Well, it might just be for some industries.
As the world has adjusted and adapted to the new COVID19 way of life, one of the biggest challenges for office workers, in particular, is the switch to working from home.
Juggling work, childcare, homeschooling, pets, and more has been a huge talking point of 2020, with makeshift working spaces popping up in peoples living rooms, bedrooms, and spare rooms. But just as quickly as it happened, it became quite apparent that for a large percentage of the population the change to working from home was a welcome one.
Those working in IT or digital companies that can easily be transitioned to WFH have done it well and are finding that their employees are highly productive, with business running mostly as usual. This has become apparent in larger organisations such as Google and Facebook.
Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg decided to make remote work and area-adjusted salary schedules part of his long-term HR strategy. He said:
“We already announced that people can remote work through the end of 2020 if they want. And if COVID is still prevalent, it’s possible that that extends beyond that. But on a long-term basis, we’re going to let people request to work permanently remotely…
We’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale. We need to do this in a way that’s thoughtful and responsible, so we’re going to do this in a measured way. But I think that it’s possible that over the next five to 10 years — maybe closer to 10 than five, but somewhere in that range — I think we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently.”
What about industries that have struggled with the WFH switch?
For those that work with sensitive data and information such as the financial sector, law firms, and child-related services, it hasn’t been such as easy transition. Companies have had to quickly assemble secure remote working facilities, making sure that the technologies they put into place safeguard the data they work with and create a safe and secure environment to work in.
Whether this is with the use of whitelisting IPs, a VPN, or other, it’s been a challenge for some businesses to get into place swiftly and efficiently. However, once a solution is found and implemented, the WFH switch can be successfully done in these industries too.
The New Norm
Despite the things people have struggled with, when the schools are running as normal and a sense of normality becomes apparent, there is no reason why WFH can’t become the new norm.
Even if we were to make a slow move back towards traditional office life, there would be a large overhaul needed to make sure we are happy and healthy when it comes to the office environment. This could mean the end of in-person meetings, reworked office space design, removal of handshakes, and the rethinking of communal areas.
Rather than spend the money-making these changes, many businesses will simply give the option to staff members to work from home for the foreseeable and perhaps have a rota system for when staff can be in the office at any one time.
This could also see a rise in the use of flexible office space, and virtual services, with more businesses looking to reduce costs but still ensure that staff members have access to the equipment they need at a low and affordable cost.
Whatever the future holds, the traditional office environment is dead. And we’re excited to see what will take its place.