The current pandemic has drastically changed the way people live and work and it will have a lasting impact on the future of work. People are maintaining social distancing. As a result of these accommodations, the majority of people are working from home.
The Technology sector is leading the trend with more than 90% of tech employees are working remotely across the globe. Many employers have asked their employees to continue to work remotely until the next year. Though its a fact that not every industry has that luxury to work away from their offices.
Work from home is the new normal. The attitude towards remote work has changed considerably, thanks to the lockdown. The remote work has traditionally been deemed to cause distraction and loss of productivity.
Contrary to the prevailing belief, many organizations have reported a surge in productivity. Harvard business review reported an increase in productivity when the employees were allowed to work remotely.
Even before the pandemic, around 80% of employees would work remotely at least once a week. The remote work setup bridges the gap between personal and professional lives. People can look after the personal responsibilities along with the professional assignments.
One of the biggest takeaways of remote setup is, the saved commute time, which can be used for upskilling and bridging the skill gap. The workforce is less tired and stressed in a remote environment resulting in higher productivity.
I have been working remotely for the last couple of months due to the ongoing crisis. We recently had a Retrospective meeting following our Software Product release. Everyone in our team unanimously provided feedback that there was an increase in collaboration and co-operation among the team.
Every team members were constantly available for support or discussion as and when required. Collaboration among teams for Planning, Design discussion, Implementation Challenges, Regular Meetings, and Daily Scrums was instrumental.
Work from home has been popular among freelancers. The Gig Economy has enabled workers to transcend time and geographical boundaries. The remote works have existed before, with the handful of organizations working in a remote setup.
For instance, GitLab, the $2.1 billion enterprise operating in all remote environment, is pretty bigger in valuation than some of the oldest enterprises on the earth.
As a startup or business owner, what’s your biggest ask: the productivity, the output, delivery, and constant communication. Going forward, the productivity is likely to be measured against the results and business outcomes, not the time spent in front of the computer.
At the end of the day what matters is the amount of work completed and transparency regardless of the locations.
There are some enterprises and startups that are afraid of the remote work model. For them, it’s difficult to understand that a company can have a team across the globe and still run it successfully.
Common stereotypes and myths of the remote works:
Lack of communication among remote teams
The common perception about remote work is that there is a lack of communication among remote teams. In reality, there are various formal and informal communication mediums and collaborative tools available in current times that make communication seamless.
The Outlook, Teams, Skype, Zoom, Slack, Whatsapp, Telegrams are some of the popular tools in place which is being used by successful companies for internal and external communication.
Remote work is only for the startups
Companies like GitLab, WordPress, StackOverFlow, CrossWork have been operating and even flourished in the remote setup ever since their inception.
With the proper structure in place, companies can harness the benefits of remote work model and can learn from these companies who have been the pioneer of successful remote work model.
Collaboration is difficult in a remote team
With the access to SaaS based tools like Teams, Zoom, Slack, and Skype, the collaboration among the team is not a concern. Almost every vertical of an organization have been leveraging collaborative tools to conduct their regular businesses like recruitment, interviews, on-boarding, training, meetings and work collaboration, etc.
Some organizations fail to understand that employees can be as productive remotely as working from the office. Many times the fixation with “working from office desk” comes from the legacy and culture of the organization.
The command is usually passed from the centralization of authority to the bottom of the pyramid in an organizational structure. The first-line managers are expected to adhere to authoritative policy without rationalizing it any further.
With the increasing demand and technological advancement, the remote work model is going to persist. Access to high-speed internet, cloud-based collaborative tools, and flexible work setup have made the remote work possible.
Transitioning to remote work from an on-premise office model entails a different mindset and values.
Mechanisms to improve productivity while working remotely
Employee engagement is of utmost importance to increase the productivity of the employees and revenue growth. It is essential for business survival. Following are some of the methods to improve productivity while working remotely:
Define Responsibility and Goals
It helps to break down the tasks in actionable items. Use the project management tools to create a ticket for those tasks and assign them to the appropriate teams. The agile tools make it easy to track the work progress.
The product owner prioritizes the work for the current release and maintains a backlog of the work for future releases. Every team members must be assigned tasks in a prioritized order so that every Sprint iterates towards the release goal.
Enable Work Transparency
Every member of the team must be clear on what they are expected to deliver in the current Sprint. There should be no ambiguity over ownership and expectation from the delivery standpoint.
Set up Communication and Collaboration structure
Its imperative for team members to be available at the regular working hours (for instance, 9 am to 6 pm) on various communication channels to carry out the tasks for the day with coherent access to various collaborative tools. Sometimes, a quick call can be more effective and more human.
Constant Feedback Loop
Feedback is central to the overall progress. Feedback should be meant to resolve impediments and conflicts whatsoever. Employees can adjust their work efficiency as per the positive feedback.
Focus on Results
The only parameter of evaluation is the outcome, in a remote environment. Focusing on results, not the hours, will result in a positive and conducive environment.
5 New Trends of the future of work
The current pandemic is likely to have an impact on the future of work and will trigger new trends in the days to come. Following 5 new trends of the future of work are inevitable:
The rise of the Gig Economy
With a surge in service industries and startups, there has been a significant rise in the Gig economy. Although the concept is not new and companies have been using short term workers for a long time, the current crisis has given the concept a new boost. There is a constant rise in freelance works in the post-Covid-19 world.
The Digital Transformation and Remote work will proliferate
As more than 90% of the workforce is working from home, the proliferation of cloud-based tools and technologies is inevitable. Digital transformation is critical to business survival.
The expansion of Contract workers
The current pandemic has given rise to the expansion of contract workers. With almost 40% workforce now consists of contract workers in major tech companies, the trend is likely to grow in the coming future.
Increase in roles and responsibilities
There is a paradigm shift in the nature of the roles and responsibilities of the workforce. Employees are no longer serving one role and they are wearing multiple caps to run the show.
Increased Organization resilience
With the sudden and unexpected disruption in the work model, companies want to increase their resilience and abilities concerning the business continuity plan. Strategic plans are likely to be in place to respond to future disruptions.
The new work trends post-Covid-19 gives a clear picture of the future of work.
Remote work is a reality today and distributed teams are the future of work. The remote work is on the constant rise and locations are no longer the limitation. There are numerous examples of successful companies that have been successfully working remotely for years.
Remote work is increasing across the globe. With adequate strategies in place for remote work, companies can create more balanced and productive work environments !!