For better or for worse, the pandemic has undeniably affected all aspects of human life. From personal connections to professional goals, COVID19 has brought an indelible impact to each individual around the world that will be continuously felt in years to come.
Businesses have especially not been safe from the effects of coronavirus. One of the most notable impacts of the pandemic on companies is the work-from-home scheme that most organizations still use, even with restrictions slowly easing down in the United States.
Working Remotely, How It Works
It is almost with full certainty that everybody is familiar with the term work-from-home (WFH). But for the benefit of those who might not have come across the word, a proper definition is in order.
TheInternational Labour Organizationdefines WFH as a working arrangement where workers perform their jobs at home while using information technology. However, ILO mentions that working from home may be different from remote work.
Based onCambridge Dictionary, remote work is defined as doing work in places other than the office. In this sense, remote work is a much broader term as compared to WFH. With remote work, you can either choose to work at home, by the beach, or in an exotic place.
WFH or a remote work setup is not something new. Some organizations have been using the system even before the pandemic started. But the general idea behind most businesses adopting the scheme after COVID-19 is to have a system that will allow people to work while keeping everyone safe from the effects of the virus. With lesser workplace interactions, chances of transmission are lessened as well.
Effects of Working Remotely
According to a research analysis published by theUniversity of Basel’s Center of Business and Economicsin Switzerland, employers have a common fear that adopting a remote setup might give employees too much freedom and cause lower productivity. The study has found a different result, though.
After analysis, the researchers concluded that working from home positively impacts employee’s work effort. Having autonomy when it comes to managing own time and task boosts an employee’s motivation and results in higher work effort. The publication also adds that employers benefit from this working arrangement by saving operating costs through reduced office spaces.
But working from home doesn’t come without its challenges.
One specific problem employees encounter with the work-from-home arrangement is the issue of space. Some who live with other people find it difficult to have their own working space, affecting their work concentration. There is also the issue of work-life boundary– when one is at home, when does work end, and life start?
In addition to this, ajournalpublished by Harvard Business School states that employers who manage through video conferencing “increase perceived stress through continuous monitoring and feelings of privacy invasion.” To add to this, it states that constant remote monitoring may hinder creativity among employees.
How to Make it Work
Knowing the challenges accompanying this relatively new scheme is important to make necessary adjustments. To make it effective and work for both the business and its employees, there are some things to consider.
1. It is still a new scheme, and even remote managers need to learn.
Some managers are new to this type of working arrangement, and even they need time to adjust. Luckily, specific training programs can help new remote managers learn tools for effective remote collaboration.
2. Working remotely must be an option.
There’s no denying that different individuals function differently, and not everybody likes to work at home all the time. Some people get satisfaction from collaborating with colleagues through face-to-face interaction.
Moving forward, as restrictions ease, working from home should be an option. If a business wishes to integrate a remote arrangement, it is vital to schedule regular face-to-face meetings. This provides an avenue for face-to-face interaction and a sense that one is working with a team.
3. Feedback is necessary.
Even with a remote scheme, feedback is important for employees to know that their efforts are being noticed. It helps maintain motivation. At the same time, it provides an avenue to discuss company goals and make sure everybody is working in the same direction.
The Future of Businesses
With its positive impact on employees’ motivation and ultimately the growth of a business, working remotely is a scheme that most companies are looking to adopt, even post-pandemic. A few adjustments are needed, though, to make this an even more effective and beneficial arrangement. Business owners must look into this scheme to take advantage of its benefits.