We have been living with this pandemic for around 4 months now and there has been a huge shift in working style. While this WFH (Work from Home) shift might seem sudden, remote working for workers has experienced a steady increase for years and many companies have chosen to adopt more flexible workplace models.
THE RISE OF REMOTE WORK
Data from GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com shows that work-from-home lifestyle has grown by 173% since 2005 and there is obviously an even greater acceptance of remote working than before the crisis.
But what exactly is remote working? Some may translate it as working from home, but it is not limited to only that, it can be from anywhere. It’s the concept that work doesnt’t have to happen inside an office space, there’s coffee shop! And most definitely, a coworking space.
FUTURE OF REMOTE WORK
There are 2 major opinions about the future of work lifestyle. One side argues that remote working is the future of work, proven by the magnitude of employees that expressed their hope to be able to continue to work largely from home after the pandemic is over. Also, there has been a greater acceptance of technologies that support remote working.
At the same time, a lot of experts have argued that people will still come to the office to get work done. So, offices are not going anywhere anytime soon. However, there is a shift in preferred office location. While city centers and CBDs has always seemed prestigious, it might not be the case now. The current pandemic impacts how workers commute and there is a high chance that people don’t want to waste time travelling to work. Hey, I don’t blame them, it’s not fun wasting hours being stuck in traffic. Hence to be able to attract these talents that wants to work closer to their homes, companies have to rethink about placing priority on locations when setting up an office space and shift their attention to the suburbs for placing their offices.
Benefits of Remote Work for Employees
Besides being good for the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (less people on the roads means less fuel consumed), remote working also benefits a lot of employees worldwide. Some of the benefits are:
1. Remote employees experience a higher productivity levels than when working in the office. A Stanford study showed that they were about 13% more productive than their traditional office colleagues. Fewer distractions and less stress are some of the cited contributing factors to their increased productivity. They also have more flexibility to organize their work according to when they feel the most productive and hence produce more quality work.
2. Remote employees spend less compared to office workers. Besides saving money on transportation cost, they also save time since they don’t have to commute to work every day. Since they have more flexibility to choose where and what to eat. , they also save money on food. Moreover, employees who have children spend less on childcare considering they can reduce the time their child stays under childcare.
3. There are better job opportunities for workers living in rural areas and developing countries since they can grow professionally and not be limited to their geographical scope and nationality.
Shortcomings from Remote Working
Besides the aforementioned benefits, remote working is not one without drawbacks.
1. The boundaries between work and life become blurrier as many do not know how to “switch off” at the end of the day. 22% of employees reported that they have trouble unplugging from work. However, this all can be overcome by setting up strict time frame and designated areas for work.
2. With minimal physical interaction between employees who work remotely, most of them reported feeling lonely and isolated. Online meetings are not enough to comprehend for physical interactions they are used to having in the office. On the bright side, loneliness can be avoided by going to a coworking space for work or even scheduling regular physical meetups with the other coworkers.
3. Lost efficiency and that feeling of being disconnected is also something that is evident from remote working. Okay, hear me out first. I know I said employees are more productive when they work remotely, but having physical interaction and meetings are actually useful to that spark that spontaneous bursts of ideas. Companies can have virtual team building games before meetings to make their workers feel more included and open to speak up ideas during the meeting.
Some Things That Companies Must Think About
1. To improve remote work experience, companies should provide access to remote work technologies like Slack, Google Hangouts, or Zoom. Those platforms not only cater for meeting needs but also boost communication effectiveness. Moreover, managers need to think of a communication method and clear guidelines that will deliver key messages to their employees.
2. Trainings on cybersecurity has also proven to be very crucial. What should a company do if there is a security breach? How to identify safe networks and what are the steps needed when using a public Wi-Fi network? Should we add two-step authentication for the use of email or other company platforms? These are some of the questions that companies need to think about.
3. It is important for workers to know when they should end their workday. Setting up clear policies and expectations could help relieve the feeling of confusion and stress associated with remote work, and hopefully make a clearer work-life boundary.
The increasing trend of remote working is becoming more and more acceptable whether we like it or not. So, it’s best for both companies and employees to be well prepared to cater for remote working needs.
Apiary Coworking Space (located in West & South Jakarta) provides that flexible space for you in case you want to try working outside of home, safely, during the pandemic. Check out our website or Instagram for more detailed information.
Written by: Jannice Aurelia (Business Development of Apiary Coworking Space)