The global pandemic of 2020 may have restricted us all to our homes but that did not mean the world would stop running.
Companies still had to operate, employers had to ensure they deliver what customers were looking for in this time of need, and employees had to face the challenge of adjusting themselves to work-from-home strategy.
In whatever manner possible, businesses and companies had to embrace remote work to ensure that their employees could work in a safe environment and allow the functionality of the firm to continue.
How multi-million dollar businesses survived the pandemic?
Initially, working from home created the fear of distractions since the employees would not have access to a professional sound setup. Additionally, workers complained about the loss of routine, network problems, and even lack of motivation.
Did You Know? Many companies had to face considerable loss in productivity and profitability when the global crisis struck.
However, it only took a couple of months before the companies and their workers realized the blessing in disguise that remote work was. In fact, more than 44% of the companies later agreed that working from home not only increased the productivity levels of the staff but also contributed positively towards the increase in the company’s profit.
“It was hard for a couple of months but once the pace was set, we could see our company doing well”. Such were the remarks from senior management of most multi-million dollar companies that had to shift to remote work immediately.
They agreed that the business had to face some struggle but the pandemic transformed the way their firm operated in the long run and once they were done re-evaluating their strategies, the remote operation did not seem like a risky option at all.
Some quick statistics about work-from-home and its impact on businesses
It is easy to judge the performance of firms with the remote working environment by taking a good look at the related stats. Here are a few interesting findings that we came across.
- Only 22.24% of companies in the US had the option of working remotely before Covid-19 emerged.
- Additionally, 71.5% of business owners confessed that their workers had requested remote work even before the global pandemic hit.
- The number of firms that are now comfortably operating with their staff working remotely in the US is as high as 74.5%. Furthermore, of these, 58% were already set to start working in this manner whereas 38.% of the companies had to adapt slowly.
- More than 38.5% of large companies that adopted remote work agreed that shifting to this strategy was easier than what they had expected.
Remote work did more than just help the employees continue their tasks
Increased awareness about dealing with expected disasters in the future
One thing that CoronaVirus taught us is that we must have a professional online gig and should be prepared for emergency situations. The change that it brought to business setups and how companies operate would not be soon forgotten.
In fact, it has now become one of the primary tasks for organizational leaders, shareholders, and senior staff to devise strategies and plans that can be implemented immediately in case they are faced with a similar situation in the future.
Increased awareness about cost-saving alternatives
The option of working from home was put forward primarily considering the safety of the employees. It was also important in order to incur the spread of Covid-19 disease.
However, it proved to be more than just that! Firms and businesses with modern technology, advanced tools and powerful visual communication, soon realized that remote work was cost-efficient and more suitable for companies who were actively looking to save the business from COVID-19.
Different studies have pointed out that employees spend less than 40% of their time on working desks. This would imply that many rented office spaces are a complete waste of money. If the same results could be obtained while working from home then why shouldn’t the companies consider choosing this as a life-long alternative?
Increased awareness about the impact of remote work on sustainability
If sustainability had been the only reason, it is hardly like that those companies would have considered allowing their staff to work from home. Traffic congestion and fuel pollution were issues that developing societies had been facing for a long time.
As soon as Covid related restrictions were imposed, there was a dramatic reduction in the levels of traffic and associated pollution problems. In fact, the difference could actually be seen with naked eyes.
Although such change is not easy or cheap to induce, remote work provided us with a good opportunity to reverse the effects of our carbon footprint to some extent.
Saving costs on business travel
Business meetings and conferences seemed to be of huge interest but that was before the pandemic hit. The fact that online discussion forums have successfully replaced the trend of having a round table conference physically proves that virtual meetings are equally effective and useful.
If we take into account the expense of moving from home to office and then to other spots for meetings, it wouldn’t be surprising that an average employee has to spend as much as $4,000 merely for this task. In fact, if your office is located in a distance, you can save more than $11,000 per year by working from home.
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Improvement in employee retention rate
There could be hundreds of reasons why an employee would decide to give up on his career. Some have to travel too far which becomes problematic, others have kids at home they need to look after, or they simply can not maintain the work-family balance leaving them unsatisfied with their job routine.
Luckily, the option of remote work increased employee retention because workers could easily cater to their other responsibilities while working at home. This meant that they would not be frustrated enough to leave the firm.
Work for home also made room for flexible job routines leading to less absenteeism. One could cater to the personal obligation that required him to take a day off from the office previously.
What’s the result? Mentally healthier and more productive employees!
Managers do not have enough trust on their workforce
One of the biggest concerns for the firms in this scenario was that the workforce could not be under the direct supervision of their managers. This meant it could become difficult to meet goals within due time and tricky to convey to the employees where they were making mistakes.
However, it only took a couple of months for the senior staff to realize that micromanagement was never the answer. Supervisors do not need to be standing behind the heads of workers or walking around to ensure that they got the right results.
Therefore, companies accepted the findings that if employees had to work from home, managers also needed to come to peace with the fact that it is only the results that matter and not how they get there.
Additional cost of providing staff with the required equipment
Although this was not an issue for the workers, the company had to face some additional expenses to ensure that all their staff had access to a good internet connection and laptops. This was especially true for firms that were located in areas where Covid-19 hit hard.
Since their physical offices could not be made functional for a long time and they had to continue the operation, businesses invested in getting machinery such as computers and internet devices for their employees who had to immediately shift to remote work.
It was later calculated that on average medium-sized companies had to spend approximately $1 million dollars on such equipment.
Probable loss of data and security
It’s easy to guard data when its use is restricted to within the office. However, since workers had to stay at home and still perform their daily tasks, many companies have to provide their staff with easier and more flexible access to information.
This could be a potential drawback since security issues need to be addressed promptly to avoid any inconvenience. In fact, some businesses that were operating on sensitive data had to provide security training to all their employees which in turn affected their cost savings.
What do the employees at multi-million dollar companies have to say about working from home
When we looked into how a majority of the employees viewed remote work strategy, it was brought to our notice that the staff generally had mixed reviews.
Surprisingly, as of 2021, there are now 57 million people in the United States who work from home as a freelancer. The majority of the companies reported that their workers were interested in continuing remote work after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. In fact, more than 83% of these companies also shared that they are considering keeping some options of working-from-home open once the global pandemic settles down.
The rest of the 17% were more concerned about the fact that it got difficult to collaborate with each other with network issues and internet lags. Staff with families shared that it was tricky to maintain the same work pace with kids around. Moreover, employees’ social life was affected as they missed lunches and coffee breaks with co-workers.
On the other hand, working from home ensures that employees are safer and closer to their families amidst the global crisis. In fact, some workers were happy with virtual meetings and online discussions commenting that these were “fun” and “more productive” than usual conference room debates.
Additionally, allowing employees to work from home also proved to be beneficial for businesses growth. For setups on rent, remote work meant they could free the office space and avoid paying extra charges. Employees could save up on transportation and fuel expenses.
Consequently, the transition to remote work may have been cumbersome but it was not without its advantages. Companies faced huge business disruption but found the alternative surprisingly easy to adopt in the long run.
Where do we go from here?
Health care providers can not predict the exact length of pandemic till now. This means that although some restrictions have been lifted, other recommendations of minimizing employee movement remain under consideration.
This is the reason why many companies intend to stay remote, fully or partially, for the foreseeable future.
Moreover, since there is also an increased demand by the employees to continue working from home, studies show that more than 30% of the workforce will choose to work remotely in the year 2021. At the end of the day there are advantages as well as disadvantages of work from home, but overall it’s a win-win scenario for companies & their employees as well.
With more developments related to webinar tools such as Zoom, it is safe to say that in the future, implementation of a work-from-home strategy would be easier and more convenient.
Additionally, TransparentBusiness has launched a productivity-monitoring tool that can be used to keep a check on the performance of employees who choose to work from home. This would further help us evolve into a community that is more open to alternative approaches to handling businesses!
We weren’t prepared for it before but we are now!
Faisal Rehman is a freelance systems administrator and a writer at softwarespice.com. With 10 years of technology and systems experience, he writes about best web hosting for small business and how to start a successful blog.