Working from home existed long before the digital revolution. Novelists, painters, lawyers, medical practitioners (and many others) have been working from home for centuries. However, with the advent of the internet, the idea got redefined. The concept of a home office became reality for the corporate world as well. By the end of the last century, remote work was slowly being accepted as the new alternative to the workplace.
As years rolled on, more and more companies switched to remote work, at least to some extent. And although this became common, the entire world was taken by surprise in early 2020. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the workplace underwent a major change. In a matter of days, people were sent to work from home. Living rooms were remodelled to resemble offices and video conferencing replaced in-person meetings. Commuting to work disappeared.
The global crisis showed us two things:
It’s indeed possible to work from home and maintain an optimal level of productivity.
Numerous companies will keep the new, “home office” model even after the pandemic ends.
Therefore, is working from home definitely the future of work? And how should businesses adopt (and adapt to) the home office culture? Here are the five most common ways in which companies are making the shift.
1. Encouraging employee communication
Now more than ever, it’s important that employees communicate well throughout their workday. Being far away from each other, people within a company could have a hard time keeping up with all the tasks and project requirements. Thus, companies make sure to use all available solutions for remote communication. Project management tools, messagings apps, video conferencing platforms– all of these are essential for maintaining productivity.
2. Enabling cloud-based solutions
Access to offices is limited, and a lot of data is stored physically (on disks, hard drives, USB drives, etc.). In order to enable access to necessary data, companies are expanding their cloud storages. Employees can have any file they need, directly from their home office. Companies are moving huge chunks of their data in the cloud, which is why cloud-based solutions are in high demand.
3. Allowing a more flexible schedule
Working from home doesn’t affect every person the same way. Many people don’t have a problem with it; on the other hand, there are those who find it hard to adapt to the old work regimen. Because of this, many employees (depending on their role) are given the freedom to choose their own working hours. They can work anytime during the day, as long as they complete their assigned tasks. This has proven to be extremely helpful to people with small children at home.
4. Redefining roles and responsibilities
Because of the new situation, not all employees will be able to keep their old positions. Many are moved to different sectors and assigned new roles. Teams are broken down into smaller sections, so that micromanaging can be done (or avoided) as effectively as possible.
5. Monitoring performance metrics
In the end, it all comes down to hitting the productivity level and staying within schedule. Results are measured regularly; however, many companies have improved the ways in which they follow metrics. Team managers make sure that each project stage is met according to plan.
The lasting impacts of the corona virus
The crisis created by the coronavirus outbreak shook the foundations of the global economy. Many companies were forced to lay off a significant chunk of their workforce. Others opted fully for remote work, although faced with major problems (drops in productivity, organizational issues, employee anxiety, etc.). It’s definitely not easy, but this can indeed be seen as a new chapter. Office work as we know it will have to be reimagined.
In the years to come, remote work will become a constant, in more and more industries. Companies that promptly embrace home office culture will be better equipped for the challenges in the future.