Google and Facebook were among those who announced that employees would be able to work remotely until 2021. Twitter, however, has gone one step further, stating that staff can stay at home for as long as they wish.
These bold declarations are made before 2020 is even halfway through. It suggests that many businesses are shifting and leaning towards being distant even after the pandemic passes.
Remote working is not a new trend. Studies show that global uptake has increased by 91% in the past decade. However, coronavirus has accelerated its rise to mass adoption.
Businesses need to think about how to optimise remote operations as it becomes clear that the temporary shift to home-based work is likely to be a long-term one.
It takes more than just transferring existing office practices to remote systems to be successful in adapting. Businesses must assist their employees to adapt to the new reality by creating new working systems that are efficient and effective at a distance.
Asynchronous communication: Adapting
It’s possible to argue that the most important aspects of office life are not transferable to home work.
Teams are used to communicating with each other, especially when they are based in physical areas.
However, conversations in remote areas are different. Employees should not be able to walk over to their colleague’s desks or lean over their shoulder. Instead, they must send a message and wait.
This change has many benefits, especially in reducing distraction. Information sharing that was instantaneous and synchronised is often the reverse — asynchronous. This means that communications take place in a slower timeframe.
The result? The result?
Businesses will need to abandon office norms and implement a completely new set of technologies and processes in order to ensure strong communications.
Technology enablers
It’s evident that a strong digital infrastructure is essential for keeping teams connected as workspaces move from the real world to the virtual.
As businesses around the world know, the key to success is digital tools. This is evident by the rapid rise in popularity Zoom video conferencing which hosted 300 million meetings daily in April 2020.
However, digital technology can lead to an overloaded tech world.
There are many tools that can cause confusion for employees, including video conferencing and messaging platforms that aim to improve real-time communication, and separate software for activities like emailing, document sharing and invoice creation. It can also lead to the dispersion of business-critical information across multiple systems.
Remote efficiency requires coordinating tech well. The best way to do this is to choose options that allow businesses and their tools to work together.
Businesses can reduce the time and effort required to manage multiple communication channels. This is estimated to cost upto 40% of individual productivity.
Please find flexibility in new ways
Every employee needs a place where they can work and communicate in a way that suits them. It is important to have policies that recognize the asynchronous reality of remote working and consider the implications for policy design.
This could include, for example, the establishment