The past two years and one month has completely changed the way we look at work. Even though the technology to work remotely has been available for well over a decade, it took a global pandemic for organizations to allow people to work remotely because there was no other option as it simply wasn’t safe to go to work. Now that the pandemic has eased and mandates have dropped, many organizations want people to return to the office, but most workers are reluctant to do so. There are a number of reasons for this ranging from, the flexibility of working remotely, health and safety concerns, avoiding long commute times, more time with family and escaping office politics.
There are proponents and detractors for remote working with the detractors claiming a lack of productivity and oversight. However, according to Great Place To Work, overwhelmingly, executives cited that productivity was not an issue as employees work remotely with some 30% stating that productivity increased. Only 20% of executives cited mixed outcomes of some teams improving while others suffered, which may have been due to misalignment or lack of preparedness in the transition.
In any case, remote work is not going anywhere and while most organizations have a goal of returning their staff to work in the office in the next few months, a sizable amount of organizations anticipate having their office space reduced and some staff remaining remote. “Over one-third expect their office space to reduce by 25% [and] over half (58%) anticipate reducing their office space by at least 10% from pre-COVID needs.” Tech companies and financial institutions foresee the largest remote workforce post-pandemic with 40% and 35% of their employees, respectively staying remote.
This tells us that work environments are changing permanently due to the pandemic and so has people’s mindsets around work. So what is reassuring to workers about the return to the office? Vaccine availability, improved testing and treatment for COVID-19, onsite clinics and improved HVAC systems. Onsite or nearsite clinics are where direct primary care presents a great opportunity for employers to meet the needs of this present climate and provide an added benefit for the wellbeing and safety of employees.
Preventative care and a focus around wellness including mental health and psychological safety is essential to heal as a nation from the effects of this pandemic. Direct primary care (DPC) offers a more holistic and centered view of health that provides much more value than the standard fee-for-service model and better access to address this need. Employers play a major part in this and by adopting DPC will have the additional advantage of a happier and more engaged workforce as well as reduced healthcare spend. The past couple of years has changed what work means to millions of people and employers need to adapt accordingly.