Covid-19 makes telework socially acceptable
As a result of the corona pandemic, teleworking has become indispensable. A recent Gartner survey found that three quarters of all CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) and finance leaders believe that at least 5% of previously on-site employees will continue to telework after COVID-19. In fact, a quarter of them would be permanently moving at least 20% of their previously on-site employees to work remotely from home.
While CFOs have long been faced with the responsibility of reducing costs for companies, it took a global pandemic to wake the world up to the possibility and benefits of working remotely in the long-term. After initial reservations about remote work, companies around the world have been embracing the idea of having employees work from home in the long run, through the use of technology which is constantly advancing and evolving.
McKinsey gives the example of a pharmaceutical company with around 10,000 sales representatives: In February it switched from on-site work to practically 100% remote working. With the end of the corona restrictions, one could expect remote working to disappear again. However, the company is now planning to permanently introduce a 30% online work model with only 70% on-site in order to take advantage of the newly developed online skills of its sales force.
While many workers learned through trial and error or resorted to spontaneous training methods in the early stages of the crisis, remote working is likely to become an ongoing task for those responsible for training. For example, sales teams can use video conferencing to effectively manage customer relationships in remote locations.
Organizations are now increasingly developing their skills online as executives now systematically search for the best ways to digitally manage teams. This transition is often easier for long-term employees who have established relationships and know their role than for new employees who have yet to get to know the company without informal office interactions.
After the companies return to the ´normal way of working´, additional collaboration tools and a new work culture will be available. Individual companies are already creating new locations for collaboration in suburban centers and reducing the size of the central offices in order to reduce commuting times for employees. This also affects the recruiting process as entrepreneurs look for remote work skills such as the ability to be self-motivated and strong time management.
The current challenges will cause employees to think about whether they want to work from home in the future. Research by Gartner shows that up to 80% also want to work from home.
The benefits of having more employees work from home include a possible reduction in overhead costs for physical office space, increase in productivity and efficiency, reduced stress for employees, as well as better work-life balance, due to the elimination of the need for commute and traffic, hence making time for work and personal life.
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This article was published in the Australia Freelance Market News 11/2020.