Back in 2008 when we started writing a blog for GOX there were 2 articles about on how to effectively manage teams remotely. http://goxglobal.com/managing_teams/ . Those articles were written in the context of an organisation outsourcing IT to a third party based remotely. What we have experienced in the last 6 months takes remote working to another whole new level. This isn’t just IT teams but everyone across the organisation went home……thank God for Cloud. Office 365, google business mail, Zoom, Teams organisations kept up the productivity and the user experience for majority of folks didn’t seem that different working remotely vs. being in the office. Everyone thought ok this will just be a few weeks and before they knew it was 6 months and remote working is still going strong.
In countries where commuting is reasonable pleasant within a few months of lockdown 85% of employees were back in the office. In places like London, and South East of UK where commuting is expensive and traffic easily adds an additional 10-15 hours per week to people busy schedules only 40% had returned to work. So does this mean remote working is here to stay? Well I think so for many people at least for the next 6-12 months as Covid19 ravages through the winter.
I have spoken to most of our 50 clients there really wasn’t any pain points from a technology perspective due to the lock down. The cloud applications and cloud infrastructure made it seamless. Some folks miss having a good printer and 2-3 large screens. A minority felt productivity was down 20-30% while the majority said the opposite. Less walking around talking to colleagues at the coffee machine, less meetings, generally less distractions. I think that statement is true for people with discipline. It’s easy to also get distracted at home, washing machine and dishwasher needs emptying, cooking/preparing lunch, gardening if weather is nice, cleaning the house the list goes on…..Most mature adults find a good balance and still manage to remain productive at home. One more added benefit to working from home is that people’s bank balances are bulging. Not eating out every day, no commuting costs (with horrific train fares in UK that’s a big difference), and saving 2 hours a per day. Funnily enough many of the people I spoke to miss the 10 hours of “reading time” they had when commuting but apart from that the most successful species of all time at adapting “humans” to change were content in the new world.
Companies that were more successful at adapting quickly to the new remote working model had a company culture that embraced change, supported by a strong leadership team that quickly aligned with the remote work force and ensured company processes could accommodate and support new operating model. Technology was an enabler so organisations that had laptops issued widely to employees felt virtually no difference whether folks were in the office or working from home. People working from home didn’t have the ergonomic benefits of the office with a solid chair and air con. So during the hot summer most people sat at kitchen tables sweating or in bedrooms so this will be music to the ears for chiropractors in 2021 as their business will boom.