Working has taken a significant and sudden shift as the pandemic swept the world by surprise. With this virus being infectious by nature, people are forced to stay at home – bringing work along with them.
Physical offices are now (almost) empty, and homes now have dedicated spots for workstations. The work from home arrangement has become the best alternative for these trying times.
But, if this arrangement is working well for most of the companies, the question is, why do we need to go back to physical offices? No one has the answer on when this pandemic will be over, and if we’ll ever go back to the normal we were used to.
Even if companies ask their employees to go back to physical offices, they will still have to maintain a safe distance and be far from each other. As of the moment, 14% of Americans are unemployed, which accounts for 30 million people.
62% of the workforce is working from home, and based on a survey, 3 out of 5 Americans prefer to continue working from home even after this pandemic is over.
With these figures, it is but right for businesses to consider the work from home arrangement as a permanent set up for their companies. Instead of viewing this as a sudden disruption, why not see it as an opportunity for change.
With this “new normal” here, employers and managers need to know about working from home in the future:
1. Working will be Flexible but learn to Respect Boundaries
Staying at home brings about new roles for your business. The boundaries between their part at home and work now merge, so while working from home, you have to understand that employees function as a mother/father, sister/brother, daughter/son at the same time.
For instance, parents will have to take care of their kids’ studies, do household chores, and take care of the house. Thus, be open to the idea that the work productivity from the home arrangement will now be measured through outputs and not overtime.
Also, bear in mind that the working hours are not fluid. Continue to respect the employee’s work schedule and don’t ask them to do work beyond it.
2. Companies must Strengthen Online Security
With online apps becoming your primary mode of communication, the company must invest in the security of these apps.
We can see a boom in the use of these video conferencing apps like Zoom. There’s a considerable increase in its usage from December 2019, which registered 10 million video conferencing to April 2020, which registered 300 million video conferences.
We’ve heard news stories of cyber attacks on this online platform. The world health organization (WHO) said that the attacks increased five-fold since the pandemic.
So, businesses should think of ways to secure their platform of choice.
3. Employers Must Learn to Trust Their Employees
With the WFH arrangement, companies have been scrambling in providing the right tools and equipment for their employees. However, because of this, haste needed to set up this new arrangement, companies tend to use ineffective tools and apps that stalls productivity.
This has led some companies to install spyware on their employee’s computers. There have been no clear gains with this kind of approach, but the possibility of employees experiencing low morale is high.
When employees feel that they’re “nannied” they will contact less motivated. Employers must learn to trust their employees and don’t let these “spyware” take away their productivity.
4. Broadened Application Pool
With WFH arrangement, companies can break barriers when it comes to inviting talented people to join their companies. If the WFH arrangement works for the company, then there is no limit on where your pool of talents can come from – as long as they can deliver.
Breaking the barrier of proximity is also beneficial to employees. For instance, an employee needs to stay in an expensive city just because that is where the office is located. She can choose to live in another city where the cost of living is cheaper.
Is WFH the Future of Working?
Considering these things for the WFH arrangement can help companies prepare for the known future. No one knows when this pandemic will end. So it pays to try to turn this challenge into a work from home business opportunity.
Companies like WeWork have successfully managed their company virtually even before the pandemic. Twitter, Square Nationwide, Google, and Facebook have announced that they will continue allowing their employees with the WFH arrangement even after this pandemic.
Study after study has confirmed that WFH arrangements work for people, so why not take the lead?