“Prior to the pandemic, just 1 in 30 companies had at least half of their staff working remotely, according to research from human resources consulting firm Mercer. As of late August 2020, it was 1 in 3. Of the employers surveyed, 94% said productivity has remained the same or increased since employees began working remotely.”

Remote Working: A Highlight of 2020

There’s no question that the COVID-19 global pandemic shook businesses across the globe and challenged them to rethink how they operated. But what began as a swift upper-cut slowly transformed into blessings in disguise for companies’ bottom lines from an overhead perspective. Working remotely instead of within the brick and mortar of company walls means less company money devoted to office space, supplies, and more. In fact, “one study showed that if a company allowed an employee to work from home just half of the time, it would save on average $11,000 per employee, and each employee would save between $2,000 and $7,000.” 

When the pandemic forced businesses to try working remotely, many streamlined communications, expectations, and productivity to such an impressive level that they’ll find it wise, both from a financial and employee morale perspective, to continue working remotely for many of its positions long after the pandemic takes its last breath. After all, research shows “employees’ productivity has been shown to increase drastically when they work from home. Home offices aren’t nearly as distracting, and telecommuters are less likely to be interrupted midflow by a colleague stopping by to chat, an intercom announcement or other workplace distraction. Working from home can also help minimize tardiness since employees don’t have to deal with uncontrollable traffic and commuting. Employees who work from home are also less likely to use sick time. Since employers lose $1,800 per employee per year on unscheduled absences, that cost-saving adds up quickly.”

Managing Remotely

BusinessNewsDaily encourages the following management techniques to better ensure remote working is the best experience for both the business and employees:

  1. Treat employees as individuals
    • Example: “If one employee prefers to work in the early hours of the day, encourage it; if another is more of a night owl, allow that… If the work is getting done, treat employees as the individuals they are.”
  2. Communicate often and extensively
    • Example: “Managers should encourage their employees to reach out through instant messaging, video conferencing, or a telephone call if they have any questions or concerns. Communication should be frequent as well; regularly hold meetings, one-on-one chats and conference calls.”
  3. Trust that your staff is up to the task
    • Reminder: “If you can’t trust them, ask yourself why you hired them in the first place or what happened that caused you to lose trust in them.”

Silver linings aren’t just for the painfully positive; they are opportunities to find purpose, lessons, and hope in the darkest of times. Instead of focusing on the ever-changing COVID-19 regulations and dreaming about your business bubble pre-pandemic, embrace remote working, when it makes sense for your business, and take the lemons of the pandemic and mix them in the drink of your choice. 

Author: Evelyn Lindell