Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything has changed. Many organizations have implemented work from home policies, while others have shut their doors. Social distancing has eliminated employee happy hours, events, conferences, or anything else where large organizations came together to network and share camaraderie.
Most organizations have switched to video conferencing as the go-to tool for business collaboration. Let’s look at how companies are using these tools and how they will impact organizations long-term long after coronavirus feels like a bad memory.
Remote Work—The New Normal?
Before the coronavirus, there was a quiet but growing movement to work from home. The statistics showed:
- In 2020, before the COVID-19 lockdown, five million employees worked from home at least have the time.
- The volume of regularly telecommuting workers had grown by 173% since 2005.
- Before COVID-19, one study suggested 73% of all U.S. companies would have remote workers by 2028.
- Two-thirds of employers say employees that work from home are more productive, not less.
Then came the coronavirus, where social distancing in the form of remote work became the new norm. Newsweek said, “In short, the pandemic has created a massive, forced socioeconomic experiment, with millions of Americans as the guinea pigs.”
When the virus was declared a pandemic in early March, many companies scrambled to move operations, management, and even culture, out of the office and online. Fortunately, there were plenty of online telecommunications tools for organizations to leverage.
Workers have been adjusting to this new normal, as have companies. While this isn’t the first time that a disaster has forced companies to telecommute, there is potential that this time, remote work is going to stick. Some of the difference lies in the fact that telecommuting was already a growing trend. More data shows working from home makes workers much more productive. One two-year Stanford study showed telecommuters earned a full day a week in productivity by working from home.
While we’ve been through countrywide crises in the past (the SARS outbreak and 9/11, to name two), we didn’t have the same kind of access to online tools that makes teams effective.
Another issue for companies that didn’t offer work from home before COVID-19 is that traditional employers may have felt, if only subconsciously, that their staff wouldn’t work as hard. Studies show that the opposite is the case and that employees have a hard time stopping work when they’re remote.
MarketWatch suggests several reasons why remote work is here to stay as a new normal:
- It opens companies to a whole new workforce. When companies offer remote work as an option, they open the door to a more diverse workforce.
- It helps cut labor and operations costs substantially.
- Eliminates waste and teaches companies to communicate more effectively across geographies.
- It reemphasizes the value of teamwork and collaboration by forcing remote teams to come together in new ways.
While there are always difficulties inherent in building remote teams, we believe that the new normal will stick around long after our social lockdown is over.
Talk to Our Team of Experts!
The Exelare team is standing by with state-of-the-art recruiting and applicant tracking software to help your remote teams excel. Talk to us about how our software can make you more efficient.