By Pat Melgares, K-State Research and Extension news service
Manhattan, KS — Just in case you thought that work-from-home was a popular concept only during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, think again.
In fact, the days of being able to work in pajamas and slippers may become more commonplace as the list of known benefits grows and grows.
“We do believe that there are significant opportunities and benefits associated with remote work,” said Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, which is housed at Kansas State University.
Wilson and Jaime Menon, the state program leader for K-State Research and Extension’s community vitality program, were the featured speakers during the recent monthly online series, First Friday e-Call, which helps to nurture small businesses and inspire entrepreneurship in Kansas.
Menon noted that K-State’s community vitality program was working on developing a program to encourage best practices in remote online work even before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their work is based on a program pioneered at Utah State University.
“The first remote work class participants in the Kansas extension system actually came before the pandemic… and so it became useful for our system right away,” she said.
Utah State’s program – called the Remote Online Initiative – is now available online through K-State’s Remote Work Certification program. The curriculum includes weekly interactive workshops and online modules covering such topics as:
- Planning the work day.
- Work flow.
- Productivity and time management.
- Compliance and online data security.
- Critical thinking.
- Virtual careers.
- Remote job development.
The need, says Wilson, has never been greater. He cited research indicating that as much as 30% of the global work force will soon be working remotely. Other studies have shown that the savings to employees – in the form of reducing their commute, wardrobe expenses and more – is as much as $2,000 per year.
Employers benefit too, according to studies cited by Wilson. Businesses that offer remote work options can save on expenses related to work space; and the talent pool for the company’s positions is greatly expanded when employees can work from home.
Menon said the Kansas remote work program provides training for remote workers and leaders of a work group. More information, including the class schedule and costs, is available at https://kansasremotework.com.
Wilson’s and Menon’s full July 1 presentation and other First Friday presentations are available online from K-State Research and Extension.