Remote Work: More Than A Job Perk

Tab Townsell Commentary

Remote Work: More Than A Job Perk

Whether the mom of three or a recent college graduate, flexibility remains at the top of nearly every employee’s wish list. Why? Because adaptable workplaces offer people the highly-sought-after, and often elusive, work-life balance — while improving their overall productivity.

When the world went into a COVID-induced lockdown last March, remote work options transformed from job perks into necessities. And now employers, from mom-and-pops to Fortune 500 companies, are left wondering whether to implement these measures reactively or to pursue them full time — even in hybrid models.

This is an Opinion

We'd also like to hear yours. Leave a comment below, tweet to us at @ArkBusiness or
email us.

For years now, Metroplan has held its annual Ozone Action Days public awareness campaign to encourage central Arkansas businesses and their employees to take voluntary actions to help reduce harmful ground-level ozone in the region. Left unchecked, breathing this type of ozone can cause adverse health effects, such as chest pain or congestion, particularly in vulnerable populations. A key component of our campaign: a focus on telecommuting.

Last year’s reports of measurably cleaner air and relatively cooler temperatures helped Metroplan make a case for why telecommuting is good for the environment. The pandemic shows that there's also an economic case to be made. As Forbes recently noted, “The current crisis is forcing companies to decouple traditional work and work styles from the corporate office.”

According to Gallup, more than 60% of employed Americans worked from home during the height of the pandemic. Three in five said they preferred to continue with this option as much as possible. In another survey, FlexJobs reported three-fourths of respondents were willing to stay with their current employers if they could work flexible hours. In fact, the preference for remote work was so strong that more than 50% of individuals said they would look for a new job if not allowed to telecommute.

This summer, job openings hit all-time highs. If central Arkansas companies want to attract and retain employees, they must consider taking up measures, like remote work, that appeal to today’s workforce. Once in place, businesses will be able to breathe easier — not only from reduced ground-level ozone but from knowing they’ve put themselves on firm financial footing for the future. And that’s a campaign we can all get behind.

Tab Townsell is the executive director of Metroplan, an association of local governments that serves as a regional voice on issues affecting Central Arkansas, develops transportation plans required by federal law and convenes stakeholders to deal with common environmental issues for its members in Pulaski, Faulkner, Saline, Lonoke and Grant counties.