Metro companies keeping work-from-home operations in anticipation of post-pandemic life

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Before the pandemic, Chris McCann had a lengthy commute from his home in Forsyth County to his office in Midtown.

“That was pretty rough,” he told Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik. “Took me anywhere from an hour-and-15 to two hours to commute in the morning and then about an hour to an hour-and-a-half on the way home.”

McCann works at Aquent, a workforce solutions company based in Boston. Last March, the company sent its employees home when the pandemic struck.

“I work about eight to five every day still,” he said. “The difference is, I’m not popping in my car at 6:15, 6:30 in the morning. I get to go to the gym in the morning, I get to have breakfast with my kids and drop them at school and still get on the clock at 8 o’clock in the morning. So, for me it’s been a much better work-life balance.”

McCann said he doesn’t really miss his office, and he still communicates with his co-workers daily via video and phone chats.

“The coffee was great in the office,” he joked.

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It’s a good thing McCann likes working from home, because Aquent has decided to let its leases lapse and have its employees continue doing it. The company has 35 offices across the country.

“I think one of the biggest benefits to the remote workforce is that the world has now become their talent base versus their city,” he said. “So if anything, I think it’s going to help companies become more successful and really recruit the top talent that they’re looking for.”

Erin Bloom, the company’s head of community and culture, said remote working went better than anyone initially expected.

“We really were surprised and delighted by how smooth the transition went,” she told Petchenik. “We didn’t skip a beat. And our staff adapted very quickly and then began to thrive.”

Bloom said company leadership decided it was going so well they plan to take the money they were spending on leasing office space to reinvest it back into employee development.

“We definitely think remote work is accelerating,” she said. “Lots of companies have seen the savings that can be achieved from this but the most important thing is we recognize that employees like the flexibility and control of their own lives that comes along with working remotely and we encourage other companies to follow our lead and continue to support their staff in remote work.”