There is an alarming global change in the work from home trend and views on it, post the COVID-19 pandemic.
About Work From Home
Working from home can be used as a synonym for telecommuting or tele-working which is nothing but a work arrangement in which employees do not commute or travel to a central place of work, office building, store or warehouse caused by an personal, economic or geographic reasons.
Research proves that work from home can boost employee productivity, improve work/life balance, reduce pollution from commuters and encourage better mental health.
Work From Home Trends
As per 2012 data from a Reuters poll, approximately only one in five workers around the globe, especially in Middle East, Latin America and Asia telecommuted frequently and about 10% work from home every day.
However, Gallup data from the end of April 2020 revealed that 63% of U.S. employees had worked from home in the past seven days because of coronavirus concerns, double from 31% three weeks before.
Among the many trends that are here to stay post the COVID-19 pandemic and are catching up fast are cashless and contactless commerce, sanitation, robotics and work from home.
Work from home has become the new normal for companies as they realize they can function without a physical office. Also, with investments made in employees work from home set up companies would be more willing for them to utilize those facilities for sometime even after the pandemic ends.
Pros/Cons of Work From Home
A recent survey conducted by YouGov in partnership with USA TODAY and LinkedIn revealed that 54% of the total respondents indicated positive effect on workers’ productivity for professionals in the age group 18-74. Reasons for the same are – time saved from commuting (71%), fewer distractions from co-workers (61%) and fewer meetings (39%).
However, loneliness was one serious concern that was pulled out from the survey data. A few companies that are experienced in the remote working category have ideas to alleviate these problems with solutions like – build social time into their virtual communications, play games with colleagues, spend the first part of every meeting on non-work, virtual happy hours, birthday parties, etc.
On the other hand, Global Workplace Analytics estimated that people could save, on average, $2,000 to $6,500 every year by not spending on things like gasoline and day care. Also, companies could spend less on real estate and focus on cost cutting strategies.
According to a Harvard Business School working paper from November, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office estimated that it saved more than $38 million in 2015 by not using as much office space.
A recent survey said that companies would save an estimated 8.4 million days of time if commuting hours are reduced amid the pandemic.
Fields/Tools of Remote Working
Some of the fields which would be suitable and at ease for remote working are – IT, training, education, content writing, healthcare, customer service representatives, transcriptions, data entry, virtual assistants and many more.
Also, to make work flow hassle free it is important that companies adopt a few tools for remote working like – Slack, Trello, Zoom, Tomates.
Work From Home – Only A Emergency Solution In Pandemic?
It is very important to understand and analyze that the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed mobility across the globe and thus forced companies to grant the remote working option to employees. Despite many benefits of this new approach have come in light, it is important to analyze these factors amid a situation of post pandemic.
For the longer-run, companies would have to update their policies and communications in order to achieve optimized results and enhance business operations. Only by sending a laptop home would not be a solution they would have to invest time and attention into the functionalities. Cyber security is also a major aspect which the company should be focussing on.
A few self questions which companies should be asking are – “What you do want to be doing is looking for the bright spots in your workforce, what types of jobs are actually working out pretty well remotely,” “Where are the opportunities in deciding who comes back to the office first?
Analyzing various solutions like having a diverse workforce of – a combination of remote, part-time and gig workers would have to be chosen for maintaining balance. Number of hours clocked in would not matter but productivity and delivering results should.
Steps Taken By Major Companies
Twitter Inc. (NASDAQ: TWTR) recently told many of its employees would be allowed to work from home in perpetuity post pandemic. Google, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), also announced that remote work policy will be extended till 2021. Most IT companies and tech giants are encouraging the majority of the staff to opt for work from home.