Is remote working the future of business and work-life in general? Indeed, the pandemic has thrust our world into an unprecedented period. The business world has evolved from one generation to another, each time with magnificent shifts in the normalcy of things and this moment is no exception. However, gradually, the new phase inevitably becomes the new ‘normal’. People adjust over time, settle in and adapt until we are forced to experience another bout of change again.
The advent of the pandemic has plunged the world into another undesired but meaningful phase of change, especially in relation to business. This phase has revealed what the future of business may look like. Many employees are prompted to shift to remote working, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, whether convenient or not. Companies, worldwide, have been forced to make a rapid transition to remote working. It seems to be the only solution if brands wish to keep their organisations afloat amid this pandemic.
The future of business, as we see it now, is taking a unique shape —employees are learning to work together and yet, separately. What’s more, companies need innovative solutions that will help them to catch up with new trends. So, just what are these new trends, how has the pandemic set a precedent for what’s to come and what can we expect from the future of business?
How remote working has evolved
Remote working, before now, was practised bylargely tech-based organisations and had not yet found its way into the heart of the mainstream. Many employers have traditionally discouraged remote working due to a belief that their workforce would be distracted easily if they were to work from home. Supervision and its correlation to workplace productivity means physical distancing can become a hindrance for businesses.
In fact, before now, there existed only a handful of world-class companies that hired people from home. However, due to a sense of emergency and immediacy, businesses have been thrust into remote working and forced to adapt. For example, Twitter has now allowed its 4600 workers to work from home forever if they wish to. If nothing else, COVID-19 has made both individuals and businesses more supportive of the delocalised work system. What’s more, the pandemic has illustrated what’s possible when it comes to remote working.
The current state of remote working
As it stands, the current state of remote working is still being tested by innovative organisations that are technology-oriented. The two significant challenges that discourage most employers from remote working include the inability to communicate with team members, and the difficulty to monitor employee performance. Thus, the evolution in the world of technology has provided solutions to both of these challenges in more ways than we think.
New engagement trends:
With the spread of video-conferencing technology and its evolution over time, live video meetings help out-of-office workers to see and speak to one another in real-time. What’s more, this technology offers them an experience as close to facetime meetings as possible. With a stable internet connection, remote working is no longer limited to telemarketers and customer service employees alone.
Also, forefront organisations and businesses that are concerned about employee productivity and performance have now created a standard key performance indicator (KPIs) for both their management and employees.
This helps remote team members to be aware of expectations and have their performance monitored. Research conducted by Airtasker shows that remote workers are more productive than their office-based counterparts.
Surpasses negative influences of offline workplaces
As useful as remote working might seem, which in turn encourages the adoption of a work-from-home program by both employers and employees, there are shortcomings. As The World Health Organisation explains, the physical workplace can lead to higher levels of stress, work-place harassment and sexual assault, amongst others. An online workplace can minimize these negative impacts. What’s more, findings note that remote working can increase employee satisfaction when implemented correctly.
Several studies have shown the effectiveness of remote working. What’s more, in the digital age we now live in, remote working may be the inevitable conclusion.
In a recent article, Forbes explains, “In our future workplace, more computer programming, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and engineering jobs means that we should anticipate more technology workers to want to work remotely.”
The future of remote working
From Fortune 500 businesses to small enterprises, every organisation has companies whose future were once dull. The outbreak of COVID-19 has proven, in many ways, the need for remote working and the advantages it possesses. Collaboration in distant closeness had seemed to be impossible for many years. However, with most people feeling bored, tired and disillusioned from the impacts of COVID-19, it’s clear something’s got to give.More test routines are still ongoing, as several leading companies contemplate this working trend as the future of business. While there are reservations, including the cost of internet and productivity rates, they are not unsolvable.Nevertheless, if the cost for internet subscription allowance to staff is the way to remain relevant in the market, it’s clearly an achievable goal with the right approach. What’s more, many businesses may encourage staff to join co-working spaces for convenience sake. To help this transitioning, various software companies have given the world several cloud-based collaboration tools.Therefore, as much as the desire and expectations of working remotely significantly increase, year-by-year, many companies are relaxing their approach to include remote-friendly policies. Businesses can save themselves from paying for expensive office spaces or satellite offices while giving workers the freedom to work from home and create their schedules with a set benchmark.Targets should be set with periodic monitoring and reporting systems, to ensure accountability and enhance productivity for each staff. This way, both employers and employees can have a win-win situation and enjoy a seamless work environment.Amidst it all one thing is certain; a future-proof business is one who is flexible with work opportunities and systems, even in economic crises. The earlier business executives learn to embrace remote working, the better it is for them.