Most executives want people back to the office as soon as possible, but there are compelling (and potentially lucrative) reasons to wait.
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As Covid-19 changes everything in daily life, remote working has become the new normal.
Consulting firm PwC recently surveyed 133 executives and 1,200 office workers. The results showed that while most executives want to get the employees back into the office as quickly as possible, the employees are in no hurry: 75 percent of the executives expect to have at least half of the employees back in the office by July 2021, however only 61 percent of employees expect to spend half of their working hours in the office by then.
As a CEO or manager, transitioning to work from home can be a headache – but the benefits aren't just for employees.
Related: 3 Trends That Will Define Remote Working In 2021
Benefits of the new normal
First, employers can save a lot of office space, whether they want to keep the office completely remote or adapt the office to a hybrid space with a more flexible schedule. Depending on the size of the company, this could mean consolidating office space, removing satellite locations, or moving to smaller rooms. In any case, the potential for savings is enormous.
When you work from home, you save greenhouse gas emissions. Research shows that employees who work from home in the US save about 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gas every year by not commuting to work.
The other big benefit we've seen in the new normal is productivity: 34 percent of employees say they work more productively from home than they did before the pandemic, and 52 percent of managers agree. Those who are more productive are also more likely to say that their companies have improved in terms of customer service and collaboration on new projects.
In addition, working remotely means you can hire top talent. Mark Zuckerberg announced that up to 50 percent of Facebook employees could be away within the next five or ten years to create "broad economic prosperity" that will enable Facebook to meet people from different communities with different backgrounds and diverse Settings adjust perspectives. When you hire remotely, you have access to a global talent pool.
Related: The setting of virtual assistants is the "new normal"
Do the new normal job for you
Not all roles and industries are good for working from home. If your company has roles that fit into working remotely, there are a few steps you can take to help employees manage it successfully.
Communication. Since you are not seeing your employees face to face, it is imperative that there is a clear line of communication and that these lines remain open. Decide which tools your teams will use to communicate. Use video chat to strengthen the close relationships between employees and managers.
Set clear expectations and key figures. Employees working remotely may feel like they need to be available at all times or they may feel like no one is watching them and they can slack off. Set clear schedule expectations, stamp or check in and log out. Create clear, measurable metrics. Be open about what these are and how they are measured, just like you would in the office.
Have consistent one-on-one interviews. These meetings should take place via video chat and make employees feel connected. You don't have to limit yourself to monthly success check-ins either. A quick ten minute meeting a week can do wonders for the sense of connectedness that remote working is sometimes lacking.
Send frequent company updates. All employees should be aware of what is going on in the company. Company updates are another way to ensure remote workers feel involved.
Create strong career development practices. Treating remote workers like contractors or freelancers is a common mistake. Make sure management provides clear pathways to their employees for career opportunities.
Train managers well. Managers will do most of the legwork to make sure remote workers are connected and comfortable. They track productivity and make sure the remote workers are doing the job. Make sure your managers have solid online communication skills so they can build rapport, improve morale, and offer support.
There are many positive effects of the new normal. Working from home can be extremely beneficial for both employers and employees – from lower costs to higher productivity. If your industry allows remote working, then this might be for you.
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