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Working from home: one year on

Working from home (WFH) has been one of the big impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with offices closed all over the world as various national and regional lockdowns have restricted people's movements. Slightly less than a year ago, CTMfile published our top tips for working at home productively and harmoniously, but few back then would have expected the situation to still be largely unchanged today.

A blog on Wed Hosting Professional has collated a number of WFH stats compiled from different sources over the past year. Some of the interesting findings from this include:

  • 99% of people would happily choose to work remotely at least part-time for the remainder of their careers. 
  • 23% of remote workers report working longer hours compared to what they would do on-site.
  • 77% of remote employees say that they are more productive when they work from home.
  • Businesses save on average $11,000 per year for each half-time remote worker.
  • Xerox reduced their carbon emissions by almost 41,000 metric tons by allowing remote workers to avoid commuting.
  • 37% of people report a 40%+ increase in productivity when remote working.

Financial services for the WFH generation

With remote workforces scattered across countries rather than centralised in an office building, a number of financial services considerations that may have previously been the responsibility of an office manager or company at large are now falling to individual workers at home. As such, financial services firms are trying to react to this change. Previously on CTMfile we've reported on how firms have upgraded corporate T&E solutions for the new normal, for example. A couple of other news items released this month also fit this trend.

One example comes from Insure.com, which has released the Remote Workers' Complete Guide to Insurance for 2021. This guide notes that, from an insurance standpoint, there are some important distinctions between remote work, working from home and telecommuting. Insurance needs can differ based on where an individual's 'permanent office' is based. Insurance considerations for remote workers include:

Auto insurance

Less driving can mean eligibility for rebates of 15 to 20% off existing premiums. Pay-per-mile plans may be a good option for those no longer driving frequently, but these plans often come with onboard diagnostics. Another option is to pursue a low mileage or other car insurance discount.

Home insurance

When personal and work property comingle, insurance responsibility can be confusing. Coverage for equipment damage or injury can be dictated by an employee's status, with different determinations for those who are self-employed and others who telecommute.

Health insurance

During this pandemic, there have been many health benefits to working remotely. Experts suggest evaluating needs related to eye strain and mental health.

Life insurance

Work location on its own is unlikely to require a review of life insurance coverage, but changes in family finances during the pandemic may make this a good time to review policy amounts. A life insurance calculator can help consumers determine their ideal coverage level and cost.

Employees whose work situation has changed during the past year, for any reason, are encouraged to assess their insurance protections and be sure their coverage is appropriate for their current needs.

Clean energy considerations

Elsewhere, Arcadia has partnered with Goldman Sachs to offer clean energy to homes as an employee benefit. Arcadia is a monthly subscription service that connects renters and homeowners across the US to clean energy through their existing utility.

For workplaces, millions of American employees are using more electricity at home rather than in the office. As home energy consumption increases, Arcadia is working with businesses like Goldman Sachs to get their employees easy access to clean energy to reduce their environmental impact.

Arcadia residential energy data shows an average 2% increase in energy usage and a 6% bill increase for households in 2020, with home electricity use becoming an individual's greatest contributor to climate change due to lessened travel during the pandemic.

"It's never been a more important time to prioritise a renewable energy future and take action on climate change," said Kiran Bhatraju, CEO and founder of Arcadia. "Companies are paying more attention to their corporate sustainability goals, and in making climate-conscious decisions Goldman Sachs demonstrates how businesses  can leverage Arcadia's platform to do good for their employees and the planet."

"Our firm has been carbon neutral since 2015, but with COVID and our teams working from home, we realised we needed to do more to help our employees improve their own carbon footprints and Arcadia has been a great solution," added Dina Powell McCormick, global head of Sustainability and Inclusive Growth at Goldman Sachs.

With corporates all over the world expected to still offer some form of WFH remote operating model once the COVID pandemic is finally over, these kinds of financial considerations will be something else for treasurers to prepare for and manage.

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This item appears in the following sections:
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Operations
Best Practices & Benchmarking
Operational Risk Management
Treasury Careers
COVID-19
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