Is Remote Work Here to Stay? The Future of Remote Work in the Lighting Industry

Is Remote Work Here to Stay? The Future of Remote Work in the Lighting Industry

Posted 1/7/2022

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We’re approaching a light at the end of the tunnel as businesses reopen their offices and facilities post-pandemic. What started as a “two-week” work from home lockdown has turned into over a year-long journey of remote work. During this transition, business leaders and owners must decide what kind of work model they think will best benefit their companies. 

Some companies can’t wait to have their whole team back in the office, while others are open to having employees continue to work remotely. In many instances, companies are utilizing a hybrid of remote and in-office work. Let’s dive into the benefits of each working model:

Fully Remote

While remote work was beginning to flourish pre-COVID-19, the pandemic made it more than just a trend for the workplace. Enabling employees to work remotely has been the key for many companies to continue running their business amid a pandemic.

“Manufacturers are more open to work-from-home concepts as this has been the model for many of them for a while, and now it is accelerating. “

David Gordon – Distributor & Manufacturer Growth Strategist of Channel Marketing Group

While remote work quickly became essential for many businesses to survive during the pandemic, employees shifted how they viewed the importance of their work-life balance. The Global Workplace Analytics survey shows that 76% of Global Office Workers prefer to continue working from home weekly post-COVID-19. For many, working remotely has helped nurture their personal lives by enabling them to:

  • Spend more time with their family and loved ones: The pandemic has opened the eyes of many and amplified the importance of spending time with family. Working from home has allowed many parents to be present in their children’s daily lives and has enhanced their relationships with their loved ones.
  • Save time and money by not having to commute to the office: Millions of employees have gained back numerous hours of their time each week by eliminating the need for a daily office commute. Along with saving time, employees saved a considerable amount of money that they typically spent on gas or public transportation. Zoom has allowed people to get together and have an entire meeting over a video call. People realize that it is not always necessary for everyone to be together in real-time, and teams can accomplish many things via video.
  • Become location independent: Companies seeking new employees have a broader pool of candidates within their time zone. Without the need to physically work in the office, employees don’t have to live within a specific proximity of their job. The freedom to live in any location and keep their current job significantly benefits from working remotely. Moreover, when looking for new job opportunities, prospective employees can expand their search regardless of location.

In-Office

While remote work has its perks, many businesses eagerly swing open their office doors and await their team to return. Some business leaders and owners think that their team can do a better job with everyone back in the office for a variety of reasons:

  • People are social beings: Many employees are longing to work with their colleagues and miss the synergy of people coming together to brainstorm and problem solve.

“You lose what I call “water cooler osmosis” of sharing ideas and best practices. For example, without teammates, you miss the impromptu meeting, idea generation, or simple personal bond of how they and their families are doing, etc.”

– Spencer Bolgard – President & CEO of MaxLite

  • Business owners and leaders may question employee productivity: Without being physically present to manage their team in the office, business owners may question if employees are working as much as they say they are. It wouldn’t be uncommon for a workday to be cut short due to other priorities at home.

“I do think some version of remote work is here for the long-term, but I question the effectiveness of 100% remote work. With the right person in the right role, I am confident a fully remote employee can be efficient and contribute in a meaningful way. But most of what we do in the design industry is communication and collaboration with other people. We’ve had to adopt tools to aid in this. But those tools are not yet capable of replacing the interactions we have when a group meets in a room to figure out a solution to a problem, develop business, or attempt a social gathering with the office. Perhaps one day the tools will be capable, but they are not there yet.”

 – Jon Hoyle – Associate Principal of The Lighting Practice Lighting Design

  • Employees may get distracted from their work by their personal lives: There is a concern that people naturally get distracted from being at home and can be less focused on the task at hand. For example, folding the pile of laundry might seem to be more important than finishing a specific work task.

“Some question the viability of long-term work-from-home arrangement for a number of reasons.”

– David Gordon – Distributor & Manufacturer Growth Strategist of Channel Marketing Group


Hybrid

A majority of employers are confident that a hybrid approach of remote and in-office work is the best option for their company. JLL’s Human Experience Survey shows that 66% of employees expect a hybrid approach after the pandemic. The typical hybrid approach for businesses is two days in office, three days remote.

We’ve heard of some manufacturers going to a hybrid week, retaining the best of both models, and downsizing their office space.”

– David Gordon – Distributor & Manufacturer Growth Strategist of Channel Marketing Group

Benefits of the hybrid work model include:

  • Showing flexibility: After a worldwide pandemic, many people are reluctant to be back in an office setting. Business owners can accommodate their employees with the option to continue to work a few days a week remotely.

“Before the pandemic, we allowed a few office teammates to work from home 40%-60% of the time. This proved to increase our level of teammate engagement, productivity, and career satisfaction.”

– Spencer Bolgard – President & CEO of MaxLite

  • Increasing productivity: When working from home, it wouldn’t be uncommon for people to continue working outside their scheduled hours. For example, one might continue checking emails at 7 p.m. while they are on the couch watching television with their family.

“Remote work has forced us (and I suspect many other companies) out of our comfort zone, and caused us to adapt to different ways of working. Some of those changes are good and some present challenges. There is now a greater level of comfort working with firms who may not be “local.” This change is positive and has helped open more doors for us than before. We are still searching for a reasonable replacement for sitting around a table and sketching on a plan. We have yet to find one.”

– Jon Hoyle – Associate Principal of The Lighting Practice Lighting Design

  • Limited days in the office can help ease safety concerns by allowing smaller staff groups to come in at a time, enabling companies to better adhere to social distancing protocols.

“Candidly, almost all of our teammates were or are very happy to be back to work in the office, especially after we allowed them some flexibility to work from home and promoted a very safe work environment.”

– Spencer Bolgard – President & CEO of MaxLite


Forecasting the future of remote work in lighting

While we can’t say for sure what the work model norm will be for all industries, we are confident that the Hybrid work model will likely be a part of the lighting industry for the next 2-5 years.

“Given that we’re still amid the pandemic, the ‘new normal’ is still in flux, and it will take another year before companies settle into a long-term model.”

– David Gordon – Distributor & Manufacturer Growth Strategist of Channel Marketing Group

“With the pandemic, we have gone through various phases of in-office attendance for all but essential teammates. We are currently allowing those with office roles conducive to work from home to do so 20%-40% of the time—again. role-dependent.”

– Spencer Bolgard – President & CEO of MaxLite

“We are allowing remote work to continue, on a limited basis. Our current schedule has all our staff in-person on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week, with Tuesday and Friday being optional remote work days. We regularly review the working schedule to see what works, what doesn’t and to try something new when the current plan isn’t working.”

– Jon Hoyle – Associate Principal of The Lighting Practice Lighting Design

Transparency is key when hiring new employees to join your team post-pandemic

When hiring new employees to join your team post-pandemic, it may be hard to avoid the elephant in the room: Is this position remote? Before anything else, it is essential to be transparent with prospective employees about the following:

  • Where is the job-based?
  • Will they have to work in the corporate office?
  • Do they need to relocate?
  • Will this position allow them to continue to work remotely (either completely or partially)?


Employers should be aware of the possibility of losing current employees and future candidates to remote opportunities. Many employees have become accustomed to working remotely over the past year and are unwilling to return to the office post Pandemic. In many instances, employees give their notice and seek alternative job opportunities due to being asked to return to the office. A Prudential Survey shows that 42% of remote workers will leave their current job if it does not offer a long-term option to work remotely. No matter your company’s plan or strategy, it is important to be upfront with both current and new employees. 

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We’re approaching a light at the end of the tunnel as businesses reopen their offices and fac ...