Will your morning commute from home to the office be forever replaced with a bleary-eyed stroll from the bedroom to the kitchen in your fuzzy slippers? Maybe — the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to rethink how to manage their employees and remain productive, and a physical office setting isn’t a necessity anymore.
Notable employers like Twitter and Facebook are giving notice to workers that they will be able to work from home permanently. Others, like Barclays and Nationwide have announced intentions to reduce their office space. “We’ve been investing in our technological capabilities for years, and those investments really paid off when we needed to transition quickly to a 98% work-from-home model,” Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker said in a statement. But, is the new work-at-home model a smart move?
Working from Home is Now How we do Business (In Addition to Working from the Office)
Before the coronavirus pandemic, many companies were debating the advantages of having employees work remotely. A recent report from OwlLabs shows that 38% of U.S. employees surveyed still had no option to work remotely.
Now that we have been subjected to an unwitting real-life study, many corporations are getting to see the feasibility of a remote work scenario first hand. Questions arise like, will employees be productive working unsupervised? Can our day-to-day business operations run smoothly? Can working from home actually increase employee morale? For the most part, the answer seems to be ‘yes.’
In the most recent State of Remote Work report from Buffer, 97% of remote workers said they would recommend remote work to others.
Those in the research cited a flexible schedule, and the ability to work from anywhere along with not having to commute as the top benefits. But, there is another side to the story.
People are Social Animals
There are difficulties associated with remote work. In the Buffer report, collaboration and communication, along with loneliness are two common issues that remain consistent. With the current social distancing measures in effect, feelings of isolation are more common now. People miss coming into the office and chatting with co-workers in-person.
Enhanced Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity
During the coronavirus pandemic, online collaboration tools have enabled companies to continue to interact and share ideas. But virtual meetings don’t always have the same impact that an in-person meeting can bring, according to experts. And let’s face it, you really can’t bring donuts to a virtual meeting.
There’s a reason “water-cooler” moments enhance our creativity. The exchange of ideas and brainstorming is a long-standing part of the creative process.
Having the Right Tools
Working from home productively is partially dependant on having the right tools. Let’s face it, if you don’t have the luxury of a spare bedroom or dedicated office space at home, you may have to get creative. In an office setting, you will probably have a high-speed internet connection, in-house IT support, access to plenty of office supplies, and, if you’re lucky, your own office with a door you can close for quiet.
If you have kids or roommates at home, you may well be at a disadvantage. If you are short on space, you’ll have to get creative. Carving out a dedicated space, be it a kitchen table, a breakfast nook or even a cozy corner in your bedroom is essential to keeping a work routine.
Here are some necessities for remote work success:
- A Dedicated Workspace
- A Reliable, Fast Internet Connection
- Dual Monitors
- Flexible Cloud Phone Service
- Project Management Software
- Noise Canceling Headphones
- Office Supplies
A Hybrid Future
For years after the coronavirus crisis is gone, we will still be feeling the fallout. But, to think that the tradition office is gone for good might be a little premature. Many of us will still be going into the office at least on a semi-regular basis.
One takeaway from COVID-19 will be that flexibility is a key to endurance. No doubt, there will be some who can’t wait to go back to the office routine and happy to no longer feel like a lab rat in this grand experiment. Introverts may celebrate the isolation while others desire the noise and social relationships of office life.
It may be years or decades before we settle into a new system that will seem to us, mundane. What is certain is that we will see more demand and accommodations for home and remote working. The office is destined to live on in one form or another, perhaps as a smaller or more adaptable space than previously. Hopefully, it will be a more streamlined and productive model that will encourage creativity and new ideas.
Contact Carolina Digital Phone to get your company ready for the changing business world. We can help you build a hybrid setup with the flexibility to work from the kitchen table or anywhere in the world. Call us at (336) 850-5400 or chat with us during business hours by clicking the chat icon on the lower-right of your screen. We are a local Greensboro, North Carolina-based business with over 100 5-star reviews, and are here for all of your remote working needs!