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The Academy

Remote Work is Here to Stay: Develop Your Strategy Now

Article

In this four-part series, we’ll discuss the value of a total rewards approach, including the critical role of remote work. In today’s third article, we’ll unpack remote work and make the case for strategy.

 

Two-thirds of full-time U.S. workers report they would immediately start looking for a new job with flexibility if their ability to work from home was taken away—and 39% would quit.1 Clearly, based on this data and other sources, remote work is here to stay.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the move to remote work for healthcare organizations from the traditional in-person status quo within the industry. Today, according to Gallagher data, the majority of healthcare organizations report offering part-time (59%) and full-time (54%) remote work opportunities.2 This development certainly represents progress compared to pre-pandemic offerings. But compared to other industries where two-thirds of office workers report working part-time or full-time from home, healthcare lags in offering this flexibility.3

But why the need for remote work strategy?

Let’s give credit where it’s due. Healthcare organizations were forced to quickly offer remote work options at the start of the pandemic for non-clinical roles. They, like most organizations, had no choice and rose admirably to the challenge.

But we’re through the period where one-off or piecemeal options are sufficient. Since remote work is now a must-have offering, organizations need to think strategically about how to make use of it. Here’s why:

  • Workforce challenges necessitate playing the long game: Flexible work arrangements are a must-have for talent retention and can be leveraged to expand your hiring pool.
  • Your organization must stay competitive against out-of-industry employers: In an increasingly competitive labor market, differentiating from employers across other industries is an ongoing challenge. Creative remote working options is an opportunity to meet this need.
  • Remote work effectively differentiates your total rewards package: Flexible work arrangements are a value-add to your total rewards package when increasing compensation may be off the table.
  • Remote flexibility helps mitigate burnout: Allowing employees to choose where and how they work offers a valuable tool for preventing and addressing burnout.

How can you get started?

You may actively be considering the value and importance of developing a remote work strategy. But how to begin? We find that the most successful organizations take the following steps to lay the foundation for an effective remote work strategy:

  • Start with data: Leverage internal or third party-analysis to understand your workforce wants and needs concerning remote work (e.g., preferred communication channels and team structure)—then strategize accordingly.
  • Leverage technology to enable change: Consider app-enabled technology platforms to keep staff in the know about their benefits and broader organizational happenings, despite working offsite.
  • Equip leaders to manage: Effectively managing a remote workforce requires a specific set of tools—be sure to arm managers accordingly. Start with developmental coaching to help managers foster employee engagement and enthusiasm for their work.
  • Foster strong culture: Losing in-person touchpoints makes culture all the more necessary to invest in. Lean on building belonging, recognition, and transparency to make cultural strides.

How should you measure progress? 

Survey your staff to hear directly whether or not your flexible work arrangements are working. And don’t be afraid of pulse surveys—consistent feedback is a gift and ensures bilateral communication that keeps your staff and organization accountable. Metrics to capture may include engagement, productivity, and leadership effectiveness measures.

Ready to get started? Think about how your organization surveys staff. Are there questions specific to remote workers or related to remote work options? What information can you glean from those surveys?  If you don’t have this information today, how can you begin to collect it in your next employee survey?


The Academy extends its appreciation to Gallagher for their sponsorship of this article

About Gallagher

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG), a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm, is headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Gallagher provides these services in approximately 130 countries around the world through its owned operations and a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.

To learn more, visit www.ajg.com

[1] Owl Labs. “State of Remote Work Report.” Owl Labs, July 2022, State of Remote Work 2022 (owllabs.com).

[2] Gallagher. “2022 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey.” Gallagher, 2022, www.ajg.com/healthcare-consulting.

[3] Saad, Lydia and Ben Wigert. “Remote Work Persisting and Trending Permanent.” Gallup, 2021, Remote Work Persisting and Trending Permanent (gallup.com).