The unplanned pivot to remote work has made the future of the office a big question. Leaders and managers everywhere are weighing up what has been learnt from remote work, and what should continue in future. Some surprising insights and decisions are emerging.
During normal times, few leaders would take the risk of a wholesale switch to remote working in one step. Surprisingly, many business leaders around the world are reporting that productivity has sustained or even improved.
The insights and learning from the experiment due to the pandemic are causing a major re-think about continuing to treat remote work as a limited ‘add-on’ to existing business processes.
Instead, business leaders are seeing potential to lift productivity by making fundamental changes in their workforce arrangements and by innovating with workflows and systems. For example:
-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said most employees can keep working from home permanently
– Facebook expects 50% of their workforce will be working remotely within 10 years
– OZ Minerals CEO Andrew Cole has seen no dip in productivity from remote work and is excited about the potential to make permanent changes.
These views are reflected in early research. A report last week by global freelancing platform Upwork Inc. described how one third of US hiring managers surveyed had found that productivity had increased as a result of remote work. The most common things that managers found were working well were
– no commuting;
– a reduction of non-essential meetings; and
– less distractions in the office.
For some jobs, it is more productive or just vitally important for face to face interaction. However, we’re now discovering that many more jobs than we expected can be done well remotely.
The pandemic has revealed a means to further lift organisational performance and agility. Savvy leaders and managers will seize the opportunity to evolve and accelerate their organisation and career.