The Covid-19, or coronavirus, pandemic has seen daily life as we know it change. Even now as lockdown measures continue to ease, individuals, and businesses are facing a ‘new normal’.
The way people work has altered in many respects, with remote working providing a lifeline for both employers and employees during these unprecedented times.
Remote working – or telecommuting as it is often referred to – is of course no new thing. During the pandemic and subsequent lockdown however, has transformed the way many people do business and deliver services to their customers.
The rise of online shopping during the pandemic meant many businesses could continue to trade, with even those operating traditional bricks and mortar stores making the shift to online only in a bid to boost sales.
With the UK wide lockdown now over, owners of businesses are moving with the times, and their workers are coming along for the ride. So, is remote working here to stay? Find out below.
A step in the right direction?
Even before the Covid-19 crisis, the technologically progressive world in which we live was changing the way consumers shop.
The death of the high street has unfortunately been a long time coming, with many big name brands closing stores and concentrating their efforts on wooing customers, fulfilling orders, and offering the products they are known and loved for online.
In some respects, the Covid-19 pandemic has sped up the move to online only for many and with distance no longer a barrier, remote working has provided the answer.
The government enforced lockdown saw many companies embrace remote working and the numerous benefits this socially distanced workplace has to offer.
Remote working has been proven to lower work stress, reduce a company’s carbon footprint, and save employers and their employees a lot of time and money.
An improved work-life balance is also more obtainable when remote working with employees generally able to set their working hours around their lifestyles.
Surprisingly, worker productivity receives a boost thanks to remote working. A recent study revealed that 86% of those working from home said they were more productive.
Further research found that telecommuters produced 43% more work than those working in traditional office settings.
The downsides of remote working
Whilst the benefits of remote work have been touted as one of the ways Covid-19 could change business for the better, the shift to employees working from home full time will no doubt affect wider industry sectors.
The already disappearing high street will face more closures as businesses close offices and other outlets in favour of work from home environments.
Keeping employees motivated and connected is another challenge that many businesses will face. Successful remote working relies on employers being confident in trusting their team to self-manage.
The boundary between professional and personal can easily become blurred when working from home but as this insight from EY reveals the employer has a vital and continuous role to play in helping employees stay on track:
“Through the immediate introduction of homeworking, employees experience a blurring of the boundary between work and private life.
Early adopters show that this does not necessarily impact productivity, but it does pose a threat to collaboration and communication if left unattended. Actively investing in your employees’ well-being therefore is an extra point of attention.”
It is important to remember that not all roles or individuals are suited to remote working, which may lead to resentment if some staff can work from home whilst others can’t.
Maintaining regular, open, and honest communication is vital to making telecommuting work for you and your team.
How to make remote working work for you
A number of companies have already made the move to permanent remote working. As you’d expect it has been the internet giants that have led the way, with Facebook, Twitter, and many Google employees now working from home for the foreseeable future.
The use of video conferencing and work management technology has provided great ways for employers and their workers to stay on track wherever they are.
More time is also being spent nurturing individuals and maintaining the relationships that workers have with colleagues and management.
As we mentioned communication is the key to making remote work a successful part of your organisation, and with this the remote working challenges you and your workers face will be easier to overcome.