The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were swift and unexpected. In response to government recommendations, many organisations closed their doors and shifted to remote working early this year with no indication as to when they could reopen the office. While some communities are beginning to reopen, a significant number of UK organisations are considering long-term remote working practices. We delve into why remote work is likely to continue long after COVID-19, pushing organisations into a new age of productivity.
Remote working is here to stay
There are certainly many organisations that rely on on-site employees. While larger organisations are attempting to safely reopen, smaller ones are realising the value in remote work. One survey found that 21% of small firms and 15% of larger businesses in the UK are considering indefinite work-from-home setups.
Concerns over the virus and reopening safely have sparked conversations around remote working, but the results of remote work show great promise and keep the conversations going. Remote working has not negatively impacted productivity for businesses. In fact, productivity has increased for some. Local economies are also benefiting from remote work practices as employees visit cafes or shops near their home more frequently.
Why are businesses seeing improved productivity?
The traditional office setting has been the norm for decades. When organisations transitioned quickly to remote working, many expected a decline in productivity. However, a surprising number of organisations have maintained or increased their productivity during this time. In the UK, two-fifths of small businesses are reporting productivity increases during the lockdown – here’s why.
Remote work eliminates bad office habits
Over time, the office becomes a second home and bad habits soon follow. Stopping to chat with a coworker can quickly eat up five, 10, or even 30 minutes. Conversations easily turn from the weather or local events to office gossip. Tension or discomfort can build in the office, distracting from the work at hand.
Time in the office is also easy to waste. Fixing another cup of coffee may take longer than necessary. A lunch hour spent with friends can fly by, and employees can be gone for much longer periods of time without realising it. Constant in-person meetings can eat up valuable time as people veer off topic or get bogged down in office politics.
There are countless habits that employees develop over time in an office environment that can lead to decreased productivity. Remote work eliminates the multitude of distractions in a typical office. Employees can grab a cup of coffee, check in with a coworker, or participate in a meeting without getting too far away from their daily responsibilities.
Remote work requires less time spent commuting
A lot of time is spent commuting to work, eating up precious hours and adding unnecessary stress to your day before it’s even started. Employees with long commutes can arrive at the office already feeling drained, and they may want to leave early to beat traffic. Over time, commutes can decrease productivity in a variety of ways.
During lockdown, many employees have been spared their regular commutes. Employees are able to start their workday earlier, and three-fifths of UK employees report working during the time they normally spend commuting. Productivity is on the rise because considerably less time is spent commuting. Since lockdown began in March, 40% of UK workers have reported putting in an average of 26 extra days of work.
Remote work improves work-life balance
Balancing work and home is a struggle for many office employees. Family obligations, social commitments, and personal hobbies can take a backseat to work responsibilities. Individuals can quickly become burnt out with their job as stress and anxiety build. Organisations may experience decreased productivity and increased employee turnover as a result.
With remote work, employees have more control over their daily schedules. Remote working provides greater flexibility, allowing individuals to take care of personal tasks as needed and improve their focus on work tasks. Whether people want to spend more time with their family, practicing their hobbies, or enjoying personal time, remote work offers extra freedom. A stronger work-life balance can improve employee satisfaction and productivity, decreasing employee turnover in the process.
Remote work strategies have improved
While COVID-19 brought on unexpected changes, many companies have embraced the challenge. Organisations are investing in remote working and IT strategies to keep up with the transition. By investing in improved technology, adopting powerful cloud solutions, and increasing communication efforts, many of the bumps and kinks related to remote working have been smoothed out.
In some cases, these new strategies and tools keep teams more connected than ever before. Without regular interactions in the office, employees must reach out to one another. Productivity tools keep everyone on the same page, and cloud solutions provide access to all necessary documents, programs, and functions.
Is your organisation seeing an upturn in productivity due to remote working? Do you want to plan for long-term remote work policies? We provide comprehensive cloud services and platforms designed to increase your productivity with remote work. Contact us today to learn how our solutions can streamline your work-from-home practices!