The Coronavirus work from home experiment
As the reality of the dangers of COVID-19 gripped the nation, working from home suddenly became a necessity across almost every industry. This fast-tracked the adoption of remote work and brought about the longed for advantages for certain employees. However, introducing the practice without preparation brought about certain challenges. Perhaps not surprisingly, these problems are leading to innovations that could permanently fast-track increased work from home opportunities across the globe.
HOME LIFE CAN BE DISTRACTING
Without the sanctity of the office, work and free time can merge into a messy day packed with interruptions. Instead of grabbing a quick lunch with your coworkers you have to cock for the whole family make sure everything is in place. Workplaces aren’t the only places forced to close due to the pandemic. Having the kids home from school can mean hours spent on homework help and many interruptions during work time.
You Don’t have the same Work experience at home
Everyone with a laptop or smartphone can work from home, right? Not necessarily. The biggest problem for many employees forced into sudden remote work is the lack of convenient office space. Instead of a spacious desk dedicated to work tasks, you may find yourself sharing limited counter space with groceries. Your personal laptop likely doesn’t provide the same convenience as multiple monitors in the office and you might be uprooted when it’s time for a snack. These drawbacks can inhibit productivity.
Redefining the work schedule
If you were juggling your responsibilities while working in the office, working from home may be an improvement. On the opposite side of the spectrum of the employee who finds distractions at home is the worker who suddenly has the perfect work-life balance. For example, parents of young children accustomed to beginning the workday early might find themselves with the challenging task of redefining the work schedule. Typical work hours may be spent cooking and entertaining children, then work hours are recovered in the evening when there are few distractions.
Redefining the work schedule
Typically, if a new situation like remote work threatens productivity or income, a company would revert back to the earlier policy. However, the pandemic has forced companies and employees to seek solutions to potential issues, essentially forcing a type of success. Employees are finding ways to communicate effectively, delegate goals, and create effective virtual meetings that lead to increased productivity. As these techniques become the norm, the advantages could lead to remote work success way beyond the scope of COVID-19.
Will employees continue to work from home after the coronavirus?
It’s very likely that more employees will continue to work from home at least part of the time. The coronavirus has created a sort of forced trial period that highlights both positive and negative aspects of working from home. Without the option of returning to work, companies are forced to solve problems on the fly. By many, the results are considered to be a high-speed version of the way working from home would have organically evolved. Still, this high-speed evolution proves the potential success of more flexible remote options after coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Post-pandemic work from home conditions provide more options
There’s no doubt that a pandemic provides a stressful atmosphere for any working situation. If you weren’t previously working from home, you likely had a pretty steep learning curve to become accustomed to the change. Many workers will have spent more than two months working from home when workplaces reopen. Schools will reopen as well, providing parents with a less distracting workday.
Perhaps the most important change for many workplaces is the opportunity to take advantage of both options. The secret to work-at-home success across many industries is part-time remote work. The option to have in-office collaboration and group meetings a few or even one day a week can make all the difference in production when workers return home.
Fewer Expenses create new opportunities for startups
Start-ups face many expenses that might not provide an immediate return. In other words, start-up businesses are always taking risks. Remote work can actually prove less expensive for these newer companies. Working remotely cuts costs in many areas and provides employees with the opportunity to work out the kinks early in the game.
Remote work cuts costs for employees by eliminating commute costs and daily spending. Employers cut costs by eliminating building rental or mortgage costs. Additionally, providing office equipment at home can be cheaper than creating traditional office space. Taking the remote work route early means startups have the opportunity to explore cloud-based apps for connectivity as opposed to the expensive, complex VPNs typically used in office settings. These apps could prove to boost productivity with convenience and built-in security features. The potential for expansion is cheaper as well, leading to more advancement opportunities over time.
Many work-at-home issues will be a thing of the past
During this uncertain time, most people are in agreement that health is a priority. This means stay-at-home orders could linger considerably longer than initially anticipated. As technological apps and remote workers manage the problems to continue working through the crisis, many of the early problems will disappear. This success paves the way for smoother remote work options in the future. Employers who have already invested in the equipment that allows employees to work from home will also get a better return if that investment pays off for years instead of months.
Remote work certainly isn’t a new concept. However, the immediate long-term use of working from home was completely unexpected. While it’s clear that preparations weren’t in place, the COVID-19 „forced work-from-home experiment“ will likely result in changes that will see employers in practically every industry allowing employees to spend more time working from home.