How COVID-19 is accelerating the future of work

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

COVID-19 is forcing companies to redesign traditional workplace models. Many have sent and many others are sending their employees home to work. Millions of workers around the world are about to have their first experience of working from home. It is an experiment that will test the strength of relationships between employers and their employees.

The unexpected increase in remote work will be difficult to handle for an organization that had previously not allowed a handful of employees to work at home. Moreover, there will be a lot of uncertainty on the part of managers whether people are doing their job done or not.

People are generally more productive while working from home then they are in office. A two year Stanford University study of workers at a Chinese travel agency released in 2018, states that remote workers worked longer and were more productive than those who were required to come to the office. Along with that, the study found a significant decrease in attrition and sick days among the home workers.

So, even if you may not find a sudden increase in remote working arrangements fearing, still transition will be challenging for individuals and organizations. Just as some employees are skeptical of telecommuting others are anxious about leaving the working environment of an office.

This shift towards remote working is not all about technology; it’s about the working of organizations whether they promote technology to support employees in staying connected and in collaboration with colleagues. Social media, collaboration tools video conferencing can be helpful in recreating that sense of office community. It is only feasible when the organization is keen to embrace the evolving nature of work.

Below are some steps that individuals and organizations can perform to make remote work less stressful and more productive.

For an organization:

  • Eliminate murkiness employees that are working from home must have clear roles and responsibilities of the organizational expectations. They must be assigned daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly tasks with a review mechanism. With increased distance, there will be fewer interactions between employer and employees. So, the remote worker must clearly know what to do, when to do and how much to do.
  • There must be a clear schedule for regular connections among the office members, to communicate as a team at a virtual or remote office. Whether it may be daily weekly, fortnightly or monthly you need to keep a firm schedule. It will let the employees know they are still an integral part of the day to day operations.
  • Must provide flexibility so that employees may get them free from home chores like getting their kids off to school. It will earn trust form the employee and will also increase their productivity.

For individuals:

  • Remote workers must set up a small office at their place away from other family members. If they do have space at home to create an office at home then they should define an area away from other family members as an office. If they don’t have space they must ask other people to stay out of shared space while they are working.
  • Make some rules when you will work and ask other family members to respect your working rules. Must keep intrusion free environment while working from children, spouse or pets.
  • Don’t make your boss waiting or hanging if you are busy let them know about the situation at your home office.
  • Keep your home office fully equipped with the tools you need while working from home.

In the end, there was a growing trend of working from home before the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease made it an inescapable reality. Organizations that were already making arrangements for remote work, will benefit while others will face transition challenges. Employees can easily manage their work-life balance if they become accustomed to remote work.