Over 50 percent of the US workforce was already working remotely in 2018. In the last decade, Europe’s remote workforce has seen a 7.7 to 9.8 percent increase. Moreover, nine out of 10 employees who work remotely plan to do so for the rest of their careers.
While remote work was expected to become a norm by 2025, companies have been forced to go remote five years earlier because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Most companies did not have enough time to create a strategic plan to help their employees transition into remote work successfully with all the right training and guidance.
As a result, many companies are struggling to maintain optimum productivity and efficiency levels while working remotely as they continue to search for the work strategy and tools to support their employees.
However, companies that see this as a temporary phase are shortsighted. Distributed teams will become normalized through this pandemic and organizations that try to “get back to normal” as quickly as possible will see their talent pools dramatically shrink. But to successfully implement remote work, companies need the right tools and the right mindset.
Remote work is here to stay
This pandemic has revealed that remote work is much more possible than most people thought. People don’t necessarily need to be in their office or have face to face meetings every day just to manage their work.
Moreover, offices will change with physical distancing requirements holding for the foreseeable future. Office layouts and capacity will be permanently affected. The days of cramming lots of employees into an open office setup are over.
As a result, most companies will eventually follow a hybrid approach allowing employees to come to the office a few times a week and also letting them work from home or any other remote location.
The benefits of remote work
Remote work has lots of benefits for both employees and companies.
Better work-life balance
By working remotely, employees can save time on their daily commute and start working in the mornings without having to spend hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Employees can also better balance their work and personal life in their own way which directly leads to them feeling happier and more efficient while they are at work.
Increase in productivity
Many managers today are asking the same old question that they have been for years, “If I don’t see my employees working, are they really working?”
The ability of managers to trust their team members could actually encourage employees to become more productive than ever before. Working remotely makes employees more accountable for all the work they are handling, which in turn leads to higher productivity and efficiency.
Moreover, when employees skip their extra coffee breaks, long commutes, unnecessary meetings, and other distractions to solely focus on their work, they are able to get more done in less time. Remote workers report fewer sick days and there is also a 50 percent decrease in employee attrition.
Cost savings for the company
With fewer employees in the office, companies can save on infrastructure costs since they would need a smaller office space and fewer desks to accommodate the employees. According to a study, companies can save as much as $2,000 per employee on their rent cost by just decreasing their office space and allowing more people to work remotely.
Shifting to remote work needs a shift in mindset
While physical office space used to be the epicenter of work, the post-pandemic world will see a mix of both physical office spaces and independent workspaces. Considering the recent trends, the future of work is remote work. Employees may still attend offices, but they will also work remotely a lot of times.
As a result, work will shift to the cloud and companies will need integrated digital workplaces that can allow employees to work seamlessly whether they are working from offices or their own homes. The idea is to give employees access to a unified cloud-based platform through which they can access all the work-related data, files, and tools that they need to manage their everyday work.
All of this starts by creating a digital strategy for going remote which aligns with your employees’ needs and everyday challenges. To make remote work a success in your company, you also need to train department heads and leaders for efficient remote management. After all, leading and managing people you don’t always see face to face requires a whole different skill set.
Take a bottom-up approach so that you can build a remote work strategy that is actually helpful to your employees.