Though Covid vaccination roll-outs have become more efficient in some countries, remote working has become a part of most companies’ disaster-preparedness strategy in 2021.
While only 16% of employees prefer working from home permanently (Global Workplace Analytics, 2021), it is worth noting that they are not against remote working. Rather, the majority of employees prefer working from home for, on average, two days a week.
As the world moves towards a post-pandemic era, will this work-from-home culture persist, or will most companies revert to 'business-as-usual, regardless of their employees’ new workstyle preferences?
Level of Employee Productivity
According to Global Workplace Analytics (2021), most employees are happier, more productive, and less stressed when they work from home.
With no office mates or a boss looking over their shoulder, employees find it easier to focus and get things done. For those who work in bustling urban areas, they can save up on travel time and avoid the horrors of the daily commute.
Conversely, according to Steelcase’s (2021) research, employee productivity level dropped significantly once the novelty of remote working wore off.
Not only the quality but also the quantity and consistency of work produced have decreased over time. Based on the research findings, poor work-from-home setup was one of the highest cited contributing factors.
The key takeaway here is none other than how conducive one’s home environment is for work.
To maintain high productivity levels, organizations and businesses must introduce a healthy work-from-home culture, guidelines that employees can follow, so that they can remain productive throughout the day. A good model of work-from-home culture to reference is by top software company GitHub.
The benefits of remote working are many, but only if management is willing to invest in creating a culture that supports the change. The first step towards establishing this culture will be exploring the needs of future-minded workers through surveys, knowledge-sharing sessions, or workshops. This is all to help managers create guidelines for engagement on their teams.
When employees feel appreciated and understood, especially during these times of drastic change and uncertainty, they will naturally become more engaged in their work.
They will feel a sense of responsibility for the company and its values, which is why managers should be providing them with opportunities to voice their opinions on decisions that impact the business. This includes changes to working conditions or benefits packages.
When employees are satisfied, there will be a positive influence on business growth.
Quality of Communication
Many workers are feeling an increasing sense of isolation as a result of working from home. After one year of Covid-19, almost 37% of Steelcase’s research respondents reported that they were feeling isolated because they are not able to interact with their colleagues in person.
To address this issue, management must take steps to encourage their employees to socialize with each other and form relationships through chat apps, video calls, or office events.
Collaborative technology is a way to bridge gaps in communication by allowing remote employees to work as if they are working side-by-side at a desk or office. Tools like Skype for Business allow teams across different locations or time zones to communicate easily without having to be present at the same time.
By enforcing a healthy sharing culture online, organizations and businesses can be assured that employees will make informed decisions and help grow their businesses in 2021.
Reduced Costs on Office Space
Organizations who embrace the work-from-home culture can save money by not having to expend resources on office space leases or furniture.
Instead, they can channel these funds into other business-building initiatives, such as marketing and providing more work benefits to employees to increase retention.
Social Media Marketing
With the pandemic-induced remote working situation, social media platforms have become even more vital for brands to market their products or services.
By actively creating online content, brands stay top of mind with their customers or clients. At the same time, it is more cost-efficient compared to traditional forms of advertising.
To maintain a healthy sales pipeline, businesses invest in content marketing on channels where their target audience hangs out online.
For those in the B2B sector, LinkedIn has become an even more essential platform for them to grow their brands. With over 740 million users, out of which only 3 million produce content weekly, it is a great medium for finding more business prospects.
With a content distribution strategy on LinkedIn, business owners can rapidly grow their businesses while working from home.
Sustainability of Remote Working
Envision what the future workplace will be like, in the post-pandemic era.
Will office workers return to the normalcy of working in a physical office, as opposed to working from home like they have been doing for the past year?
Answers vary across businesses and organizations, but a majority of them (72%) expressed the desire to employ a hybrid model of working from home and office.
Some even consider shared workspaces for employees living further away from the office to lessen the stress of the daily commute.
In short, many businesses might offer the option of working from home, but it won't be a complete transition. As more and more millennials and Gen-Z's make up the workforce, perhaps we would eventually see a future where the traditional office is deemed obsolete.