Aug 27, 2020

Office is dead! Long live the office!

After the whole world plunged into quarantine caused by the COVID-19, most people have started to work remotely. According to the latest Slack survey, only 11.6% of people say they want to return to full-time office work. Many are happier, more efficient, and want to hang onto the benefits of remote work when the pandemic ends. It doesn’t matter anymore where the employee resides.    

                More and more companies have stated that even when the quarantine finishes, they are switching to full-time remote work. 98% of employees are choosing to work distantly till the end of their career, 63% of the global workforce surveyed feel they are more productive working from home than when they were in the office. Respondents around the world are embracing working away from the office as they feel more connected to their devices than ever because the ‘office’ becomes wherever their technology is.

                After all, remote work does have a lot of pros. Employees don’t have to stick to a 9-to-5 working schedule, saving time and money for commuting, and can cope with some urgent and day to day activities like taking children to school, eliminating the stress of having to keep up with everything at once.

Even though the term “remote work” has become very trendy this year, it does have some downsides. Despite all the positive press about working remotely, some studies suggest it’s not what it’s cracked up to be. 

First and foremost is the lack of communication between team members, which may lead to problems with bonding and thus misunderstanding while working together on the same project. Video conferencing can sometimes offset this, but it’s not a perfect replacement. Feeling like a cohesive team is more difficult and some people can never get past that. 

Many strategies that worked for managers in the past will be impossible with a remote team. A lot of standard measurements of management and performance cannot be applied to remote work, as the working schedule may differ from the classic one and the degree of procrastination is something that can sometimes spiral out of control. 

Some of the other concerns are building an in-house culture, how to handle a hands-on training/onboarding process, coaching/mentoring remotely, and making sure that the traditional system is being implemented, so that the project gets consistent service delivery by a remote team. 

There’s another very serious issue while working or managing remote teams — security. Especially if your business deals with sensitive data, after all, storing data online exposes you to potential vulnerabilities.     

According to a study of over 1,000 remote employees by Twingate, remote employment is causing workers to lose a sense of work/life balance during the pandemic. A Doodle survey of more than 1,100 U.S. employees also cited symptoms of burnout among employees. A full week of virtual meetings leaves 38% of employees feeling exhausted, while 30% felt stressed. 

So, the world is changing – there’s no doubt about that. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that full-time remote work is up to become new normal. We believe that flexible working practices have a positive impact on staff engagement. That is the reason why we insisted our employees have a flexible working schedule — our office is open 24/7, and our team members can work from home or come to the office any time they want. As our observations show, between the lockdowns with the possibility of working both from the office with all the needed precaution measures held and from home, our employees tend to stick to the system 2 to 3. Where 2 is the number of days in the office for team communication and synchronization, and three days they choose to get routine things done remotely. So, as you can see, there are always ways to decide what’s best for the project and the team.