Suddenly, the whole world recognizes what “WFH” stands for. While remote working is by no means a new phenomenon, the recent coronavirus crisis has forced companies around the world to adopt it as standard.
Whereas WFH went from being optional to being compulsory, as business opens up again companies are faced with a choice: do we go back to how things were, or has a new reality opened up that cannot be ignored – and that works for both employers and employees?
Read on to learn what companies around the world are taking away from the coronavirus crisis, what challenges face WFH going forward, and why there’s no going back to the way things were.
Why There’s No Going Back
Pre-coronavirus, working from home was steadily becoming more acceptable. This trend was accelerated by the rise of freelancers, the “digital nomad” lifestyle, and the availability of online professional communication tools like Slack and Zoom. That being said, working from home was never able to make the jump to full mainstream adoption. It was often perceived as:
- A perk
- A nuisance
A perk: Companies that offered remote positions were rare. Allowing employees to work from home was seen as a privilege that had to be earned once employees had proven themselves capable of productive output without being in the office.
A nuisance: Keeping track of everyone (and their productivity) when the workforce was decentralized or partly decentralized was too daunting to many managers.
Unsustainable: From an employer’s perspective, employees who wanted to work from home were often viewed as being less committed to the business. From an employee perspective, there was the pressure of not being available for key face-to-face meetings, feelings of being disconnected, and often a technology barrier for both parties.
Now with WFH being better understood, many of these concerns have dissipated. Companies are seeing that a Slack thread is often just as good as an in-person discussion, and that Zoom is a perfectly suitable replacement for full-scale meetings. After seeing the benefits of a WFH policy – whether it’s a partial or full adoption of such a policy – it’s clear that there is no going back to the old status quo of traditional work from offices.
The Business Benefits of Working From Home
The benefits that organizations have seen based on their working from home experience are numerous and include:
- Productivity increase
- Reduced costs
- Increased access to talent
- Happier employees
Productivity increase: There is significant research, like this famous study conducted by Stanford University, that demonstrates that employees are significantly more productive when working remotely, and are able to stay home. Working from home allows people to put themselves in their best environment for productivity. So for some people, that might be a shared workspace or a coffee shop, while for others it might be a room at home where they can enjoy absolute silence. Sure, there will be distractions, but these occur at the office too.
Reduced costs: With fewer people coming into the office regularly, businesses can start saving money almost immediately. Office space can be downsized, and this comes with many related cost savings. There will be less of a need for elements such as office supplies and snacks, as well as a decrease in utility costs. In fact, based on estimates, companies can save an annual $11,000 per worker working remotely 50% of the time.
Increased access to talent: WFH has effectively removed one of the main obstacles separating employers from the best applicants for their positions, namely, location. With modern communication and productivity platforms, hiring managers can recruit, select, screen, and evaluate candidates in an entirely virtual environment. This approach prioritizes aptitude while widening the hiring net to allow employers to take full advantage of all available talent.
Happier employees: Research shows that employees who are allowed to work remotely are happier and stay with companies longer. This has knock-on effects when it comes to employee experience, talent retention, and productivity.
WFH By Choice
Social distancing has created a scenario in which businesses are forced to have their employees work from home. But having to deal with that reality has opened the eyes of leaders to the benefits of WFH. It’s also brought up many of the challenges and how best to deal with them. We’ve come a long way since companies banned WFH outright!
There’s no going back. The time is rapidly approaching when businesses will actively choose to have their employees WFH, even when they’re legally allowed to open up all of their offices.
What has become clear is that the right tools are needed in order for WFH to work. We all hear about the likes of Zoom and Slack, but equally important, if not more so, are the tools for managing your workforce. This includes everything from onboarding new employees to tracking productivity, and getting documents digitally signed to ensuring ongoing engagement.
Mensch: Made for WFH
As an end-to-end platform, Mensch was supporting both traditional organizations and those utilizing WFH policies long before the coronavirus pandemic struck. Mensch’s integrated modules are perfectly designed to address the challenges that face a company making the transition to WFH on either a full or partial basis.
For example, the Workflows feature supports companies when remotely on/offboarding. This ensures a smooth transition and positive experience from both the company and the employee’s perspective. Additionally, Mensch adds value from an engagement perspective. The platform’s homepage centralizes all necessary HR and people-related tasks and notifications. Here HR leaders can receive birthday alerts, updates regarding who is absent on a particular day, and even share-worthy events and announcements.
In short, Mensch is there for you to ensure you and your organization get the most out of WFH – now and in the future.
To learn more, get in touch.