These days, remote work is a necessity, not a luxury. People are being forced to socially distance as much as possible to stop the spread of the virus, and without a vaccine in sight, office employees may be working remotely for the next year or more.
With so many organizations that have to adopt remote working, a unique opportunity presents itself for employers to think about whether some – or all – of these new ways should be adopted permanently.
The reality is that employees are forced to work differently, and it seems that many are enjoying the changes remote working has brought. There is no daily commute or office distractions, and it’s also easier to balance work and home life.
It’s likely that with so many employees having had the opportunity to work from home, more and more of them will expect an option to negotiate to some extent where and when they work.
Research has shown a positive correlation between flexible work and employee engagement. Better productivity, growth, quality, and customer loyalty are the consequences of better engagement.
Getting the benefits of flexible working starts with discussing the limiting beliefs that managers hold and supporting them to overcome the challenges of getting the best from remote employees. For example, there is a common belief that people who work from home are not likely to be productive. Many leaders face problems with managing the performance of people who aren’t sitting in the same space where they can supervise their contribution during work hours.
The key to solving these issues is communication. Maintaining routines like online meetings is essential to making sure people don’t get disconnected from their priorities or their coworkers.
Is Remote Working the New Normal?
While many workers will return to their physical workplaces, others may opt to change the amount of time they spend in an office.
Face-to-face meetings will regain their relevance once normality resumes since networking and in-person learning and communication are a significant part of modern work life. But the digital learning and communications that we have seen emerging over the past few years may become the new normal faster than we think. The modern workplace is now remote and mobile, and it is ready for this change. It is now up to companies and organizations to adapt.
As businesses realize the benefits of remote work – along with millions of companies being forced to adopt remote work technology due to coronavirus – the future of flexible work looks promising. We won’t immediately see the full effect of this. But, in the next few months, we’ll see companies starting to allow one or two days of remote work weekly. As they see the increase in productivity, lower employee stress, and better overall results, we’ll start to see the normalization of flexible work.