May 26th, 2020
Remember when you loved having the flexibility to work from home? You saw it as a perk, while others saw it as a part of work-life and now it might just be a part of your reality – for good.
As businesses acclimate to what a new work-life experience will look like post-COVID, companies like Facebook and Twitter have announced a transition that will have their workforce working from home for the long-term. For Facebook, that would mean nearly half of their 48, 000 employees globally could see themselves working remotely in the next 5-10 years.
Shopify has followed suit embracing remote working permanently being in the driver’s seat of change. Will these companies eventually revert? Time will tell, however, it’s a new way of working that will have employees or as a new hire reimagining their new workplaces among other priorities.
Recently, I spoke about the transition and new work-life set up in the office while companies are preparing to have their workforce work from home and/or be a remote working business permanently.
This goes beyond how to navigate a new physical layout of your office and commute ride experience to maintain social distancing and now accounts for a new work experience that could find you spending more of your time working from home. For the long-term.
So, what are you in for?
Remote working or working from home has been such a hot topic in recent years as our workforce continues to expand into a multi-generational workforce. Expectations and values of work-life vary from the 28 yr. old Finance Manager to the 48 yr. old VP of Sales, father of 2. For companies to respond to what today’s talent is looking for, some organizations have been early adopters receptive to making changes while others have been less inclined to make the shift.
If a global pandemic doesn’t ‘force’ you to assess how you do business, let alone how you’ll continue to care for the wellbeing and safety of your employees and still attract talent, I don’t know what will. Now that working from home seems to be a part of what new work-life could look like post-COVID as an employee or a new hire, it introduces elements to your working experience for both the employee and the employer to take into consideration.
- Security & privacy
- Productivity & performance
- Home workspaces & co-working spaces
- Benefits & Compensation
- Work/home life boundaries
- Succession planning, recruitment & hiring
- Shiftwork & Flex hours
And more. The transition may appear easy given so many businesses have already proven that it’s feasible for the past 3 months, however, to make this a more permanent and/or long-term effective solution, there’s much to consider ensuring its success.
Scaling and growing your business are attractive as you consider less real estate needs and redistribute dollars to paying for a remote or work from home set up. Not to mention, what does remote working now mean? Essentially, in most cases, it suggests you could work from anywhere not necessarily from your home. So, what will the rules be around working remotely when you’re not ‘working from home?’
Other factors to consider:
- What new policies will be created to ensure productivity is maintained?
- What new remote working expenses will you consider should you allow employees to work outside of their homes?
One of the biggest concerns around working from home has often been around productivity and performance. How do you monitor employee’s productivity? Will employees abuse and misuse their time?
As businesses look to work from home set up long-term, they could also be looking into services like ActivTrak, Hubstaff, Time Doctor or Teramind that offer Managers a dashboard to monitor employees’ productivity. Things like monitoring employees’ screen time or screenshots of what’s on an employee’s screen at any given time are just a few features. Hello, privacy concerns!
Working dynamics will shift and be disrupted depending on your home life. Families, kids, pets and so on all play a role and are impacted as you set up for permanent work from home set up.
The work from home set up scratches the surface of the logistics and financial impacts that employers will experience. What hasn’t been shared as much is the emotional and mental impact this will have on employees.
So many have adjusted to working from home over the past few months grieving the loss of the physicality of their office life, the comradery experienced with colleagues and peers, likely not anticipating that this may be the new set up long-term.
The emotions surrounding loss, sadness and so on can re-emerge as we look forward post-COVID as companies transition to a work from home set up permanently. The ‘loss’ felt from those in-person meetings and gatherings are real. They don’t just go away and it’s certainly not replaced or offers the same experience as a Zoom meeting as we’ve all been accustomed to defaulting to.
As you find yourself in the decision-making process of transitioning to a work from home set up long-term, the planning of it will naturally take time as it should. The impacts could be significant if executed poorly yet there’s also a tremendous amount of opportunities and possibilities despite the impact that some of these decisions remain to be seen.
I’m curious and would love to hear from you in the comments.
If you’re an organization that’s considering a work from home set up permanently, what’s your biggest challenge you face from the list mentioned above?
Consider organizations like Shopify and Twitter who are already making this happen as I write this very post, what can you learn from them? Who else is already set up as a remote business and how can you adopt some of their ways of working to your business?
We may operate and do business differently, but we can also come together and learn from each other.