Rants from an HR Leader

PERKS Editorial Team

PERKS Editorial Team


January 12, 2022

Rants from an HR Leader

By Eileen Lee, VP of People & Culture at PERKS

As an HR executive, I constantly receive comments or jokes about how HR is an annoying job to have. Navigating the world of people and culture is a difficult one, especially in this day and age when a brand new generation of people entering the workforce are prioritizing individuality/experience over their predecessors, who prioritized the safety of compensation/benefits. 

HR professionals around the world have buckled up for the long haul of indefinite work environments and remaining remote. And as we see light at the end of this tunnel, plans for some organizations to return to the office can’t seem to happen fast enough. Here’s my question - why is there still this constant urge to transition back into an office environment when data has proved that the flexibility of remote work does, indeed, work? If this is what the people want, why can’t we support them by giving them the resources they need so that they can prioritize personal lives with their work lives?

I understand that not every organization can offer its employees the ability to be remote, but for the organizations who have been, why can’t it remain the same? Does being remote really affect the organization’s culture negatively? And if so, why not focus on solutions to enhance company culture instead of shutting it down? I don’t have to go into the data, but let’s. 

    • Research from workplace provider Regus found that 74% of office workers believe that remote work improves productivity.
    • A Gallup study showed that 54% of employees would leave their job for one that offers more flexibility.
    • A survey by Owl labs found the following:
      • Remote employees save an average of 40 minutes daily from commuting.
      • After COVID-19, 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least 1 day per week and 80% expected to work at least 3 days from home per week.
      • 23% of those surveyed would take a 10% pay cut to work from home permanently.
      • People are saving on average close to $500 per month being at home during COVID-19, which results in savings close to $6,000 per year.
      • 59% of respondents said they would be more likely to choose an employer who offered remote work compared to those who didn’t.

The stats say it - this is what our people want and need. Still questioning it? Here are some (more) stats from the 2021 Remote Work Statistics that relay the benefits of flexibility and remote work for organizations:

  • 79% of employees report remote work has had little effect on their day-to-day performance - and organizational leaders agree. According to a PwC survey, 83% of employers now say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company.
  • The Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) found that labor productivity has actually increased during the pandemic.
  • 85% of hybrid and 84% of remote employees report that their opinions count at work, compared to only 74% of on-site employees.
  • Harvard Business Review found that in some jobs, applicants who live over 5 to 6 miles away are given one-third fewer call-backs. Leveraging remote work to take away location bias boosts diversity within your organization.
  • This one seems obvious - but I also want to mention the substantial amount of money saved from employers not having to pay for office space.

From a big-picture perspective, people initiatives must be at the forefront of both HR teams and the organization’s executives. As the pandemic reaches year 2, I strongly encourage my fellow people leaders and executives to focus on their people in a way that should make sense - focus on your people as if they are not just an employee, a worker...but a human being. We have to lead better, care more, and do people and culture initiatives with people in mind. It doesn’t matter what generation you’re in, we are all still inherently the same. Otherwise, what’s the point?