As of June 17, 2020, there are almost 8 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide with 435,000 deaths. Now, a drug named dexamethasone is believed by scientists to decrease the mortality rate of severely ill patients. This is not yet the vaccine, but the effect of this major breakthrough in this pandemic will still take months for the graphs and statistics to flatten. So, the global economy is still expected to still be on the rocks for the next quarters.
Now, businesses and private sectors are adapting. We may have prepared for disasters and other phenomena in our well-thought-out business continuity plan, but we surely didn’t see this coronavirus coming.
To continue business operations, private sectors are forced to implement work-from-home arrangements for their employees. Community quarantines and lockdowns prohibited employees from going to offices and even outside their own houses. Now that most of the graphs are showing little signs of recession, this has become the new normal.
On remote working
The possibility of this work arrangement relies on the company’s efficiency and willingness to ‘setup an office’ to their employees’ homes. They would need an efficient computer (most of the time their laptops are enough) and a reliable internet connection. Most companies are generous enough to directly deliver computer sets and a pocket internet connection to their employees’ homes.
Unfortunately, this setup is not for everyone. In industries like the IT industry, most of their advanced equipment are installed in their office premises and it would be almost impossible to transfer it to their homes. Also, the manufacturing industry is deeply affected by the pandemic as they can’t implement this kind of work setup because of the nature of their work.
The issue with the work-from-home setup
One would raise the issue of productivity as they frown on the thought of remote working. Now, this is an old-age argument. Many still believe that employees working in a brick and mortar office are still more efficient. Because of the company’s trust issues, they think that the quality and quantity of work would be compromised.
Not really. Thanks to technology as there are software/programs like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom to closely monitor their workers, their work process, and productivity. These tools, especially Zoom, has been the primary communication of remote workers. Meetings, seminars, and such are usually held on this software. “Zoom said on Tuesday that sales jumped 169% year-on-year in the three months to 30 April to $328.2m, as it added more than 180,000 customers with more than 10 employees since January – far more than it had expected,” writes bbc.com.
It is no secret that the modern workforce (Millennials and Gen Zs) prefers this kind of setup as they value work-life balance.
Additionally, one issue that is often raised is the security. Are their clients’ sensitive information guarded? Yes, these kinds of problems are solvable. There are tools like Desktop and Process Analytics to monitor the activities of your workers on their desktop/laptop computers. It’s kind of creepy and uncomfortable for the remote workers, but it’s part of the setup for them to be more secured in the process.
Despite the extreme measures, most businesses are still able to operate. It may not be the usual operation, as some only allowed the essential workers. This proved that the industries can adapt in this setup.
There will be no surprise that in the near future [with the pandemic gone] businesses will be adapting this work from home setup. Of course, with their own measures tailored to the nature of their work and industry.
After all, it’s a win-win situation for both the employees and employers. Employees can have their work-life balance attained, without compromising their productivity and work quality.