With more and more people getting vaccinated, companies are beginning to open up once again, going back to the work-from-office model that existed before work-from-home became the norm. But is this necessary? Do you stand to benefit more if you continue to allow employees to work from home? Let’s find out!
What the experts say
McKinsey Global Institute’s research suggests that remote work and virtual meetings are likely to continue. Companies might reduce the intensity, but the structure is likely to stay.
The survey further added: “72% of executives say that their organizations have started adopting permanent remote-working models. Similarly, 70% of employees say that being able to work from home for at least part of the week is a top criterion in selecting their next job.”
It also said: “Even after vaccines are fully rolled out and workplaces return to the new normal, 22% of U.S. jobs could be done remotely for 3–5 days a week, while 17% of jobs could be done remotely 1–3 days a week—without loss of productivity. The remaining 61% of jobs could be done remotely only for 1 day a week or less.”
The research however added that the potential of working remotely is concentrated among the highly-skilled, highly-educated section, only in selective industries, occupations and geographies. With this in mind, take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the remote work model.
According to Inc., nine out of 10 workers who are currently working remotely plan to do so for the rest of their careers. What is helping them are technologies such as video conferencing software, collaboration platforms, and cloud services. This situation has been beneficial not just for employees but also for employers.
● Seamless workflow
The idea of remote working has broken through cultural and geographical boundaries and has brought a seamless transition of work that was missing before.
As a permanent fixture, companies can save a significant amount of money through remote working, since they do not have to rent/lease buildings and spend on overheads. They can take their employees out of traditional workspaces to where they are comfortable and benefit from increased productivity. The move is also better for the environment!
● Better work-life balance
Remote working has allowed employees to have a healthier work-life balance, while also improving overall performance. Since employees are able to spend more time with their family or friends, they are able to get back to work in a relaxed state of mind. Studies have also conclusively proven that remote working improves work-life balance, leads to lesser stress levels, better performance, and greater satisfaction.
There is no doubt that several small- and large-scale companies benefited from remote work. But this option also comes with its own set of challenges.
● Insufficient infrastructure
Poor connectivity has affected deliverables globally. Even in developed countries like America, the number of people who lack a broadband connection is significantly high, especially in rural and semi-rural areas. Imagine the state of developing countries then, where the bulk of outsourced work is getting done. Only big cities are viable as digital work hubs. The lack of digital preparedness can be a roadblock.
● Increased distractions
The pandemic has forced everyone into their homes. For some people, this may mean juggling several responsibilities and distractions while trying to work, creating a scenario that’s far from ideal for optimal productivity!
● Isolated work structure
Working from the office gave employees a sense of being part of a larger team. However, remote working fails in invoking the same feeling. This, combined with a lack of face time with co-workers and seniors has the potential to make it more difficult for employees to perform well and grow.
Stumbling blocks or not, working remotely is undeniably an interesting option. Industries like digital marketing, information technology, and customer service have thrived while working remotely. There are some companies like Atlassian, Dropbox, Facebook and Upwork that have opted for a permanent work from home model going forward. On the other hand, companies like Google, Ford, Microsoft, Amazon and Spotify are opting for a hybrid model. This is a combination of onsite and offsite working, where employees and businesses can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Whether a work-from-home option is feasible for your organization depends on what field you work in, your clients, the nature of the business, and many other factors. In essence, there are no right or wrong answers. Do you think remote work is the way to go, or are you a proponent of going back to the work-from-office model? Share your thoughts in the comments section.