Like many, maybe you worked from home during the pandemic and thought it wasn’t all bad. But will this trend continue? Certainly, having fewer expenses, home comforts and no lengthy commutes are advantages. Plus, the range of jobs you can do at home has widened, and you might even be able to choose where you work from. More employees now prefer home working, and this should drive the trend strongly.
Working from home was already trending but the pandemic gave it a huge boost. If you’ve had to work from a computer in your bedroom, maybe you found being at home had advantages and you could easily do your job there. Employers have found that a wider range of jobs can now be done online, and with travel opening up again, remote workers can make the same wage in cheaper locations. Experience has been gained about this way of working over the last year or so and the lifestyle may now seem more attractive than ever. Although many workers are currently returning to physical offices, the home working trend is clearly here to stay.
The Working-From-Home Phenomenon: Boosted by the Pandemic and Beyond
Home working used to be a minority interest. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics found in 2019 that 29% of employees could do it, only a little more than half that number did so because their jobs required it. The pandemic changed all that, and with offices closed, employers sent staff home to work on their computers — the number working remotely peaked at 70% in April 2020. But, as the pandemic eases, companies are thinking about opening physical offices again.
There are signs that the working from home economy is slowing. However, a recent survey found that 87% of US remote workers would like to carry on in that way at least one day a week, 68% prefer a ‘hybrid’ schedule — some days at the office and some at home — while 42% will look for another job if their current employer doesn’t offer home working. Schedules that include some home working will be surely offered as an option by many companies.
And the types of work that can be done online have increased. Sales and marketing don’t always require face-to-face contact with clients, and other professionals have successfully transitioned to home working, including skilled advice-givers in the legal and medical sectors. Then there are the creatives and self-employed people who never really needed a communal office. If you are employed in one of these industries, consider riding the home-working wave.
Social & Economic Factors Encourage the Home Working Trend
Independent living is great, but home working can be done in any home, and US Census data shows that living back with family is increasingly popular. 17% of 25- to 34-year-olds now live with their parents — double the number of 50 years ago — and of the 18- to 34-year-olds, 32.7% lived back home in 2020 compared to 27.3% in 2007. Now these youngsters are not just those who haven’t yet got married or established their careers, they may simply be home workers.
Working back in the family home also benefits other members of the household if they can get help caring for children or elderly relatives. The pandemic saw kids being schooled by their parents, and care at home was often preferred for seniors. Many people working from a computer in a bedroom have therefore been getting experience of fitting in with their relatives once again, strengthening family ties, and maybe finding out it wasn’t so terrible after all.
Last but not least, as living with family generally means a big reduction in your expenses, this way of living can help you save money. Considering the increasingly large sums needed to become a homeowner, for example, that could be more welcome than ever going forward. Of course, you could commute to a physical office from mom and pop’s place, but the savings you can make on time and transport costs are further incentives for working from home there.
Remote Working May Truly Have Come of Age: Pack Your Swimsuit
With travel now more possible, digital nomading is back on the table — working from ‘home,’ but moving your home to any place you wish. This trend was growing until the pandemic closed borders and we needed to shelter in place. But with the country’s offices standing empty, the dream of using a laptop anywhere with fast internet may have spread beyond the traditional nomad community. You’d just need permission for full-time remote working from your employer.
Digital nomads often like beaches for recreation, and resorts in places like Thailand, Vietnam and Bali evolved to cater to them, offering well-provisioned internet cafes. Locations in Mexico, for example, also joined in, with the added benefits of nearness and time zones that don’t necessitate conference calls at 3am. Even during the pandemic, some workers found they could relocate within the US, perhaps acquiring a healthier lifestyle in an attractive location into the bargain.
Now so many people are used to working remotely, the nomad lifestyle may well become more popular than ever. Crucially, your US salary will be the same regardless of location, so the cheaper a place is the more a remote worker can save. And new nomad destinations emerge regularly, combining great work and recreational opportunities and maybe undercutting the costs of existing hotspots, ensuring that digital nomading will continue to be a cost-effective trend.
Working From Home Looks Even Better Post-Pandemic
Many home workers got used to the virtual contact they have with colleagues, but do we really want to continue that way? Well, for example, as meetings went online, business travel took a huge hit, but employers appreciated the savings in terms of both money and time. Working from home can continue to be a way for companies to reduce overheads. It seems virtual business works rather well and is probably here to stay — you can always socialize in your spare time.
Another reason working from home looks increasingly attractive is the growing availability of self storage. Working in a small apartment or the family home can mean limited living space. You will need room for your home office and also for the things that keep you happy, for example books and favorite ornaments. Fortunately, the US self storage industry provides units, at a range of sizes and prices, where you can keep things you don’t need daily, freeing up space at home.
To be a successful part of the home worker trend, learning from experience helps. If your home ‘office’ didn’t feel great at first — featuring only a kitchen table and a ‘Do Not Disturb!’ sign on the door — doubtless you improved the space so you could work efficiently. Health factors have also needed to be in focus, including investment in a very good swivel chair and awareness of your psychological needs. But if you’ve done this, you’re all set, and you can get back to work.
It is to be expected that working from home will continue to trend in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as jobs opportunities increase. Many people have found that working efficiently for hours at a computer in their bedroom is more than possible, and several advantages of staying at home are widely appreciated. Not least, financial factors will make working from home continue in popularity, and the ability to work in a variety of locations may make it a more exciting prospect than ever before. Although the numbers of US home workers may currently be diminishing, many factors that motivate the trend will surely see it continue strongly in the future.