“As the health crisis has reshaped the way people think about work and travel, companies are feeling their way to new, post-pandemic norms.”- Wall Street Journal-
When the remote workforce and “digital nomad” employees are the topic of discussion among human resource professionals, the employment sector that usually comes foremost to mind is Big Tech and companies like Facebook where remote opportunities are being stretched to the limit, and Google (Alphabet) where “return to office” orders are creating controversy.
As it has often been said, “There is often nothing more permanent than a temporary solution”. The post-covid remote workforce is a case in point, as it appears that the digital nomad lifestyle is here to stay.
Companies in diverse sectors, ranging from hotel and travel, to industrial sectors such as mining, construction, and manufacturing, are acknowledging that a significant (and expensive!) portion of headquarters and regional offices can be down-sized or eliminated completely, economizing on the real estate being owned or rented, and greatly reducing overhead costs incurred by supporting a traditional on-premise staff.
And much of that staff would prefer to continue contributing to the success of their companies without being “on-premise” at all.
The remote work transition trend has been on the rise in this 21st Century even before the covid crisis accelerated the process. According to Gallup research the largest surges from 2012 to 2020 in remote workers occurred in:
- Retail industries
The Lockdown Legacy and the Great Resignation
The covid lockdowns were the impetus that motivated companies across the board to move non-essential overhead and administrative jobs to home-based operations in order to maintain operations throughout the health crisis. This was the “temporary solution” that is well on its way to becoming the permanent way of the workforce in 2022 and beyond.
After experiencing the advantages of life-balance freedom and the versatility of “work-from-anywhere” programs necessitated by the covid crisis, the “return to office” policies announced as we move into Q3 2022 are being rejected by many employees who won’t hesitate to change employers to preserve that essential life balance.
According to the January 2020 report by Gallup, more than half (54%) of office workers overall said they would leave their current “on premises” role for another that offers flexible work time.
The growing remote workforce has grown accustomed to convenient flexible work hours, elimination of tedious daily commutes in traffic, and reduced need for costly day care. With travel restrictions easing up,” working vacations” from remote locations is an attractive lure for recruiting and retaining top workforce talent.
These are the “digital nomads”, and they are often among the most talented and sought-after personnel among the 51% of surveyed workers who are already actively seeking the new employer who will accommodate their “work from anywhere” lifestyles.
Company leaders and hiring managers need to be aware that, as working remotely becomes more common, companies that can’t accommodate these “digital nomads” will become the exception rather than the rule. Those old-school, on-site, corporate cultures may also struggle to keep their in-house workers engaged and productive.
But it’s not all just about life balance benefits and geographical freedom for the remote employee. The company that can transition to a remote workforce can reap many benefits as well.
Business Benefits of the Remote Workforce
According to Gallup research, there are benefits to remote workforce implementation for the company as well including:
- Increased retention of key personnel in a hyper-competitive recruiting environment.
- Decreased sick leave, absenteeism, and vacation requests.
- Work-at-home staffers reported feeling calmer and more focused and are able to work more productive hours.
- Research indicates that remote workers with flexible hours are comparatively more productive than on-site workers doing the same tasks.
- ESG (environmental, social, and governance) criteria are more easily met.
- Decreased material waste (More paper is used in the office then at home, for example).
- Energy savings.( on-site workers use twice as much electricity as home-based employees)
- Eliminated commuting. Every mile a worker doesn’t drive improves the company’s environmental performance.
Remote Workforces in the Industrial Sector
“An increasing number of mining companies have now moved toward allowing, encouraging, and supporting the overhead staff to permanently work from home. This ranges from most of the administrative staff, human resources, payroll, and project support services to client care.” The sustainability of working from home for the mining sector
Energy, mineral resources, and other industrial operations face the most challenging constraints in offering flexible working hours and remote solutions. Various industrial operations have addressed the lockdown obstacles by configuring secondary control rooms. These remote control site management centers are equipped with the requisite hardware, coupled with state-of-the-art network performance to allow seamless handover between shifts in two separate locations.
Remote solutions include deploying “work-from-anywhere” capabilities by creating and distributing “dispatch packs”. These contain laptops and communication tools, enabling workers to operate and maintain control of on-site activities from the safety of their homes.
Spurned on by necessity during the covid years, some heavy industry companies are actively revisiting technologies such as tele-remote systems, autonomous vehicles, and automation of key areas of their operation. Recent advances in 5G network technology, with an infinitesimal lag time, have made many of these remote equipment operations safer and more practical. The time isn’t far off when mines and quarries can be completely automated and operated in remote comfort and safety in as close to 100% real-time as possible.
While many of these innovations require significant CAPEX at a time when commodity prices are under immense pressure, heavy industry decision-makers are balancing the costs of hefty investment against the increased flexibility and performance improvement this offers in the midst of a crisis.
About Resource Erectors
Heavy industry professionals have at their disposal the specialized human resource connections that Resource Erectors brings to recruiting and placement with industry-leading companies all across North America. We have corporate connections to place the top-qualified professional-level candidates with the industry-leading companies who value their talents most, companies that recognize that their human resources are among their most precious resources.
Resource Erectors works with the top-heavy industry companies to build their competitive dream teams in silica sand, aggregates, mining, manufacturing, concrete and cement, underground construction, minerals, civil construction, bulk materials, gypsum, foundries, and of course engineering in every way, shape, and form.
When you’re ready to rock in your profession, you’re ready for Resource Erectors so don’t hesitate to contact us today and we can all get to work.