How Will Working from Home Change Our Thinking Moving Forward?
Respondents to two recent Gallup polls indicated that the percent of full-time employees in the US working from home jumped from 33% to 61% from March 13th to March 29th. Possibly one of the largest social experiments ever, we’re exploring how the current necessity of remote work will change work in the future.
When BWBacon interviewed tech leaders about managing remote teams back in February of this year, we could not foresee how significant that shift would become. Those interviewed cited trusting their teams, ensuring they have the proper equipment to work, and using clear communication tools, like video calling, to garner the best productivity and engagement. Their techniques and management styles will be tested like never before.
Shifting the Paradigm
Over the last ten years, 83% of American companies have created flexible workplace policies. Globally, staff working from home at least once a week is at 52%. This indicates the rise of flex and remote work were well underway before coronavirus. However, launching working from home presents unique challenges of technology, and is still a complex undertaking for many businesses.
The coronavirus has triggered an accelerated test of remote work, and we are eager to see how leaders are energizing their teams to embrace the transition. We’re breaking down some of the challenges and potential beneficial changes that could result from this unparalleled remote work experiment.
Access To Technology Is Crucial
Technology is a central concern for businesses scaling their teams to work from home. From access to laptops and reliable internet service, to ensuring data security, the reconfiguration to virtual business must strike a balance between swiftness and reliability.
Services providers are negotiating with streaming giants like Netflix and YouTube to cap their bitrates, and decrease the demand of data consumption from their applications. For now, providers of broadband networks are hanging on, but there are concerns if the infrastructure is robust enough to handle an entire world moving online.
Remote Work Increases Engagement- The Numbers
While many managers are concerned about people working less when at home, the numbers beg to differ. Ample research shows that remote staff can be just as productive as their office counterparts, if not more. According to an Airtasker survey, remote employees work an additional 1.4 more days per month than in-office employees, which is nearly 17 additional workdays a year.
As it turns out, employees working remote could save U.S. employers over $30 Billion dollars a day in lost time and productivity during the coronavirus crisis.
Also, working remotely contributes to employee engagement and morale; agency is key in this. The overwhelming message from workers is that flexibility and choice should be at the forefront of remote work policies.
Changes Here To Stay
Here are just a few of the potential shifts and outcomes for the post-coronavirus workplace:
- Better Sick Leave Policies
- No longer will “pushing through” a cold to come to work be the norm, broader and stronger sick leave policies will become a collective agreement.
- Better emergency response and preparedness
- Stockpiling protective supplies and establishing comprehensive business continuity plans will be top priority.
- Businesses will save money
- If more people work from home, businesses save money on travel, real estate, and lost productivity at impressive rates.
- Productivity and job satisfaction will increase
- Turnover decreases, morale goes up, who isn’t winning here? 85% of businesses say their productivity was boosted when implementing flexible work locations, and 77% saved on operating costs.
- Pollution will decrease
- Already countries are seeing a decline in emissions and pollution, tangible proof that our commutes and excess of travel could be cut back and adjusted to help out planet Earth.
- Businesses will be more open to hiring remote workers
- Remote work will be in high demand in coming years, a testament to its effectiveness. Widening the candidate pool to people on a bigger geographical scale also brings diversity of thought and culture.
- Data and Security Optimization
- Overnight the demand for multi-layered security systems to protect company’s data and VPN services has skyrocketed, which ultimately will help us all be more secure online.
- Digital Training and Mentorship
- In the case of coronavirus, creative, virtual methods of training and onboarding new hires have been fast-tracked, and we think this digital transformation is here to stay.
- Rise in More Co-working Spaces
- We predict a rise in co-working spaces, or modular office spaces that can accommodate people flowing in and out. This will save big on real estate in the long run.
- Decrease/Decline of the Mega Conference
- The mega conference will no longer be the default. Stronger considerations will go into weighing the costs, travel resources, environmental impacts of hosting a conference in person over digitally.
- Technology Communication Tools become common practice
- Long gone are the days of only tech startups playing with virtual collaboration tools. Technology connects us all and will be more commonplace than ever with tools like Slack, Zoom, Asana, and Microsoft Teams.
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!