It’s a subject that has been debated for years, but it looks as though the discussions about remote working are finally over, with even the most stubborn opponents having to relent in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
While many forward-thinking businesses embraced remote working some time ago, thousands of other employers and employees are only recently adjusting to a new way of working.
For knowledge workers, where a physical location isn’t important to their work, it’s very possible that once processes are established to everyone’s satisfaction and the right tech is in place, there is no need for a blanket return to the office. Studies have shown that remote working takes frustrating commuting and office politics out of the equation and improves productivity and efficiency. In the past, the choice and flexibility aspect has resulted in more satisfied employees – though this would be a moot point if there was no office and therefore no choice of where to work. It’s also important to remember that not every employee has a conducive living environment that can easily be adapted to a workspace, and not everyone wants to lose the social aspect and daily interaction of office life.
For employers, while some have resisted a full remote working policy in the past, citing reasons such as culture or teambuilding or trust, there is no data to suggest any negative impact from remote working. It’s true that certain areas are harder for employers to measure or will require more effort to instil, but a strong corporate culture, full engagement and high levels of performance are all achievable with a remote workforce. There’s also the upside of the huge overheads that office space incurs coming off the bottom line.
That said, a global pandemic is no one’s preferred way of forcing remote working upon any company, and there are many that simply aren’t ready.
But, if employees start to question why they ever had to go into an office in the first place, or if organisations managing this for the first time see multiple benefits from it, will the new remote workforce become the norm?
Will we ever go back into an office?