If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there is a lot we took for granted. Those of us gifted more time with family may be realizing how much that really means to us. Others may be feeling deeply disconnected away from our normal routines. Regardless, the result of this pandemic may be a drastic shift in how companies will look when offices are fully open again.
For one, working remotely is the new standard. Some hate it, others love it, and a fair amount of people are indifferent. However, the fact remains that it’s a viable option for many kinds of work and one that companies may want to consider going forward. There are several big reasons, and even more small ones, that make working remotely ideal for many.
Office Proximity Not Required
We’ve learned with social distancing that offices aren’t always necessary. Because we have so many devices at our disposal, productivity is not limited by distance. A phone call or walk across the office is traded for a quick text which allows for both parties to remain mostly on-task. With the help of video conferences, screen sharing, emails, texts, and multimedia messages, we can collaborate and get assistance as needed. Quite frankly, the office just isn’t as essential as it was, thanks to technology.
Though distractions can occur at home, working remotely does eliminate some major stressors entirely. For example, outside of childcare commutes, people don’t have to drag themselves out of bed, sit in traffic, or swing by the coffee shop to start their workday. Instead, a pre-set brew on the coffee pot and a computer are all some need to get their work done. Eliminating the early morning and afternoon drive means more time at home to focus on family. Alternatively, it offers even more productive hours on the clock. In reality, not commuting has a lot of positive effects.
- Better for the environment for many reasons
- Less stress
- Lower likelihood of a car accident or injury
- Less money spent on drive-thru food
- Less money spent on gas
A shift in the structure of an average work-week doesn’t have to be all or nothing. While offices may no longer be essential, they still are beneficial for many reasons. It’s important to consider the community and employee well-being. For instance, not everyone has access to reliable internet or a dedicated workspace. Some don’t want to be “stuck” at home. When trying telecommuting, allow some flexibility with how people work.
Consider the Options
As the world begins to slowly reopen, you may find yourself evaluating how you want your business to look from this point forward. If you haven’t been particularly impressed with how things are going, keep in mind that many parents are working at home with children. Sharing space and technology with the family can drastically affect productivity. You may want to wait for more normalcy to return to get a clearer picture before making a final decision.
In the end, some will enjoy the flexibility of working at home. Others may desperately seek human interaction and be looking for any chance to get out of the house. One study reported by Fox Business found that over one-third of employees telecommuting right now want to continue. Now is the opportunity to review the numbers and evaluate whether working remotely works for your business. You may even want to poll the office for input on how to continue. Whatever the final decision, working remotely may have graduated from a novel idea to a new standard operation.