While many companies have been quick to incorporate remote work into their operations, some organizations have been reluctant to adopt this work style into their business’ culture. The global pandemic brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, however, has caused many business leaders to rethink their strategies and outlooks on remote work.
Remote work has not always been widely accepted
In the past, different companies, such as ad agencies, have been unwilling to embrace remote staffing arrangements. In fact, agencies have been one of the last industries to incorporate remote work into their business culture fully. From an agency perspective, the general sentiment is that creativity thrives when a group of people can get together in one room and bounce ideas off each other. In the minds of many, the same cannot be witnessed in a remote work environment.
In a similar light, those opposed to remote work have often made the argument that virtual modes of communication do not allow employees to be fully collaborative and innovative. They argue that remote staffing can bring on a plethora of logistical issues, including delays in response times, scheduling conflicts, and communication misunderstandings — all of which can be avoided if teams are in close proximity to each other.
Another argument against remote work is the notion that confining employees to one space ensures productivity, whereas working from home does the complete opposite. Proponents of remote work models, however, have argued that productivity actually increases when stress factors — such as commuting to work every day — are removed from the equation, and additional work flexibility is encouraged.
Despite the constant evolution of emerging technology as well as the ever-changing landscape of the job market, a surprising amount of business leaders and managers today still maintain that working on a virtual basis does not yield the same results as having a team physically present in the same room coming up with creative strategies and solutions. The coronavirus pandemic, however, has forced many to reconsider their stance on remote work.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused business leaders to reconsider remote staffing
With the quick spread of COVID-19, many companies have closed their doors, emptied their offices, and scaled back on strict work-from-home guidelines, allowing employees to take on a remote work model until the situation cools down. In fact, a majority of agencies — many of whom had not previously operated on a remote basis — have implemented remote work policies to ensure the safety of employees and customers in light of COVID-19.
While this increase in remote staffing has brought many unspoken concerns surrounding remote work to the forefront, it has also uncovered some truths about remote work models:
Technology has made it easier to communicate from virtually anywhere
Emerging technology has made it simple for teams to work collaboratively and get in touch with each other from virtually anywhere. Slack, a collaboration hub and messaging app, is used by businesses everywhere to keep employees connected no matter where they are. The instant messaging feature allows employees to contact teammates at any given time, similar to how they would in an in-person setting.
Video conferencing tools — such as Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Google Hangouts Meet — also do a great job of keeping employees connected. These tools even give teams the option to maintain a face-to- face connection through video chat, despite how far they are from each other.
Collaboration is not lost when companies implement a remote work model
Agencies are part of an industry that fully embraces face-to-face work environments as opposed to remote staffing. As previously mentioned, one of their main arguments against remote work is the lack of physical connection and communication. Some leaders hold tight to the notion that a successful team meeting and exchange of ideas only happens when everyone is in the same room.
Collaborative work tools — such as G Suite and Microsoft Teams — have proven otherwise as they are a great way for teams to maintain a strong connection, despite not being physically together. These tools allow teams to work together on projects in real-time, editing, and collaborating as needed and in-the-moment instead of sending updated documents back and forth.
Productivity can thrive across locations
While many have argued that remote staffing can be a huge disruption to productivity, others have noticed the complete opposite in their work environments. For the most part, as long as employees are held accountable for their work, remote and flexible working arrangements have actually increased productivity and efficiency, while producing better results.
Productivity is often improved when a better work-life balance is present. Incidentally, remote work often provides that work-life balance many employees are in need of.
Will attitudes toward remote staffing change for the better?
There has always been a stigma and overall resistance surrounding remote work. This is especially true in full-time work settings as opposed to freelance work models, where remote staffing has typically been the norm. For many full-time employees, remote work has more than often come with an air of conspiracy and resentment.
Despite the increase in remote staffing as a result of COVID-19, some remain skeptical that negative sentiments toward remote work will completely deteriorate, arguing that there will always be some stigma when it comes to allowing employees to work-from-home permanently.
Others, however, remain hopeful that the remote work approach that many companies have taken as a result of COVID-19 will mark an essential turning point in the workforce in which remote staffing is de-stigmatized and business leaders come to embrace virtual working models. While these emergency measures are only temporary, it is presumed that the business culture will ultimately shift in support of more remote staffing.
ICS and clients implement remote work strategies amid coronavirus outbreak
As we take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our employees and clients, Infinity Consulting Solutions (ICS) has implemented a remote work model for the time being. Many of our clients have taken a similar approach, implementing work-from-home policies for their employees.
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