Is Remote Working Going to Become the New Normal?
by Dakota Murphey
In these uncertain times amid COVID-19, many have had to resort to working from home in order to stay safe from the virus. Whether you’re in favour of workers having the opportunity to work remotely or you prefer office-based working, there’s no denying that there has been a significant shift in the number of companies adopting this way of working.
In fact, a recent study showed that less than half of 10,000 workers polled across six countries stated that they were working from home at least one day per week before the outbreak started. But now the majority of people are having to switch up their routines to make remote working work for them. Once the fears of the pandemic have passed, will we still be working in this way and will remote working become the new normal for the workforce of the future?
How remote working can benefit businesses and staff
There are ways that remote working can work for both staff and employers. It’s not only about the employees who don’t want to have to deal with a lengthy commute each day but also the businesses who want to reduce their office costs or a happier workforce and longer retention of staff. One of the opportunities to arise from the pandemic is that it’s provided businesses with the chance to trial remote working and see how they could structure their company differently.
From less commuting to less office space and more focus from employees, there are benefits to this way of working that suit everyone involved. There are even studies that suggest that remote workers are less likely to take time off work due to illness.
Remote working, when it’s set up properly, can give a renewed boost of cohesion and innovation to businesses in a host of different industries. For the businesses who choose to invest time and resources into this way of working, the benefits can be far-reaching. While it’s too early to know if remote working will become a permanent fixture in our lives, the potential for businesses in the future is huge.
The advantages for employers
In today’s digital climate, it’s never been easier to organise a remote team, with tools like Trello, Slack and Asana at your disposal. With these types of systems in place, employers can still communicate effectively with employees and innovate without everyone needing to be in the same physical location. One of the major benefits that employers find when they allow workers to carry out their jobs remotely is an increase in productivity – the lack of a frustrating commute coupled with being in an environment they can relax in is often conducive to greater productivity.
Remote working opens up the potential talent pool, as individuals with the skills needed for a job don’t have to be based locally, plus it offers savings on office premises and equipment for businesses. As many businesses will appreciate under the circumstances of COVID-19, having the option for remote work also makes the business far more adaptable in times of a crisis.
What are the potential drawbacks?
With any new way of working, there are potential pitfalls to consider. Remote working can become isolating for some, after the initial novelty wears off, which can make it a struggle for those who aren’t self-motivating. Coworking spaces can be a solution to combat this but it’s important to consider the personality of the individual as this does play a part in the success of working remotely.
There are certain skills that are better suited to remote working, such as organisation and effective communication, that make individuals well-suited to remote work life.
It’s only natural that working from home won’t suit everyone, and while there are benefits for many employees, such as a healthier work-life balance and a reduction in mental health problems such as anxiety, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. There’s also the issue that some employees might find it difficult to switch off, as there is no clear distinction between what constitutes work time and downtime.
As we all become accustomed to the ‘new normal’ of staying inside to prevent the spread of COVID-19, remote working will become a standard way of working for many. Once the outbreak is over, it’s easy to imagine that more businesses will be open to the idea of continuing their remote policy to accommodate the workers who enjoy working this way.
However, it’s important to note that there are issues to consider that mean remote working may not be for everyone. Some employees enjoy the process of separating their work and home life, which will no doubt still be appreciated in the future too.
Author Bio: Dakota Murphey is an independent business writer specialising in cybersecurity and business growth.
Find out what else Dakota has been up to over on Twitter: @Dakota_Murphey