The coronavirus pandemic brought the concept of remote work to the forefront in a big way, and it did so quickly. A lot of companies were on the fence about remote work until the outbreak forced them to jump right in.
As nonessential workers were required to telecommute whenever possible, it showed some of the weaknesses employees have in terms of managing a mobile workforce.
Now, some of the leading organizations in the world are saying they’ll have employees work remotely indefinitely, but will you?
The following are things to consider going forward in the post-coronavirus world, as you grapple with whether or not to let employees keep working from home, perhaps indefinitely.
Companies Moving to an Entirely Remote Work Model
Facebook is one of the biggest names that say they’re going to have employees continue working from home, even with the lifting of social distancing rules. Facebook announced that around half of its staff would likely be working from home in the next decade.
The CEO of Shopify said they would keep their offices closed until 2021, and then even after that time, it’s likely most employees will keep working remotely.
Twitter was one more major tech company making a similar announcement recently.
Microsoft said their employees could work from home until October.
Does that mean what’s right for tech giants is right for your business? Not always.
Can It Work Logistically?
First and foremost, while you might have found remote work could work temporarily in an emergency situation, is it something that can work for the long-term?
You have to sit down and think about what your employees do on a weekly, daily, or even hourly basis.
What is the scope of their work, and will it work in the long-term outside of a centralized office environment?
Maybe you discover that a hybrid approach works best for your business. In a hybrid approach, there are certain days that your employee spend in the office and others they work from home.
Sometimes there are employees in an organization who can work entirely from home, and others who can’t at all because of the nature of their job.
How Tech-Savvy Are Your Employees?
Working remotely requires a fair amount of tech knowledge and a comfort level navigating different apps, managing cybersecurity, and remaining productive when balancing all of the needed technology platforms.
Are your employees equipped to handle the technical demands of working remotely?
Some employees may not be receptive to the idea of learning a lot of new technology, which could indicate a remote work concept isn’t right for your business.
How Will You Gauge Productivity?
There is often a fear on the part of business owners that if they let employees work remotely, it will diminish productivity. A recent survey found the opposite holds true in many cases—one in three employees says they are more productive when they work from home.
There was also a study by Stanford that found remote employees produced the equivalent of an additional full shift of work per week when working from home.
At the same time, even if employees feel they are more productive, you will still need to identify how you’ll gauge productivity.
What a lot of employers find when they move more in the direction of remote work is that they end up managing results instead of style, and that eliminates the need to have a hard and fast way to track productivity.
Managing results over style can also help facilitate innovation because employees can think outside the box when they work. It can take the stress off you as the business owner and other company leaders because they don’t have to micromanage employees.
Think about your style as a leader, however. Is the ability to let go of the reigns and some of the control over employees’ day-to-day activities something you can realistically do?
How Important Is Corporate Culture?
There are ways to maintain some semblance of corporate culture even when your entire team works from home, but it won’t be the same as when everyone’s in the office.
How important is your corporate culture to your brand identity and what you do as a business?
You may find that having employees work mostly from home but perhaps coming into the office once a week can help maintain corporate culture and employee engagement.
Whether you move to mostly have employees work from home or not, the coronavirus pandemic did show a lot of business leaders they need to at least have a telecommuting plan in place in case of unexpected situations.