Until a month or two ago, remote work was an exception rather than the rule. That led to clogged highways, air pollution, and workers struggling to find time for family and fun. Let’s face it, working for a great company in a fun office is hard to beat. And that will come back, but may no longer be as prevalent.
The pandemic is a perfect test case for the efficacy of remote work. So far remote work is coming up aces – productivity is either stable, or in many cases, more than anecdotal, employees get more done remotely.
With that proof and experience in hand, enterprise leaders are looking at continuing remote work, at least for a swath of workers, long after COVID-19 is over. Gartner surveyed over 317 corporate finance leaders, and some 75% expect that 5% or more of their normally office-bound workers will stick with their work at home schedules after the need to quarantine is gone.
That is the low end of the scale. The survey also found some 25% will move at least 20% of normally office-bound employees to work offsite for good.
And for 4% of respondents, roughly half of their now remote workforce will stay that way. “This data is an example of the lasting impact the current coronavirus crisis will have on the way companies do business,” said Alexander Bant, practice vice president, research for the Gartner finance practice. “CFOs, already under pressure to tightly manage costs, clearly sense an opportunity to realize the cost benefits of a remote workforce.”
CoreView itself is full aboard the remote work boat. The company was founded in Milan, Italy where we keep about a dozen critical employees, and was the first CoreView office go to 100% for the duration of the crisis. So far, that team has not missed a beat.
Microsoft Teams to the Rescue
CoreView CEO Michael A. Morrison explained it this way in a note to the CoreView staff. “It may not have been obvious when COVID-19 first began to wreak havoc around the world, but our technology and processes have prepared us to weather this storm. It gives us the ability to be agile while working from all corners of the globe. It gives us the ability to easily communicate and share information at a moment’s notice. (It also gives us the ability to have ‘virtual’ coffee breaks mid-morning and ‘virtual’ beer breaks at the end of the day in Milan when the pressure escalates.) It gives us the ability to work closely even when we are not in the same location,” Morrison explained. “The beauty of Microsoft Teams and Outlook is that these collaboration, communication and productivity solutions allow us to support existing customers and secure new customers without always having to be face-to-face.”
Technology and Coronavirus Combine to Change Work Forever
Prior to COVID-19, only 3% of American workers were primarily remote, according to temporary employment agency Flexjobs. That paltry figure increased exponentially due to the pandemic, and technology such as Microsoft Teams and other SaaS collaboration solutions which prove this work can go on long after office work is again safe. Employees can prosper and get more done remotely, often devoting what used to be hours of thankless commuting to actual productivity. This along with massive savings in office space, is prompting a massive boost in long term telecommuting, altering the nature of work, and society itself.
“While about 50% of people work from home at least half the week on a regular basis, we still see that only about 3-4% work from home full-time. Now, because of the coronavirus, we’re seeing a real focus on remote work that may very well be a tipping point in terms of wider-spread adoption of full-time remote work,” Brie Weiler Reynolds, FlexJobs Career Development Manager told Geekwire. “Because the virus’s threat is ongoing and it’s hard to predict how long things may stay this way, we may see companies using remote work daily for the coming weeks or months, and realizing that it’s actually a productive, effective way to work over a long term basis,” she said.
The demand to work at home has organizations reevaluating work at home policies and the collaboration tools that support telecommuting, Raúl Castañón-Martínez, senior analyst at 451 Research told Computerworld. “The coronavirus outbreak will definitely lead IT organizations to look at how they are supporting remote work. While there already was interest, this could act as a catalyst accelerating adoption of technologies that enable remote workers,” he said.
Telecommuting Long Last Benefits
Here are a few benefits to increased telecommuting:
- Less time commuting
- Less traffic, less pollution
- Less use of fossil fuels
- More time available for work = more productivity
- Save money on commuting and auto costs
- Work/Life balance easier to achieve
- Save on Office Space
Learn More About Making Remote Workers Productive
Learn more about making remote workers happy and productive with a CoreView demo. Get your O365 user workload usage and security profile FREE with our new CoreDiscovery solution. You can get your free software now at the CoreDiscovery sign up page: https://www.coreview.com/core-discovery-sign-up/
ABOUT THE WRITER
Doug Barney was the founding editor of Redmond Magazine, Redmond Channel Partner, Redmond Developer News and Virtualization Review. Doug also served as Executive Editor of Network World, Editor in Chief of AmigaWorld, and Editor in Chief of Network Computing.