By Alan Paul
Working from home prior to COVID was a perk that some employers offered, but then COVID arrived and working from home soon became the norm.
As COVID has eased in many locations there has been general shift back to the office as many companies moved to establish clear guidelines and expectations for employees. For many employees this has been welcomed as the social nature of the workplace is what many missed through the pandemic.
However, this return to the office is not a hard one and many companies are building a hi-level of flexibility into their future workplaces and how employees will engage with the traditional workplace.
A recent Gartner CFO survey revealed that over two-thirds of companies, (74%) have planned to permanently shift employees to at least some form of remote work after the COVID crisis ends.
As expected, tech companies are at the forefront of this change and here’s some examples of what a few companies are adopting:
- Facebook have advised staff that they can work remotely indefinitely.
- Twitter has also advised staff they can work from home indefinitely.
- Atlassian has committed to a flexible work model globally for all employees that allows them to work remotely anywhere in the world, employees will be expected to attend a company office 4 times per year but otherwise can determine their own approach to office attendance.
- Canva another Australian tech giant has empowered teams globally to decide on the number of days employees attend the workplace in person, setting an expectation of 8 days per year.
- At Sourceit we’ve adopted a similar approach of flexibility that allows our employees to work remotely or come into one of our offices based on their team and individual needs.
More than ever today employees are being empowered to determine how they ‘attend’ work and organisations are shifting the focus to work completed rather than the hours worked.
This change in where we work from will be the catalyst for significant transformation in how managers work with and lead their teams. For instance, annual performance reviews will be replaced with continuous feedback loops ensuring employees remain engaged, understand responsibilities, and meet performance expectations.
New roles such as Remote People Manager will be created, they’ll lead the new remote employee engagement model and will be tasked with optimising the tools the organisation deploys to support the remote workforce, ensure ongoing employee/company engagement, establish new policies and procedures to ensure operational efficiencies are maintained and provide support to traditional line managers assisting them with the new demands associated with managing remote teams.
COVID has proven that we can work from home and continue to be productive. But for many, working from home full time has lost its appeal and there is a preference to return to work from the office for at least part of the time.
I believe that the future of the workplace is that of a hybrid model built on flexibility, choice, and having the right digital infrastructure in place. This will no doubt bring with it many challenges and require reinventing several processes and policies and be continually reviewed to optimize further over time.
Will the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, only time will tell?
Sourceit is a technology company that enables over 28,000 buyers and suppliers to engage and collaborate with each other via cloud-based procurement and catalog applications from any location globally. To find out how sourceit enables remote working for companies in a safe and secure environment then book a meeting with us here, we’d love to talk with you. #whynotsourceit