As COVID-19 wreaks havoc globally, most people have had the option of remote working from home for their jobs. By the start of April 2020, about 35% of US employees started working from home. At the time it was a temporary situation, all you needed was an internet connection and a laptop/smartphone. For companies, it has become more desirable to keep the wheels in motion by having employees remotely working from home as it also mitigated the virus’s spread.
Businesses can benefit from employees remote working at home:
Technology – When it was apparent that the Coronavirus was not going away, small business owners invested in the newest technology by installing new digital tools. Zoom application has become the highest in demand due to business meetings and conferences with employees.
Other technologies that are used are monitoring software that will track the time you punch in and out on the computer, counting the keystrokes, and other measures to make sure that employees are using their time efficiently.
Financial– Companies that invested in the latest technology are in it for the long run as there are economic benefits. According to a survey by software maker Atlas VPN, “monitoring a single employee working remotely costs about $7 a month and having an employee work from home half the time can save an employer $11,000 a year in increased productivity”.
Although not all businesses and companies will prefer employees working from home, some companies are willing to take that risk.
The shift in mentality –Most managers were skeptical in the beginning because they thought remote working was not going to be effective. After seeing the results of other companies, managers have embraced the idea and now most businesses have shifted their mentality. After the coronavirus, working from home will be a part of our lives because it has proved it can be productive in many ways.
Work/Life Balance– Working from home for months has given employees the flexibility of spending time with family while attaining their objectives or goals for their company. It is easier to encourage employees to work from home to utilize the available digital technology and spend time with their loved ones. Ultimately getting the best of both worlds.
Challenges that arise with employers for the “new” remote workforce:
Structure– Every company or business has its own structure for the office place, however; working from home can be stressful at times if a company does not have a clear guideline about what needs to be done. Having a zoom meeting can be effective about discussions or goals but the managers have to re-structure the workplace. Stricter guidelines must be put in place so that everyone is on the same page.
Miscommunication is a huge deficit even in the office workplace so imagine how a situation might play out with everyone remotely working from home.
Isolation– Physical contact is a human necessity even in the office. Working at home without the company of co-workers can be debilitating. No more one-on-one meetings, no power lunches, chit-chat at the watercooler, or comradery. Believe it or not, these things are important to an employee as the teamwork will be watered down. Some workers may feel isolated, and not motivated enough to get the job done on time.
Trust– This is an unspoken pact between an employee and manager. Can a supervisor trust that the worker will be using his time efficiently or get the work done and not be a slacker?
Many companies are not used to employees remote working and have very restricted guidelines. They will more or less “micro-manage” remote workers which can put on more stress ending in feeling resentful. No one likes to be overly managed and is often compared to being “treated like a child”.
Starting a new chapter for remote working:
Many workers have been laid off and were not given an option to work from home- alas the huge spike in unemployment. This is an ongoing issue as many retailers, and offices have a shutdown. It’s time to be creative and decide that you may want to assert your skills into unchartered territory- working for yourself.
It is a new world out there and no one is sure what can happen. The focus is to not shy away from opportunities that we have never done but to embrace them and try something new
Good Luck with the Job Search!