BUSINESSES ARE still struggling to understand which of the pandemic’s effects will be temporary and which will turn out to be permanent. Three new reports attempt to analyse these longer-term trends. One is from Glassdoor, a website that allows workers to rank their employers. Another is from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a management consultancy. The third is from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), a British professional body. Read together, they imply that firms stand to benefit—but that managers’ lives are about to get more difficult.
One change that is all but certain to last is employees spending more of their time working at home. The Glassdoor report finds that less commuting has improved employee health and morale. Splitting the week between the home and the office is also overwhelmingly popular with workers: 70% of those surveyed wanted such a combination, 26% wanted to stay at home and just 4% desired a full-time return to the office. Perhaps as a consequence, remote work has not dented productivity—and indeed improved it in some areas. Flexible work schedules can be a cheap way to retain employees who have child-care and other home responsibilities.
Telecommuting offers other potential cost savings, and not just the reduced need for office space. Remote workers do not need to live in big cities…