With as many as 3.26 million COVID positive cases (at the time of penning this blog) globally, the pandemic affected over 80 countries. What kicked off as a hopeful year, soon turned out to be controlled by a very aggressive form of virus, which can be fatal. Isolation, home quarantine, social distancing, shutting down of retails and other businesses became one of the shocking waves around the world. This wave of change was not only felt in the USA but across other countries. Slowly, big and small corporations started shifting to the WFH model in a genuine attempt to slow down the rate of transmission and infection.
Even before 2020, working remotely was on a steady rise in the U.S. According to the Federal Reserve, the work from home rate has tripled in the past 15 years. But with the health concerns today, many internationally renowned giants are forced to take up remote working as a protective measure.
Susan Hayter, a Senior Tech Advisor at the Geneva-based International Labor Organization recently took to the UN News to speak and predict how the COVID Crisis could change our working lives. According to her the future has arrived sooner than anticipated as many employers across the globe have shifted to the WFH module.
The Covid-19 crisis has dramatically changed the way we work. Remote and virtual meetings are now commonplace and economic activities have increased on a range of digital platforms. But, what needs to happen next/ According to Hayter, the degree of worker’s trust in the measures taken by employers to make the workplace safe, will have an impact on the return to work. Every protocol, from social distancing to monitoring, testing, and sanitizing needs to be performed. The pandemic has revealed the false choice between flexibility and income security.
But, these are all numbers and what essentially we have been doing to omit the spread of the infection. The question remains, what about the future when the Corona Virus won’t be among us anymore (fortunately). These are the possibilities that can shape up:
Technology will play a significant role
Organizations are relying more on technology now than ever to enable remote working to happen seamlessly since employees are disbursed. There has been a soaring demand for virtual workplace solutions that will help teams communicate, collaborate, and operate without any glitches. As boardroom meetings move to conference calls, and the workspace shifted to digital workflows, many are seeing a huge benefit in enhanced efficiency, transparency, and convenience from bringing work online.
The WFH Module is here to stay
Many believe that the remote work culture will be a permanent change, rather than a temporary fact. In a recent survey conducted by Gartner with 317 CFOs and business Finance Leaders, it was found that 74% plan on moving their previously on-site workforce to permanent remote positions post Covid-19. Among the biggest factor, driving this decision was the cost-saving benefits of working from home- a factor where most have gotten a clear insight owing to this outbreak. Reductions of both on-site technologies spend and reduced cost in real estate expenses was a driving factor for this decision. At the same time, there is a financial benefit for the employees as well as there is almost no expenditure on commuting, office meals, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Strengthened Work from Home Policies
There are two sides to every coin, and the other side being there are several employees who don’t prefer to work from home owing to the various distractions. The best practice here can be a hybrid approach wherein two teams can work remotely on different days. This could be a call of the company to introduce proper remote work policies to ensure strong workplace culture and efficient operations.
Once this pandemic is behind us (hopefully soon), the lessons learned, and situations experienced during this time can help in constantly improving remote workplace policies for the long term.