A global crisis is one of the surest ways to get an immediate call to action in our personal or professional lives. Having gone through a pandemic of this scale and still trying to get one’s head around the issue is a monumental task. In the beginning, when the Covid-19 hit the world hard, most of us were perturbed by the sudden change in our daily lives and work routines. With nothing else but sheer resourcefulness, marketers and brand creators have figured out how to adapt and stay productive during these revolutionary times.
The adjustment to work from home model was filled with confusion, tricky situations, thinking on your feet and moments of pure genius. Not just marketers, resilience came from all walks of life such as teachers working remotely from home to impart knowledge to school and college students. Remote working has proved to be beneficial for IT, Marketing, App developers, and all geographically independent industries. While the education sector is still slightly misadjusted, hospitality businesses have been suffering. Despite irregular distribution of benefits, the #stayathome hashtag has perhaps become as relevant as the #workfromhome trend.
According to Microsoft, remote working is here to stay. Their report shows data that proves that the shift to working from home has happened. The findings of the report were quite incredible in some parts as it claimed that this trend is now becoming a norm. In the first week of lockdown, there was a spike of 12 million new users which means that there are now over 44 million people using Microsoft Teams to work remotely.
Types of Remote Working Models
By now, we have realized that work from home is here to stay and it is probably wise to have a remote working model factored in to your work environment. But not all remote working models are similar; they have their own drawbacks and advantages. Let us take a look at a few remote work models:
Remote Working Model 1: Central Office with Occasional Work from Home
Companies having a central office and offering their employees the ability to work from home for a specific number of days per week, month or year. This is the most common model and also the most liked one. Its greatest advantage is that team members have a chance to see each other in person, work together as much as possible and connect to each other in real time. This model gives focus to individual lives and a much needed work-life balance. There is, however, a need to be mindful of the flexibility involved in such a model and being patient enough to conduct a small-scale approach based on the teams response.
Remote Working Model 2: Central Office with Work from Anywhere Days
Companies having a central office and offering their employees the ability to work from anywhere they desire. The only pre-requisite to this scenario is to have a steady internet connection and a working laptop. Basically, they are good to go from whichever place catches their fancy, the comfort of their living room sofa, their go-to coffee shop, their favourite co-working space or a beach in Goa. The best advantage is that team members are no longer confined geographically.
Remote Working Model 3: No Office With Complete Remote Work
No office space and all employees work remotely from any corner of the world. The tricky part of this model is to figure out prioritizing individual accountability, team communication and project management. However, on the flipside it can prove to be extremely profitable since you can focus on hiring the best pool of talent without being bound by geography or time zone. Using this advanced model you can stop worrying about letting go of star employees because they are moving cities. Startups who want to skip spending for an office space or small businesses downsizing can benefit from this model.
Advantages for Employers
The best benefit of remote working is that businesses can now hire the best talent irrespective of the conditions of space. Gone are the days when one could form a team based only on their locality and availability to community. Company executives also have a chance to reap cost-savings by letting go of lease-terms for office-spaces, reducing IT costs and travel allowance to employees. Employees also get a chance to work more once the time spent on commuting is utilized for producing more work.
Advantages for Employees
All the models of remote working mentioned above have one thing in common. It gives a lot of value to work-life balance. According to a poll conducted by Gallup, a lot of employees are reluctant to return to workplaces are they are not emotionally ready and fear contracting Covid-19. A lot of employees have also to take care of children who are restricted to home due to school shutdown. Employees get a chance to save money spent on commute and fuel costs.
The best-fitting remote working model has to be selected on the basis of the size of your company and team, the kind of work produced, and your operating budget. But remember there is always one general rule of remote working and that is “no one size fits all”. Your unique needs will definitely shape your choices to accept or forgo remote working models.
The online medium has given a fresh lease of life to marketers and brands with tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Social Media. The pandemic has changed a lot of traditional perceptions about ‘real work’. People once skeptical about working from home are realizing that employee productivity, work-life balance, mental-physical well-being and costs can be positively altered through a new working model. Another surprising element to remote working is its positive effect on the environment. With lesser employees spending time on commuting, carbon emissions can be significantly cut down and help in sustainable living.
A lot of companies like Twitter, Shopify, Upwork, etc are taking the lead in dismissing office centricity and even more, are adopting hybrid models for the future. The new normal has definitely given us a lot of food for thought that needs proper analysis and result assessment. Be clear about what you and your company want and chalk out you remote working plan according to those priorities. Following the herd and latest trend, without examining your own position will prove to be fatal. Therefore, choose your work model in the new normal with the utmost care and don’t let either traditional misconceptions or the latest fad to hold you back.
The biggest setback to remote-working is digital divide. In an ideal world, technology would be seamless and the internet without glitches, but the reality is far from this. With changing times, one can hope to leverage the technologies used during these trying times to set up new goals and better opportunities as well as greater success.