Working From Home: What to Expect Going Forward
Before the pandemic, the perception of employees working from home carried an overwhelmingly negative connotation. Businesses considered it a detriment that negatively impacted working relationships and decreased productivity. However, with so much of the workforce working from home due to Covid-19 concerns, that perception has been proven false. Companies are enjoying record productivity and the profits that go with them. Employees benefit from the freedom and improved work/life balance of working from home.
Now that working from home is becoming the norm and not the exception, we see dramatic changes occur across the business landscape. Employers find themselves implementing strategies designed to bring their employees in only a few days a week, if at all. Workers find themselves with more power in negotiations and control their workdays. And tech companies are innovating quickly, bringing innovations to market designed to make working from home easier for everyone involved.
With work from home very much a part of the present, what can we expect from it in the future? Once the pandemic becomes endemic, what will likely become standard across workplaces? Here are three ways we see working from home permanently affecting business.
- Three-Tiered WorkforcesAs Covid-19 recedes from dominating our everyday lives, managers and owners must determine what working arrangements work best for their companies and employees. Those arrangements will need to be planned based on what is best for each worker and the business. Some will desire to return to the office full-time, facing burnout from spending excessive hours at home. Others will want to work from home permanently, improving productivity and personal fulfillment. However, the vast majority will find themselves working under a hybrid model.The hybrid working from home model gives employees an opportunity to work certain days in the office and the rest of their week at home. Many companies are settling on three days in the office and two at home. This hybrid model allows for the valuable (and irreplaceable) face-to-face time needed for collaboration and oversight and productive individual work time at home.
- Focus on Skills, not RolesWorking from home has allowed employees to explore what they do well and the best ways they work within their team or organization. Workers have discovered that when they are happy and motivated, their productivity soars, and their work/life balance finds a natural equilibrium. The next step is to encourage them to grow their existing skills and leverage them as an advantage.Encouraging workers to grow their existing skills and find creative ways to apply them to their work can benefit employees and employers. Casting aside the idea of fixed roles for personnel and utilizing their abilities in the best way possible is how the best companies will retain their most vital staff. Employees will be looking for the same flexibility and opportunities in their day-to-day tasks in their working environment. Those companies who refuse to adapt could find themselves dealing with a lack of enthusiastic employees at best or an inability to retain key talent at worst.
- Virtual EverythingBusiness tools had increasingly been moving online before the pandemic. Companies were already looking for tools and applications to increase efficiency, cut overhead, and improve communications. With so many employees working from home, those needs have become magnified. Companies are increasingly abandoning the physical and turning to the virtual throughout their operations.Virtual tools have become disbursed throughout corporate ecosystems in a multitude of ways. Face-to-face meetings happen through video conferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Slack and Twist have changed the nature of how teams collaborate. And increasingly, companies are ditching physical phone systems and turning to virtual phone service providers like AccessDirect.Cloud phone systems give companies the freedom to make and receive calls on their business phone number anywhere, any time. They let you bring your own device and make calls using your laptop computer or cell phone. And features like voicemail to email and online faxing provide you with the features machines in the office typically do, without the overhead and expense of maintenance and supplies.
Working from home is here to stay, and companies that embrace it will find themselves reaping the benefits of happier employees, improved productivity, and consistent results. Whether you have deployed a work from home plan or are just getting started, we have a phone system to help you make the most of your communications in and out of the office. Contact us today to try any of our subscription plans on a free one-week trial!