There’s enough evidence out there to suggest that work from home is here to stay. Collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams witnessed an explosion of downloads, and several people are likely to remain hooked. A Gartner survey revealed that 74% of businesses intend to shift at least 5% of their employees permanently to remote work. Even worker preferences appear to be changing. In a Gallup poll, 59% of workers who moved to remote work on account of the pandemic indicated they would like to continue working from home even after the COVID-19 crisis ends.
In an increasingly no-touch world, likely, this ‘genie’ is not going back into its bottle any time soon. Yet home workspaces also come with their own set of challenges.
The Value of Remote Working, Now And After COVID-19
Remote working is an opportunity for companies to change their way of working sustainably and reap the benefits over the medium to long term. Think of less office space, less commuting, fewer business trips, shorter breaks and greater focus for employees. Feedback from the market seems to indicate that remote workers are also less likely to take short absences due to illness.
It can also have a positive impact on the remuneration system of companies and provide insights into (HR) opportunities. Remote working on a larger scale also offers companies the flexibility to deal with unexpected events in the future, such as the COVID-19 crisis. Finally, remote working can give a renewed boost to cooperation and cohesion.
Investing in remote working will have far-reaching consequences on the way we work after the crisis. It is too early to say to what extent we will not go back to the old way of working, but business leaders should already think about the potential of these investments:
A new operational model based on higher flexibility and more agile and remote ways of working;
A corporate culture that is more connected internally and externally and where an analysis of collaboration can provide valuable data;
An alignment of business goals to the new cultural standard and employee expectations.