Work from home is the new trend of 2020. An enforced trend or a compromised way out, whatever one may call it, but it has become the norm of today. Many of the companies have now gone online. This digital transformation was uncertain but quick. Where in the past, when employers had less confidence in their employees working from home, (less than 50% of employees in the UK indicated working from home in pre-Covid-19 time), the sudden transformation in the working style has gotten the figure of employees working from home up to around 60-80%, in each country respectively.
In the past, the orientation towards remote sensing was far too less. The actual physical working space, face to face interactions were all valued factors when imagining of perfect workspace. With the changing circumstances, the digital transformation has brought about a change, that might have taken more coming decades otherwise.
Remote Working Comes With Some Pros and Some Cons
The pros and cons of remote working are now evident. But most part of the ‘cons’ is owing to the fact that this shift was unseen and the arrangements were done abruptly. Such an unprecedented global shift does come with cons of its own when things are done haphazardly.
Also, the human need of the presence of a ‘co-worker’ is inherent, as a human is a social animal. But extroverts find it more suitable to work in the presence of co-workers tapping and chatting around. The current circumstances have pushed everyone inside cubes of their homes, and to work there. This is a great time to measure the productivity keeping in mind this human instinct.
Co-working ensures more discipline, while in digital working, people tend to lose motivation. It is because a physical working space provides a constant reminder to stay steadfast in one’s job. While, in digital space, it is difficult to ensure enduring motivation. A walk to work is a sort of warming up for the upcoming hours of work. While otherwise, it is completely absent.
The space between working hours and non-working hours also seems to fade away with time. When the home environment becomes working environment, a manager expects the employees to be available 27/7. Remote working can promise freedom but at times it can result yielding out in the exact opposite. In the words of one of the employees:
“I didn’t have the concept of free time until I found myself scheduling four-hour meetings in my diary titled ‘downtime’. It’s insane; I look back at this period in my life and wonder why it took so long to burnout.”
But putting aside that, remote working in today’s world is seeing many positive outcomes. Such as, the huge interaction between employees and employers. In the companies, where the interaction was not high, now the times have made it necessary to connect with the huge numbers of employees directly in digital space. This has, in turn, resulted in The high level of engagement is linked to growth, quality, and productivity.
Employers are showing more flexibility and open-minded approach towards working environment and innovative ideas. While in past, the scientific management design was more or less appreciated. Now, the sudden change of circumstances has to lead to the adaptability of new ideas within days. The continuous innovation is quicker than ever and it might lead to perfecting the idea of remote working. As Karen Gately, the founder of Corporate Dojo said:
“Now is the time for leaders to deliberately explore their beliefs and challenge those that may have in the past kept them closed-minded to flexible work options.”
Less time is wasted on daily commute and physical interactions; this is continuously pointed out fact nowadays. But along with that, the pre and after tiredness of working hours has vanished the tiresome working routines. That is obviously helpful in catalyzing productivity and relieving stress, unlike the previous hectic routines. The time saved by avoidance of commute and other activities is yet can be utilized on some other work that lingered in the background but never found time to be done with.
A greater understanding of employees’ family needs and schedule flexibility is now accepted by the employers. As the work has shifted from physical office spaces to home, a new level of understanding has been created among managers and employees regarding the acknowledgment of the personal lives of the workers. The office works had in past completely cut off the personal lives of workers and hence rarely recognized by the managers. This is a positive step in terms of busting the myth that productivity is solely based on discipline and dictating. Now, when the employees will build a relationship with the work, they will see it from different angles and with more creativity. Hence, increasing productivity.
Productivity Level in Remote Working
Whereas, as far as the productivity level is concerned in remote working, around more than half of employees in all countries have indicated that their productivity level is more or less the same, in every country. As the countries concerned, where there was more education regarding technology in the masses suffered less due to this abrupt change. But the countries lacking with the knowledge about remote working and the tools it requires have greater difficulty in adjusting to the new realities. And hence productivity is delayed.
Is the changing need of the time really shifting the offices from their physical space to the digital space? Well, that depends upon a lot of factors, out of which provision of digital tools to employees tops the list.
Provision of Digital Tools to Employees
The remote working efficiency mostly depends upon the arming the employees with essential technological tools to work from home. Or else, the idea of remote working is a mere facade. The employees will work with same or more productivity when they will be equipped with the tools required to work in a digital office. In first world countries, it is more possible than it is in third world countries. Where owing to the lack of essential tools with employees, the productivity in remote working can never be very much beneficial.
In remote working, companies have to provide their employees with tools and confidence to work from home effectively. That is one of the biggest challenges that is required to meet in order to make remote working a new norm.
But yet, provision of tools isn’t sufficient as long as the structural adjustments are not properly and efficiently made. And that requires a strong leadership with strong communication with the employees.
Remote Working and the Need to Educate
Now, when it comes to the productivity of remote working, the foremost thing is to educate the employees about the utilization of digital tools to yield maximum productivity.
Online courses will be a trend now to teach and educate about the technology and its use within the masses. Aside from regular working jobs, people are also inclined towards content writing, software development, App Development, and even the trend of e-commerce and its given jobs. All of which are done online. For that purpose, the sale of laptops and other gadgets have seen a jump unprecedented from the past scale. Online courses are in demand. And the aspiring new scopes in the business world have transformed many administrative methods rapidly. Which will further lead to the effective teaching and learning of new methods to work rapidly.
Covid-19 has put the world in enforced remote working. The abrupt natural causes have brought an about sudden and quick change in the business world with a digital transformation. This has to lead to practices to achieve perfection of remote working with each passing day owing to the necessity. Remote working is the new normal of the world right now, and it is holding its grip with each passing day.
Nida Khattak is a researcher, content writer and a columnist, currently working at Coding Pixel, a Website Development Company Los Angeles. She writes for various newspapers like Daily Times. With the passion of research and writing combined, she keeps herself up-to-date with the latest trends in technology and writes about it. Also, she writes on various political and social issues.