Remote work is not an entirely new concept. In fact, it has been around for decades now. The only thing is most companies weren’t keen on the idea of their employees working from home.
Why employers aren’t fans of remote work
Several factors come to mind why most employers find it hard to embrace remote work.
First, most employers believe that remote work takes away from enriching corporate collaboration and productivity. They think that working apart from each other will make communication and teamwork harder.
Second whether they’re selling products like car audio equipment and accessories or providing IT services and everything in between, employers and managers feel that remote work won’t be as effective and efficient as being physically present in the office. They believe that employees with no supervision will tend to slack off and have a significantly lower output as opposed to being in the workplace.
How the pandemic forced companies to employ remote work
When the coronavirus spread worldwide, industries were forced to come to a grinding halt. Everyone, save frontline and essential workers, was faced with the possibility of losing their jobs as businesses were closing left and right. Some establishments closed their doors permanently with countless others filing for bankruptcy.
Almost everyone struggled financially as the number of COVID-19 cases continued to rise globally. Plenty of folks were forced to take online jobs that have nothing to do with their areas of expertise just to provide for their families.
Business owners, on the other hand, had to make the hard decision to incorporate remote work, which they were initially against, into their operations just to keep their businesses afloat. This decision was met with mixed responses from employees.
What once was stressful is now a preference for many
When the news that most companies and businesses are finally employing work-from-home arrangements, not everyone was sold on the idea. They knew the challenges of adapting to a new system which is very different from what they were used to.
Millions, perhaps even billions, of people all over the world dreaded the changes. But what can they do? It’s either they adapt so they can eat or reject it and go hungry. The choice was quite obvious.
It was initially challenging for most folks, especially for those who thrive in environments where they are surrounded by people. The new norm became quite stressful, and even depressing in several cases, as workers were forced to get with the program.
Human beings are a resilient species. We find ways to adapt for our survival. And after a year of working remotely, most people have already fully embraced the new norm. So much so that when calls to return to the workplace were made, workers have started looking for other jobs that will allow them to work from home. Or at the very least, they want flexible working arrangements.
The tide has indeed turned and workers now prefer to work in the comfort of their homes than return to the office. They found that they can do more things at home, thanks to all the hours saved from their daily commute to work. Plus, they also found more time to be with their loved ones, striking the ideal work-life balance they’ve been longing for.
How employers, managers, and human resources should respond
With that in mind, employers and managers should take into consideration that their workers are now different people. The pandemic-induced remote work setup has changed their priorities.
To these workers, it is no longer just about the money. They have now been exposed to the realities and benefits of working from home and they prefer to keep it that way as much as possible. Not only are they more productive, but they also have more time for themselves and are safe from any sickness or disease that’s going around.
Employers should take all of these behavioral changes into consideration if they want to retain their people and keep their business going. Given how most folks and businesses have adjusted to the current health crisis, it is safe to assume that remote work is here to stay. Actually, it is inevitable. We were already going down that route. The pandemic just sped things up a bit.
Business owners should take all of these behavioral and preferential changes and see how they can accommodate them. Whether they like it or not, remote work is the new norm and it will continue in a post-pandemic society.
What was a societal experiment that has never been tested on a grand scale is here to stay even after the pandemic is over. Challenges will be present as we fully adjust to the new system but our adaptability will kick in and allow us to thrive.