As the COVID-19 Pandemic has continued, more people are working remotely than ever before. It's uncertain what the future holds for office work, but it's important to ensure your company can run from anywhere and continue providing support for employees and services for customers. Here's why.
1. Reduced Costs
Leveraging a remote workforce can significantly reduce company costs if you implement it well. You may need to invest in broader technological support for your employees, but on the other hand, you will no longer need to pay to operate physical office space, including rent, utilities and office insurance. Saving money through strategies such as these is imperative to the health of companies, especially in times of economic turbulence or downturn.
2. A More Popular Option
The most popular opinion on remote work is that it's nice sometimes, but grating to need to do it indefinitely. While the pandemic will eventually end and people will have the opportunity to return to physical workspaces, it's likely employees will be accustomed enough to remote work that they may want to continue doing so. In the future, your organization may benefit from allowing a more flexible work option for employees. Providing them with more work from home days gives them the opportunity to feel more comfortable, reduce time spent commuting and get more work done with fewer distractions. Allowing employees back into the office space, even with some potential social distancing measures still in place, will help employees go to meetings that require face-to-face interactions.
3. Healthier Employees
Overall, remote work has been implemented where possible to protect employee health. If a company is able to shift to a fully remote or partially remote workforce, it's advisable to do so during the pandemic. Even organizations in industries that need employees to be physically present may be able to leverage remote working in shifts for certain departments.
There are studies showing that remote workers aren't just safer during the pandemic, but tend to be healthier overall. Removing the need to commute and deal with traffic can improve employees' mental health and moods. The ability to work in a familiar, more comfortable setting, get up and move around during the workday and avoid ordering out for lunch can improve employees' physical health.
4. A Move to the Suburbs and the Country
The shift to remote work has changed both where and how we work. Instead of commuting to city centers, employees are working from home offices, bedrooms or kitchen tables. Many of these employees live in the suburbs or in rural areas. Even after the pandemic ends, it's possible social distancing measures may be here to stay, and cities may experience issues with that due to packed high-rise office buildings and public transportation. You need to consider your options after pandemic restrictions are lifted. Should you have your employees work part of the week at home and part of it at work? What measures should you take into account to keep employees commuting to the city safe and those working from rural areas with potentially weaker internet connections engaged?
5. Keeping Workflows Moving
Whether your workforce is fully remote, fully in the office, or a combination of the two, you need to avoid disruptions in the providing of products or services in order to keep your company strong. Many organizations have made successful transitions to remote work during the pandemic, but when you need to quickly shift your entire organization in order to keep employees safe and healthy, there can be growing pains. For example, you need to ensure that employee services such as financial records management are accessible by both remote and on-site employees in order to keep things running smoothly. However, if an employee doesn't have the internet bandwidth to support accessing tools such as video calls, that's going to cause problems maintaining workflows. You need to find ways to support employees and help them get what they need to do their jobs.
6. Ensuring transparency
Transparency is more than just a legal parameter. You also need to provide opportunities and tools for employees to feel connected to the rest of the company and for supervisors to manage effectively. Face-to-face interactions are a valuable tool for helping employees to build teams and working relationships with their peers, managers and new hires. Providing tools and technology to supplement these lost opportunities while working remotely is imperative to the health of your company, so make sure your employees have access to video and phone conferencing tools and managers have the tools they need to support their teams. The pandemic has helped middle managers learn to trust that their teams can work efficiently in a remote environment.
No one is completely sure where work is going as the pandemic continues, or after it ends, so you need to try to make good decisions to keep your organization and your employees healthy and safe in both the short-term and long-term.