Local Businesses Weigh in on Whether Remote Work is Here to Stay

As southwest Missouri grapples with COVID-19, many businesses began working remotely, some at a moment’s notice. Luckily for some, the switch was relatively seamless, while others experienced major setbacks. Now companies examine the future.

By Jenna deJong

Jul 2020

man working remotely on a laptop
Photo courtesy Shutterstock

The timing couldn’t have been better for the team at Integrity Home Care + Hospice. According to Nathan Barnes, chief administrative officer, the company had been working toward making its workforce more agile before COVID-19. “Over the course of the last two years, we have been on a journey to get our technology in a place where we have a cloud-first strategy,” Barnes says. “We chose, for the most part, to go with laptops as our standard rather than desktops. A part of it was just business continuity planning, but the other part is the nature of what we do[…] We don’t take care of patients in our office, so it just seemed like a smart strategy and it wasn’t much more costly.”

According to Richard Reding, managing partner of TierOne, before the pandemic hit, companies were already making a move toward remote work. Reding says part of this was to attract talent with flexibilty and benefits, and part of it was to save on infrastructure costs. “I think it was easier to find a way to virtualize some of the workforce rather than the very large capital expenditure required to expand at the rate [some companies] were growing,” Reding says.

Remote work wasn’t exactly what Barnes had in mind when switching to laptops. “Our standard as an organization was work in the office,” Barnes says. “We’ve got nine locations, so if you’re an office employee, you would work from the office.”

Since working remotely, Barnes says the team has realized how productive remote work can be, though the company isn’t ready to make any major decisions just yet. “If anything, it made us realize we can do this, and it’s something that might lead to us doing it more in future roles where it may not be necessary to be in the office if the employee has adequate space at home,” Barnes says.

For now, Reding say he believes remote work is here to stay in some capacity, like a hybrid where employees visit the office a couple times a week or not at all. “I personally still think there is value to having a home base, but I think you will see the rapid growth of large corporate offices diminished significantly and some element of remote work will be here forever.”