Long gone are the days when we discussed how revolutionary it was for everyone to start working from home.
Switching on the laptop while chugging the morning coffee was one of the very few things we expected out of remote work – the rest of it is a rollercoaster ride, nonetheless.
Apart from a metamorphosed brain and glowing skin, more things tag along with this changed work-life schedule. People’s perception of workplaces has changed. Some of these changes may be temporary, like the unwillingness to socialize for a few weeks. But some of them will stay and impact the future of offices, the cities they reside in, and the people who work in them.
Let’s leave aside the obvious impacts on productivity, flexibility, working environment, and work-life balance. Let’s shed some light on the permanent consequences of the remote revolution. Here’s what work from home is doing to the working sector:
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1. Diverse, intercultural environment
More people are willing to work from home, and offices are ready to let them do so. Many companies initially feared hiring permanent employees from a distance. But an eventual evolution in workforce management has made it possible for them to rely upon telecommuters.
As a matter of fact, people hesitant to move abroad can now work from their hometown. Training, internships, and hiring from a distance are no big deal and never will be. The use of communication apps for chatting and video conferences has helped bridge this gap.
Offices have witnessed a surge in generational and cultural diversity in the last couple of months. The numbers are bound to go higher, and let us all prepare for it!
2. A boon for night owls
Companies introduced flexible shifts at the very beginning of 2020 to avoid mismanagement of personal and professional lives. As a result, employees started completing their projects according to their work schedule and Circadian Rhythm. There is less pressure on the night owls now, and the perception of a Happy, healthy early bird has somewhat changed.
Companies are becoming more lenient with the shift that their staff chooses. And while there are, still, regulations revolving around log-in and log-out timings – the rigidity has diluted close to nil.
Despite the former perception of a working routine and productivity hours, we witnessed that the most productive employees who work from home are the ones who stick to their rhythms and not their schedules.
3. Tasks completed > working hours
People no longer complain about working overtime despite completing their projects (unless there’s something super urgent in the loop). Managers focus more on individual productivity graphs and actual productivity hours rather than screen time.
Use of tools like EmpMonitor, Time Doctor, etc., come in handy so that HR and managers can track their staff. Workplaces are now more transparent, and people value work over anything else.
4. Less paid and unpaid leave
Employees no longer feel the need to take leave. Now that they can continue their pending tasks from home, there’s no point in piling up the work. Although sick leave is inevitable, people save it for later (just in case they can’t work from home as well). As a result, employees are already taking less leave.
Also, as stated above, employees have become more responsible with their work. As a result, taking long leave doesn’t seem like a viable option for most of us.
In 2020, almost half of us took less than 25% of assigned leave, and maybe a quarter of us took no leave at all! The numbers may fluctuate every year, especially now with offices opening their gates. But the bottom line remains – people will take less leave.
5. Transformed policies and norms
Remote work is not a luxury, and we all understand it now. But it exposed some very inherent flaws in company policies – especially in the corporate sector. Employers now understand the importance of flexibility, data security, constant communication, and the need for incorporating everything under their policies to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.
Such developments and amendments in policies are prerequisites to establishing a healthy workplace where everyone practices fair play.
With lots of people telecommuting comes the responsibility of drafting policies that safeguard the company’s data while keeping employee privacy, productivity, and personal life in mind. It is important to note that the companies that faced difficulties in adapting to the changing work environment during remote work witnessed a downfall in productivity and revenues.
6. Better managers and leaders
It took us a while to draw a line between the personal and professional hours. And management skills played a pivotal role in it. As our team leaders and managers couldn’t be physically present around us, it necessitated us to be more responsible with our tasks.
It is what remote work does – it generates more responsive and efficient employees who meet deadlines faster without compromising the working quality.
As a result, dedicated employees are the new normal. And while people may still yawn at their last task of the day, they will be, overall, better managers at work. Newbies and interns will learn these qualities from their seniors, too.
7. A step to gender equality
Many women give up their dream jobs and resort to being a homemaker. And while there’s nothing wrong with letting people decide for themselves, it has long been a debate for people to choose between their career and family. But the work from home revolution changed this by bringing the workplace inside everyone’s home.
In another scenario, colleagues stay more formal and deal less with their emotional side of the brain when working digitally. As a result, people won’t unconsciously favor men over women or vice versa. Plus, there’s a reduced wage gap.
Nevertheless, remote work has sequentially facilitated people in reducing the cognitive biases that may exist beforehand. Encouraging this healthy behavior will ultimately remove any barriers that people face in their personal and professional growth.
8. Better employee retention
With little to no expenses on the commute, wardrobe, and meals, employees are already happy with their remote work routine. And while a handsome salary and savings are crucial, they are not enough for retaining a frustrated employee. The solution is to end the frustration – something which companies already did this lockdown.
As I discussed above, policies have changed. And they have changed for good. Companies are now focusing more on employee collaboration, communication, and transparency. Employee satisfaction is a priority now more than ever.
Employers no longer treat their staff like company statistics anymore. And with flexible, evolving, and open-door policies, employees feel happier and more connected to their workplaces.
Forge ahead to a better workplace
Have you been a pioneer in growing your organization during the crisis? We are glad to have you here! Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter if you have experienced the impact of this pandemic on your workplaces first-hand. It caused a seismic shift in our work culture. And it’s pretty safe to say we never saw it coming.
Do you have something else to add? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!
Guest author: Deepa Kotwani Ghosh is a technology entrepreneur and a passionate content marketer, having years of experience in fast-paced enterprises. Deepa is a product enthusiast and has brought success to her venture Globussoft. She also owns products like EmpMonitor, Socinator, and many mobile apps in the social media automation space which have millions of users.