Remote working has significantly impacted various aspects of workspace culture, environment, and interaction across industries. Remote working was only available to few people from the IT industry before, but pandemic led changes have brought digitalization and induced rapid global transformation to many other industries which were initially perceived as traditional and required physical presence.
Though the remote working practices were adopted as a necessary measure during the pandemic; they seem to be here to stay. WFH (Work from home) / remote working is the ‘new normal’. There are many companies that have decided to switch to work from home permanently and many other companies have adopted the Hybrid Work model. Employees are not ready to return to the offices and this has forced companies to adopt technologies to support remote work styles. Orthodox work culture will not survive in the era of digitalization.
Global Competition: New technological advancement and adoption has opened the door of global opportunities for job seekers as well as employers. If someone is staying in Delhi (India) and is not flexible to move to another city due to various reasons, they had to look for options only in Delhi. This has changed and the employee can now apply anywhere and can work remotely. Likewise, employers do not have to look for talents only from the location of their office. This is bringing global talents to one platform.
Missing Human interaction: While this is good for many, there are other dimensions to be investigated. Many employees still prefer to work in physical offices and miss bonding with their team, gossiping with others! or just meet a new person from another team during coffee/tea break.
According to an article published in Forbes on 13th Oct,2021, a study by Condeco shows that “nearly half of U.S. companies offered remote work options already in 2019. In 2021, this number increased to 58.6%”.
Remote working can benefit the companies and can increase profits in many ways:
- Reduced infrastructure cost: Remote work eliminates overhead costs like lease expenses, office furnishings, utilities, insurance, supplies, upkeep, and repair. Workplace cost and benefits statistics by Global Workplace Analytics reveal that IBM saved $50 million in real estate costs by allowing remote work.
- Increased productivity: An employee’s productivity depends on his/her lifestyle. Same 9 to 5 work schedule might not work for everyone. This flexibility will allow employees to work during their most productive hours and this will certainly increase their productivity.
- Employee Retention: Flexible remote work will help in employee retention by keeping them happy and healthy. Remote workers have better work- life balance which results in happy employees. Happy employees mean reduced attrition.
From the employees’ perspective, remote work has also created a different expectation where many companies expect the employees to be available 24*7. This is the other side of the same coin. There is a tradeoff here.
We should not hesitate to adopt new technologies if it makes our life easier and better. At the same time human interaction and emotions should not be missing. This is a time where companies are doing their best to be in the list of most employee friendly companies, while others are still clinging to 6 days a week work culture. For these orthodox companies, the well-being of their employees working for them does not matter.
But, in the long run, only the ‘fittest’ companies will survive.