What COVID-19 Means for the Future of Work From Home
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The worldwide lockdown following the coronavirus pandemic was truly a time for remote work to shine if there ever was one. With most of the globe’s workforce being stranded in their homes and away from the office, the only solution for most was to move their labor to the remote setting.
That said, remote work was doing fairly well for itself even before the onset of the pandemic. Back in 2019, the remote staff of 33% of companies
was between 1% and 25% of their whole teams. While not a resounding dominance, it was still a pretty hefty share of work delegated to telecommuters. And in light of the recent lockdown situation, these numbers went way up.
This major boost in the number of people working remotely will undoubtedly have a deep impact on the future of telecommuting. But what exactly do the days ahead spell for it? Looking from today’s perspective, the writing on the wall seems pretty promising.
Learning What It Takes to Truly Work Remotely
For most organisations, switching to remote working in the wake of the lockdown was a matter of do or die. Telecommuting was (and still is in some places) the only way to keep the wheels turning, whether companies were prepared to make the move or not. To be sure, some did better than others. All the same, it was a valuable time to learn what it takes to effectively work in a remote setting.
You see, despite the growth of remote work (that is, before COVID-19 came along), there were still plenty of apprehensions about it. Many were skeptical about their ability to migrate to a telecommuting and keep the same level of productivity. Moreover, points such as a lack of close monitoring of workers kept many managers wary of letting people stay home while working.
There were other factors to consider, too. The need to have a clear infrastructure and facilitate simple communication was also a problem that caused plenty of anxieties. The right tools can provide all of that (like Trello, Slack, Skype, and many others), but just jumping headlong into remote work doesn’t leave enough time for everyone to get used to using all of these resources. A lacklustre remote structure inevitably leads to poor organisation, workers feeling isolated, and general chaos.
The reality of all these problems, as well as solving them, became much clearer during this COVID-19 ordeal. And when the time comes for the lockdown to end, all of those who underwent the remote gauntlet will emerge far wiser about what needs to be done to work remotely. That will prove to be very useful knowledge in the much more telecommute-centric future. Odds are that they will be much better prepared to jump from on-site work to at-home work when/if it becomes necessary again.
Remote Work Will Rise Stronger
The numbers show us that remote work has left a very positive impression in spite of the above concerns. This fact alone brought to us by Gartner’s COVID-19 bulletin
, should show you how overwhelmingly satisfied people are with how their remote workers fared. Namely, 74% of companies claimed that they will keep at least a portion of their workforce remote.
That decision comes from a line of noted benefits that remote working brings to the table. Saving time otherwise spent commuting is a big one, for starters. There’s also flexible work hours and less stress. And the employers benefit, too. Remote workers tend to be more productive overall, which drives profits. In addition, as much as 77% of companies
believe that telecommuting will slump their operational costs.
So, from everything we’ve seen under the shadow of the coronavirus lockdown, we can point to two near-certain predictions for remote work. The first one is that businesses will come out of the state of emergency with a better understanding of the ins and outs of telecommuting. The second one is that its merits will outweigh all of its drawbacks in people’s minds, leading to it becoming a more commonplace part of the working world.
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