How has the shift to remote work impacted businesses and the economy as a whole and what does the future of work look like post-pandemic?
Remote workers use digital tools to do more than just complete projects, but as the sole communication with their teams. The rise of digital tools like email, smartphones, and Zoom over the last 30 years paired with the mass adoption of remote work following Covid-19 has made the remote model a logically sound means of working.
Remote work is a benefit that was earned, not seized, by workers through two years of increased productivity rates during Covid-19. Research has shown that remote workers, in fact, thrive at home in contrast to an office environment. A survey by Flex Jobs of more than 2,100 people who worked remotely during the pandemic found that 51% report being more productive working from home.
This is a considerable number, and one that contributes to squashing the myth that employees will become lazy if they remain remote.
what does this all mean for the future of office work? As companies can lose so much time and money from using an office-based model, remote work may be an opportunity to lower overhead costs. Of course, the mammoth of these overhead costs is office space itself, including rent, electricity, heating, security, insurance, etc.
The Advantages of Remote Working
Remote employees don’t need to spend hours in bumper to bumper traffic every day, which helps them spend more time with their family or take up a hobby. With enough rest and free time every day, employees focus better on their work which directly leads to higher productivity and efficiency.
A traditional employee is expected to work from office 8-9 hours a day, every week. Employees can’t just run out for a personal errand or take an hour-long nap break because they aren’t able to focus on work. They can only do all that after work hours or by taking an official leave from work.
On the contrary, remote employees, especially those enjoying flexible work, get more freedom to create their own schedule. They can work during early mornings to get the rest of the day free or work through the nights if that’s when they feel the most productive.
When working remotely, the focus is on getting the work done instead of spending a fixed number of hours in front of the laptop screen every day.
With no daily commute, no excessive coffee breaks, and no long hours away from friends, family, and kids, remote work greatly improves employee experience and well-being. Offering optimum employee experience creates a culture of high performance and efficiency where employees actually want to improve and succeed at their work.
Unlike in traditional offices, employees who might feel frustrated after spending an hour or two in the morning commute, feel more positive and fresh in the morning when they start their work in a remote office environment.
The Disadvantages of Remote Working
With no face to face interactions or team meetings, it can be difficult for newly remote teams to work together. Managers may worry that their team members might not work as efficiently as they would in the office (even though research indicates otherwise). Similarly, employees can struggle due to reduced guidance and support from managers. In many cases, employees even feel left out when remote managers are out of touch with their needs and challenges. However, to avoid this integrating a unified digital workplace platform to make it easier for employees to access all the work-related data and applications.
When teams work remotely, there are fewer chances of employees talking to each other about day-to-day things over lunch or coffee breaks. While these conversations may seem unnecessary from a distance, they actually help improve team coordination and communication within a workforce.
Going to the office every morning adds a structure and routine to people’s lives. In an office, you spend time with people around you and even talk to employees working in other departments as you take the elevator, grab a cup of coffee, or sit down for lunch.
What does the future of work look like post-pandemic?
Managers are increasingly worried about their workers. Personal lives were once hidden, but in recent years, business leaders have begun to peer through virtual windows into makeshift bedroom offices and chaotic family life. Employee well-being has shifted from something that was just paid lip service to a vital part of an employer’s role. But economic uncertainty risks affecting the changing dynamics between employers and employees, threatening to push well-being down the priority list.
Well-being is now strongly linked with the rise in more flexible work policies – namely where you work and when. The grand shift to hybrid working has yielded largely positive results – work has continued to be done and without the loss of productivity feared by sceptics. Some workers felt liberated from the office routine – free to organise their workloads to give themselves a better work-life balance and with extra time, and money, saved by not commuting. However, others experienced burnout from the perceived need to be always ‘on’, responding to emails and instant messages at all hours.
The shift to remote work has had a significant impact on businesses and the economy as a whole. Initially, there were challenges in adjusting to this new way of working, including the need for companies to invest in new technology and infrastructure to facilitate remote collaboration and communication.
However, as remote work became more prevalent, businesses started to see some of the benefits it can offer. These include reduced overhead costs, increased productivity, and improved work-life balance for employees.
The pandemic has accelerated the trend towards remote work, and it is likely to continue in some form post-pandemic. Many businesses have found that they can operate effectively with remote teams and are considering implementing hybrid work arrangements that allow for a mix of in-person and remote work.
The future of work will likely involve a more flexible and dynamic approach, with companies using a range of tools and technologies to support remote collaboration and communication. Workers will need to adapt to this new way of working, which will require new skills and competencies.
Overall, the shift to remote work has presented challenges and opportunities for businesses and workers alike. While the future of work is still evolving, it is clear that remote work is here to stay and will continue to shape the way we work in the years to come.
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