Time will tell the story!
As someone rightly said, time will tell the story. We, homo sapiens, have experienced continuous evolution of ourselves, not only in the ways of living life but also in dealing with the challenges.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is one such example, and we are trying our best to deal with this challenge. We accepted the challenge and have been largely successful in adapting ourselves to the new normal. This pandemic will be remembered for many reasons, both good and bad.
Work together, when you are not allowed to be together!
Probably, this is one of the qualities that most of us are now compelled to adapt. However, another set of a large number of companies is struggling to develop remote working culture and infrastructure in such a short period. In fact, for many industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, automobiles, etc., remote working may not be a viable option. Only a small portion of staff from these industries can avail of the option if the day-to-day job is largely around data entry or computing.
Compelled digital workforce transformation
So, when the entire world was impacted by COVID-19 pandemic, wherever possible, the workforce was asked to work from home (stressing home, as no other remote option was available in lockdown situations). However, was the entire workforce ready for this new norm of working? Maybe not, but with some struggle, most of them managed to live up to the situation and expectation. This could be one of the largest workforce transformations at a global level spread across the industries and workforce levels. No one would have thought about a pandemic like this triggering or rather compelling global workforce transformation.
It was not only difficult for the companies to arrange necessary hardware (laptops etc.) and software(VPN, Online collaborations tools) but also for the employees to get adjusted to work with and away from their colleagues.
Remote possibility of having productive remote workforce?
The simple answer is ‘Yes’ and the complex answer is ‘Maybe’.
The complex answer depends on to what extent you want to make the problem complicated.
To simplify further, there are two key factors:
- Building a remote work culture
This is largely dependent on the company’s values such as:
Companies, who have embedded such values in their workforce, are more geared to succeed in building high performing remote workforce. Such values naturally reflect on how a company perceives and drives the work culture. Though it takes time to change the work culture and work habits through such values, the more the push from the management, the quicker will be the result. The onus also lies on the employees to adapt and respond with a positive impact.
- Facilitate remote working
The next aspect is about facilitating employees or enabling them to be productive when working remotely. This may entail investment in essential supporting infrastructure such as laptops (procure or lease or BYOD), secured VPN, collaboration tools, etc.
Is that all??
Well, unfortunately, no! This can be a good start. There are other important considerations such as:
- Remote Onboarding of new employee / off-boarding of existing employee
- Cyber Security and Infrastructure Support
- Managing productivity expectations and perceptions of the stakeholders (Work & Home both)
- Team celebrations
- Remote work “friendly” company policies.
- Most important — Mental Health (“Man is by nature a social animal — Aristotle”)
Can it work? Are there any success stories?
Some companies such as GitLab came with their own “Remote Manifesto”. In fact, GitLab is one the world’s largest all-remote company.
http://www.youtube.com/embed/GKMUs7WXm-EIn the next part, we will go through some of the pros and cons of Remote Working, the potential models and the company policies to support Remote Working culture.