Once upon a time working from home was a luxury...
Once upon a time working from home was a luxury, now it has become a necessity for employees as people around the world isolate themselves from coronavirus. Work isn't somewhere you go, it's something you do, since the outbreak working from home has become a new normal and it's all thanks to information technology and internet availability.
What do statistics say?
"The productivity metric is proving that remote work is working" said Erik Bredley, chief management strategist at ETR (Enterprise Technology Research). He continued: "so we all thought that there would be some increase in permanent remote work but we didn't expect that to double from pre-pandemic level". 94% of 800 employers surveyed by Mercer, an HR and workplace benefits consulting firm, said that "productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic even with their employees working remotely".
How IT and Internet availability influence work from home
Broadband internet connection has made emailing colleagues and sharing documents quick and easy. With virtual teamworking, employees don't need to be working in the same place or even at the same time because the following options are valid:
- Different time, different place - employees work separately and keep in touch with their employers and with each other via email.
- Same time, different place - employees can communicate with each other in "real time" through telephone conference calling, video conferencing or using instant messaging.
- Different time, same place - employees can access business network or database by connecting to intranet or extranet. A virtual private network is a more secure but expensive way of doing this.
- Same time, same place - even working from home, employees will need to meet face to face occasionally. Email and electronic diaries allow you to arrange meetings and transfer documents, while wireless technology allows you to meet anywhere.
- Anytime, any place - mobile phones and wireless internet access mean that employees are accessible and can work wherever they are.
Twitter offices, San Francisco
Big tech companies are paving the way
Twitter based in San Francisco told employees in May 2020 that they could work from home indefinitely. Square which is also led by Twitter's Jack Dorsey adopted a similar policy around the same time and will allow employees to work from home indefinitely even after offices reopen. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also told his employees in late May 2020 that they could work from home indefinitely.
Working from home requires many changes, including investing in digital infrastructure for most companies. Having employees working outside the office requires reinventing many processes and policies as well.
Will the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?
Grass is always greener on the other side, no system in this world is perfect, everything has its own benefit and drawbacks, and we have to make the best out of everything.