Almost a year into the pandemic and COVID-19 has drastically changed the concept of traditional workspaces, leading to a significant upswing in the adoption of remote working. According to a recent Gartner research, the post-pandemic era will see nearly twice as many employees working remotely on a permanent basis. A new Dell Technology Research revealed that 9 in 10 Indian employees (91%) are ready to adopt the new ‘work from home' arrangement in the long run.
Realizing the need to modernize and evolve during a time of uncertain circumstances, top companies like Twitter, Morgan Stanley, and Facebook have either already adopted a permanent shift to remote work for their employees or are in the process of implementing it in the near future. Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics, predicted that 25-30% of the global workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.
From being called ‘the future of work' to ‘a more sustainable way of working', it is clear that the pros of remote working outweigh the cons. Its increased adoption is a result of factors such as greater flexibility, increased cost saving opportunities, better work-life balance, and the lack of physical constraints while hiring new talents.
To understand why this paradigm shift working is here to stay, here are some of the ways how remote work could help organizations navigate a more dynamic post-pandemic world:
Putting Employees First – Making way for a remote-centric work policy
Surviving a global pandemic has changed people's priorities and outlook regarding their work and personal lives. Factors like a flexible work culture, increased employee autonomy, workplace diversity, and the freedom to relocate have become their top consideration when applying for a new job.
An organization that prioritizes these factors, along with their employees' mental and physical health, will see better results. With an increasing number of employees opting to work remotely rather than conventionally, it's time for businesses to consider and adopt working models that sit well with the demands and needs of their workforce. Doing so will make their employees feel valued and more motivated to make positive contribution to the organization's growth.
Less desks, more collaboration – Redefining office space
The current digital boom, coupled with the culture of remote work, has left top businesses questioning the viability of a physical office space. Considering the very real possibility that we might never go back to the old ways of working, organizations have the crucial job of reinventing office spaces.
With most people opting for a mostly remote working model, physical desk assigned to individual team members would no longer be required. This will allow organizations to redesign their physical offices into spaces that foster group collaboration. These repurposed spaces can be utilized for brainstorming sessions requiring face-to-face collaborations, training programs, weekly meetings, and get-togethers, restore a sense of community and belongingness.
Creating sustainable practices – environmental and organizational
Remote working has many positive benefits for the environment, as it will make daily commuting a thing of the past. This holds especially true in a developing country such as India. According to the data collected from cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune by MoveInSync, Indians spend an average of about 2 hours daily commuting for work – more than any other country in the world.
If more people start working remotely, there will be less people on the roads. This, in turn, will reduce the overall emission of greenhouse gases considerably, hence improving the overall air quality. It will also minimize the load on the current public transportation infrastructure in India, which can be considered overburdened at best. The minimal use of office spaces will also greatly reduce the consumption of paper, plastic, and energy/power, enabling businesses to achieve their sustainability milestones.
Dealing with the new normal – Remote work is here to stay
A survey by IBM to figure out how COVID-19 has changed peoples' perspective on a range of topics showed that 54% of the people prefer to primarily work remotely. 75% agreed that they would continue to work-from-home at least a partial capacity while 40% believed that they should be given the choice to opt for remote work. According to RFG International Recruitment's Talent in Asia report, 93% of Indians have embraced the option of remote work and 61% intend to continue working from home beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. When asked about the most crucial factors for a work-life balance, 66% and 65% chose flexible work conditions and remote working, respectively.
All of these are points in the favor of adopting remote working not just as a contingency solution but as a long-term culture. Multiple studies have already shown that people working full-time from home reported being happier than those who did not. An increased work-life balance, no commute, and greater flexibility and productivity have also helped people choose this new way of work over the conventional one. By providing employees with a flexible work environment, companies will not only encourage autonomy and optimize productivity but will also have a competitive edge in the market and become a preferred choice for job-seekers everywhere.
The author is Managing Director — India, LogMeIn. Views are personal.