote location. Here are a few more interesting statistics:

  • In 2019, 54% of all U.S. workers worked remotely at least 1 day a month
  • As of April 2020, there were approximately, 330 million people living in the U.S.
  • As of mid-March, an estimated 16 million workers in the U.S. started working remotely due to COVID-19
  • It is estimated that 30-40% of workers will continue to work remotely full-time after the pandemic ends

How can organizations benefit if they choose to keep some or all their employees working remotely? Chief Technology Officer of Motus Rick Blaisdell answers:

“Companies largest spend comes from maintaining office space, including rent and utilities. It’s the second highest spend after paying employees. Why not choose the option to save money and utilize the cash flow to grow your organization? Remote work is not new. Technology makes it easy with virtual meetings, messaging and emails. We understand the challenges organizations face reimbursing their employees. With our Remote Work Reimbursement product, we not only take the guesswork out, but provide cost savings at the same time.”

The benefits of having remote workers doesn’t end there. When a company isn’t geographically limited, they have access to a larger talent pool. Let’s say your company has their office in Chicago. Wouldn’t you like the option to hire someone that best “fits” your specific job requirements? And not be limited to the talent pool in your preferred location?

Why are some companies skeptical of having remote workers?

Face to Face

Some organizations feel having employees in the office promotes collaboration, teamwork and increases productivity. With today’s advances in technology, this no longer rings true. Instant messaging and virtual calls fill these gaps. And just because workers are in the office does not mean they are working. Time is spent socializing and catching up with co-workers. It’s not about the time employees spend working but the result your employees produce.

Company Culture

Some companies feel that in order to build company culture employees need to physically be in the office. Many organizations often schedule employee team lunches and activities. You can do the same with remote workers. Virtual team lunches are happening as we speak. Organizations can coordinate monthly/quarterly events to establish the values, beliefs and principles that make up your company culture.

Employers Can Enable Their Remote Workforce In a Few Ways

Company-Provided Approach

Supply the employee with the basics including a computer, internet connection and, sometimes, a phone. This wasn’t the approach taken by most companies due to the quick onset of COVID-19. While it sounds good on the surface, it’s far from a cost-effective option.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Approach

Employers can scale quickly. Some employees who work remotely on a regular basis receive a stipend from employers. Not all stipend options are the same.

Offering a flat stipend for all remote workers is not viable and not an economic long-term solution. Let’s say one employee is in NYC while another is in Utah. The cost of living is higher in NYC then in Utah. Your employee in NYC should receive a higher stipend than the one in Utah. Not to mention, many organizations are inconsistent in their approach to stipends. Some companies pay employees according to their role and/or start date. If a company rolls the stipend into compensation packages, remote employees are taxed. This results in tax waste. For every $100 taxable stipend, $38 is lost to taxes.

Expensing Approach

Instead of a stipend approach, some companies have their employees expense their home office costs including mobile, internet connection and office space. It seems easy, but it isn’t cost efficient. The department responsible for processing expense reports is using its time and your company’s money. In a typical month, the average company processes 1.5 expense reports per employee. The average cost to process one expense report is $58. Interested in finding out how much money your organization can save on your remote workforce? Try our interactive savings calculator.

Remote Work Reimbursement Approach

COVID-19 has made remote working an essential part of life. The landscape of the business world as we once knew it has changed how we communicate and where we work. Remote workers are here to stay and the numbers will continue to rise. The most cost effective way to enable employees working from home is reimbursing them for the business use of their personal assets. Interested in learning more about our Remote Work Reimbursement product? You can find information here. Want to dig deeper into the Remote Work Report?

Download Our Remote Work Report

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