As the world begins to emerge from the coronavirus-inspired hibernation, organizations are evaluating how to ensure the return to work is handled safely and efficiently. For many organizations, this return will be more symbolic than physical as the benefits of allowing employees to work remotely have become too obvious to ignore. In a recent communication to employees, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey suggested they could continue to work remotely forever.
"If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen. If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return."
This trend is unquestionably gaining momentum as other companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and many others have formally communicated their intent to extend their remote work policies (some through the end of the calendar year).
At this point, the genie is out of the bottle
Experts are anticipating a shift in acceptance of these flexible work arrangements as the pandemic created a social experiment that proved to have a benefit for both individuals and organizations. “Once they’ve done it, they’re going to want to continue,” says Kate Lister, president of consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics. Individuals have reported an improvement in the quality and quantity of their work while enjoying their newfound flexibility to juggle domestic and professional duties. And organizations reportedly save an average of $11,000 per year per part-time telecommuter. All of this is accelerating the trend toward digital transformation of virtually every industry.
Short, medium and long-term strategies
Until a vaccine is created or the impact of the virus abates, many organizations will continue to be forced to consider new ways of working. There was an initial assumption these were all temporary challenges that would eventually revert back to normal, but the reality may prove to be more of a long-term shift in the workforce and the workplace. It is therefore important to consider strategies that create a foundation for digital interaction that can be built on over time. This should include proactive cultural shifts, reimagining organizational design, reevaluating roles and responsibilities and the adoption of new technologies that can enable this new blueprint for business. Traditional corporate practices simply may not be enough to survive and thrive in the post pandemic market.
To learn more about this topic and gain some practical information about steps your organization can take to create a remote workforce, read the practical guide for a remote work strategy.
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