August 2020 Guest Opinion: Working Remotely Post-Pandemic
August 3, 2020
By Ben Wald , Founder and Head of Client Strategy, Very
Many companies and universities have asked employees to work remotely amid the uncertainties presented by COVID-19. Even though close to 25% of the United States workforce worked from home at least part of the time already, new mandates to work from home left many managers working out of the office and separated from their employees for the first time.
How will the unexpected changes the pandemic has caused affect the future of remote work?
At Very, we’ve been working remotely for so long that it’s difficult to imagine what it’d be like to be thrown into a remote working environment without warning. However, being longtime remote work practitioners has also given us unique insights into how these changes will affect companies long-term.
What companies are working from home (due to the coronavirus) that usually don’t?
Everyone and anyone that can work from home are doing so. Some job functions that you may otherwise see in labs or workshops, such as hardware designers, can thrive from home. For instance, while it may have been difficult to picture engineers modifying circuit boards and wiring from their home-office or garage in the past, the proper tools and an HD camera means that they are just as effective remotely as when everyone was in the same lab. It all comes down to collaboration tools and taking the initiative to try something new.
“close to 25% of the United States workforce worked from home at least part of the time already”
How the coronavirus work-from-home policy will change future work and business
I believe that this emergency is going to push a lot of companies to overhaul the entire paradigm that they see their business through. The companies that entered this challenge with an open mind and a dedicated team may very well look beyond just updating their work-from-home policies to deeper systemic change. Frankly, I can see a future where a notable share of businesses see just how effective they are in a virtual-first environment and scrap some, or all, of their offices. Once the tools, policies, and infrastructure changes are implemented, it is hard to justify the overhead of an expensive headquarters.
“Frankly, I can see a future where a notable share of businesses see just how effective they are in a virtual-first environment and scrap some, or all, of their offices.”
Remote work changes that will become permanent
We will start seeing companies explore the full range of communication and collaboration tools at their disposal. Countless teams across every industry were underusing most of their tools and services. From Slack and Google Suite to Zoom and Asana, services often are folded into a company’s workflow piecemeal and are rarely modified and tailored to better streamline processes so that they work...