In January, I wrote an article about stepping into 2020 with a changing workplace culture. Little did I know that in just a matter of weeks, all that would change and take a completely different direction.
After I put my laptop away for the day sometime last week, I took my phone and opened up Facebook. Scrolling down my newsfeed, I noticed that approximately 9 out of 10 posts were related to remote work. One of my college friends had even shared a joke, “Are you working remotely or are you remotely working?”. That one got me good.
One thing I’ve been thinking about during this time has been whether remote work has become our new normal and whether it will continue to be so. When things like wearing a mask, using sanitizer, and washing hands have become so habitual, remote work really seems like the most convenient way forward for businesses to operate until we find a vaccine (in my opinion, at least).
Now, we have team meetings over Zoom instead of in the conference room and we’re discussing buyer personas that are entirely online, among many other changes that we’ve seamlessly adapted to in the past two months.
We are constantly talking about remote work, writing blogs about it, reading articles about it, and adjusting our work culture accordingly. In this process, there are some of you who are wondering if all these extensive measures are necessary. Is remote work really going to be our new normal? Is remote work going to stay?
Experts strongly believe it is and I agree with everything they have to say.
Bill Detwiler, the editor-in-chief of TechRepublic believes that employers are starting to detect a decrease in costs in terms of brick and mortar office structures, with remote working in place, and may stick with this arrangement in the long run if it’s more profitable.
This ties in with what one of my close friends told me recently; he was able to cut down on costs by not having to pay rent for the co-working space he had his employees stationed in. For many businesses, this cost-saving opportunity may prove to be a lucrative option, going forward.
There has been a lot of pressure on tech and IT teams to make remote work easier for employees. Beyond that, this change has forced employers and employees to rethink the tools they use to make remote work a success.
While most companies have internal communication systems in place, this shift to remote work has forced us to rely more on tools like Zoom, Office 360, and Slack to communicate and collaborate more effectively.
The latest Qualtrics survey revealed that a majority of Americans are reluctant to return to work despite the ease of restrictions. Even with recovery plans set in place and state bodies making plans to move away from remote work, employees may still prefer working within the safety of their homes for the foreseeable future.
In fact, the survey found that 66% of people still aren’t comfortable going back to the office.
According to the CEO and co-founder of Pesto Tech, Ayush Jaiswal, people’s realization that remote work is helping save time otherwise spent on commuting to work and the benefit of this for the environment is leading to a greater interest in working from home.
While the world was already taking steps to move towards a more sustainable economy, this sudden push towards remote work has proven to be better for the environment than any of our other efforts, so far.
COVID-19 might not have very many positive effects but as we plough through one of the most disruptive events of our lifetime, people are finding a silver lining. As we get more accustomed to remote work, employers find their employees more engaged, less stressed at work, and more in tune with each other.
My opinion is that we need to be equipped with the right tools and technology such as DNA-based technology, which allows people to get a deeper understanding of each other in spite of not being able to see each other face-to-face.
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