In this article, we are going to review how the pandemic has changed attitudes to remote working. Additionally, we provide tips on how companies can prepare and develop a strategy to tackle future possible lockdowns.
The corporate landscape is now experiencing what might be the most dramatic shift in work culture in recent history. The COVID-19 crisis forced businesses to rapidly empty out their office buildings. Entire offices of employees converted to a virtual workforce overnight, which is no easy task. Unsurprisingly, a lot of businesses were faced with multiple challenges in adjusting.
Companies, with nothing in place before the pandemic hit, were left scrambling to catch up. They needed to make drastic changes and boost their online presence in order to survive. Now, with businesses gradually re-opening, it is imperative that businesses put remote work at the forefront of their long-term plans. Especially if their business is to be set up for success in such uncertain times.
Working remotely was already a thing long before the coronavirus outbreak. As a matter of fact, in 2019, about 4.61 million people in the UK worked mainly from home. This is an increase of almost a million new remote workers when compared to 3.68 million in 2009. However, while remote work might have been a trend, it was not fully embraced by many businesses.
Before Covid-19, remote working policies weren’t fully developed. This was due to beliefs that employees work better in an office environment. It was considered to be easier to track productivity and keep workers engaged when the team is physically together.
However, the COVID-19 crisis has tested and, in many cases disproved, these theories about remote work. Especially as companies came up with innovative methods to ensure their teams were engaged, motivated and supported throughout lockdown. A recent Gartner CFO survey revealed 74% of companies have plans of keeping at least 5% of their formerly in-office employees in remote work positions following the pandemic. This due to the financial benefits.
Also, many employers are taking their businesses online and thus transitioning their in-office workers to remote employees. In all, the pandemic has changed attitudes and proven that work does not need to be tied to a desk or office. Having the option and flexibility to work at home is a current reality, not just the supposed “future of work”.
The benefits of remote working
Remote work comes with its fair share of advantages, below are some of its proven business benefits. These benefits alone could inspire a restructure of your current remote work policy.
- Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important for many employees and remote work helps them achieve this. For instance, the time spent commuting to and from work can be channelled into better use. The ability to balance these two worlds can help employees feel happier and more productive while at work.
- Remote work allows organisations to access top quality professionals from all over the world. They are not limited to the candidate pool in their geographical area.
- Remote work lowers business related expenses. It can help businesses cut down on costs associated with onsite business operations, including office space, equipment, and travel reimbursement.
- The remote work model encourages work flexibility and autonomy. It gives employees the freedom to work wherever they like, during hours they find most productive. This can lead to increased productivity and efficiency amongst workers.
- Remote working is not just beneficial to employers and employees alone, it is better for the environment as well. More people working remotely means less commuting to work and a reduced carbon footprint. This could in turn save over 50 million tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
How to include remote working in your long-term plans
It is a given that remote working can provide many opportunities for companies. However, the benefits of this model of work can only be accessed if the transition is done in the right way.
First off is investing in the essential technical and IT infrastructure for a successful transition. For example, it is critical for remote working to have secure access to the services and information needed. Unfortunately, some companies fall short in this area. Implementing a remote work infrastructure, that is both reliable and secure, is absolutely paramount.
Cloud integration is particularly important. These services help to ensure a secure connection between an organisation’s public applications and private data. A solid Cloud Strategy will avoid security breaches in the company’s IT environment, which could lead to compromise of sensitive company data.
Employers should ensure that they have an effective communication strategy in place. This involves keeping team members connected in a way that adequately replaces in-person contact. There are countless benefits to having healthy and consistent communication. Benefits such as building relationships, collaboration, welcoming new ideas and conflict resolution.
In addition to emails and texts, technologies like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype and other videoconferencing solutions give employees more access to each other. This keeps them engaged, with consistent information to carry out their responsibilities as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
In all, the technology that makes remote work possible is a long-term investment that must be planned and budgeted for. Leaders should therefore be thoughtful and deliberate in implementing a remote working infrastructure. Especially as it will ensure a more seamless and less pressured transition for the company, customers, and employees in future.
While there is a lot of uncertainty concerning what the future of work will look like, one thing is certain. There will be a need for employees to continue working from home for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, it’s only wise that organisations integrate remote working strategies in their long-term plans. Not just for the current pandemic, but to future proof their infrastructure to prevent a repeat.
At No Problem Technologies, we go above and beyond to keep businesses running smoothly. From maintaining your IT Infrastructure to helping you transition to the Cloud, we have you covered. Let’s get the conversation started! Contact us today.