One of the most significant experiments in human history was remote working, which was used to introduce new safety precautions and a new normal during a pandemic.
We'll all be close to completing two years of working from home, and the pandemic has shown us that it's doable (or not).
As the number of coronavirus cases rises and more businesses agree to the social-distancing procedures that health officials claim will help slow the spread of COVID-19, the virus's respiratory ailment, it's a situation that's been playing out across the country. Large tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, which have big populations in Seattle and other pandemic-affected locations, were among the first to implement remote work arrangements for many or all of their employees around the world.
Does it, however, help businesses succeed? Is this a new normal that businesses will adopt indefinitely? Is it still the case that corporations are waiting for employees to return to their desks?
Business executives must first set an objective before implementing remote working. COVID-19 isn't a goal in and of itself. Beyond the needs of the current crisis, company executives should consider why they wish to employ remote working. Is it intended to save workplace space? Is it possible to save commuting time or inject more flexibility into the workplace culture? Etc.
The first step after defining the aim is to adapt leadership to the new manner of functioning. To be able to communicate properly with employees and stakeholders, business leaders must establish a set of procedures.
Employees will need a set of clear rules to assist them in dealing with this new way of working: not just why, but also what and how. This direction must be reflected in a revised HR policy. Because remote working is here to stay, focusing on short-term solutions is insufficient. Successful businesses also make long-term plans and adjust their corporate cultures accordingly. In reality, the entire organization must be run electronically for employees, suppliers, and other ecosystem members.
During the implementation of remote structural working, firms must maintain track of employee mood. Company leaders should consider the impact of a lack of physical contact on people. Only when employees work remotely can they truly appreciate the value of face-to-face interaction.
Companies must encourage employee collaboration and keep track of how well they work together. Off-time activities such as virtual coffees or "bring your kids to work" sessions provide opportunities for teams to connect with one another. It's no coincidence that goofy games and video sharing are so popular these days: they're a means to let off steam and communicate feelings with others.
For a successful transition, use the right equipment.
When selecting proper tools, it's crucial to consider what's already available. If your firm needs to move quickly, the technologies that are currently in place can help you gain a jump start on complete adoption. If they are not accessible, or if they prove to be ineffective or inapplicable, organizations can install user-friendly short-term solutions that have all of the necessary functionality. Always consider what the organization needs, not what is popular. Every business culture is unique, and different tools may be required to maintain high productivity.
The following step is to expand on this. Begin the adoption procedure. Organize training sessions for staff over multiple days, listen to comments, and adjust as needed. This method of structural implementation is absolutely necessary. Working from home is an investment. Do not rush; instead, take it slowly and steadily.
COVID-19 compelled businesses to fast transition to remote working. Although the move proceeded very smoothly in a short period of time, business managers should be aware of a few dangers. After all, most companies underestimate the scope and depth of remote working deployment. A planned approach and a major investment in changing organizational culture are required for long-term success.
Challenges faced in setting up and implementing remote working:
The COVID-19 situation is presenting businesses with a slew of challenges in the short term. Remote working must be adopted quickly in order to preserve productivity. However, this comes with its own set of challenges. The following are the three key roadblocks to establishing remote working:
Putting remote working into practice in a systematic approach.
Companies that regard rapid tool adoption as a way to save money without making structural changes risk losing efficiency and causing frustration among employees and stakeholders. Simply providing the required infrastructure and tools isn't enough. Some businesses had the infrastructure and resources in place before the crisis, but it is only now that they are achieving their full potential. While tools are essential, a successful transfer also demands strong leadership, clear guidelines, and genuine dedication.
Creating a secure infrastructure for remote work.
Companies used to be able to manage everything from a central location, but now they must coordinate everything remotely. This necessitates extensive security and structural improvements. This is not something to be taken lightly, as cybercrime has risen throughout the EU as a result of the outbreak. It also necessitates each and every employee's dedication to safely navigate their work equipment.
Employees' professional and personal lives must be balanced.
Employees are experiencing a blurring of the line between work and personal life as a result of the early introduction of homeworking. Early adopters demonstrate that while this may not always affect productivity, it does pose a risk to collaboration and communication if left unmanaged. As a result, actively investing in your employees' well-being is an extra point of focus.
Remote working in 2021-22 and beyond:
Seeing a coworker's face rather than hearing a disembodied voice on a conference call creates a greater bond. Setting explicit expectations in terms of key result areas with particular tasks and behavioral targets is an important aspect of remote working. The connectivity between the technologies is particularly noteworthy.
There's a chance you'll be passed over for promotions or opportunities for advancement in your career. Furthermore, remote working is supposed to allow you to have a better work-life balance, but it doesn't.
What is the value of remote working today and tomorrow?
Companies can use remote working to make long-term changes to their working practices and reap the benefits in the medium to long term. Consider the following: less office space, less commuting, fewer business travels, shorter breaks, and increased employee attention. According to market feedback, remote workers are also less likely to take short absences due to illness. It can also positively impact a company's pay system and provide information about (HR) opportunities. On a bigger scale, remote working gives businesses the flexibility to react to unforeseen occurrences in the future, such as the COVID-19 problem.
Finally, remote working might help to rekindle collaboration and teamwork.
Finally, remote working might help to rekindle collaboration and teamwork.
Investing in remote working after the crisis will have far-reaching implications for how we work. It's too early to predict how much we won't revert to our old ways of working, but corporate executives should consider the possibility of these investments now.
Remote working is here to stay, and it will become more important than ever in the way we operate. Now is the moment for businesses to get ready for the "new normal."