Will the pandemic accelerate remote working practices?

The pandemic has forced businesses to adopt remote working across the board. Will employees want to continue working from home post-Covid-19?

In the past 10 years or so, the number of people working remotely has increased significantly.

Major contributors to this shift include technology-related advancements, cultural changes to work-life integration and family commitments.

The Covid-19 lockdown has forced firms to rethink the way they do business. Most firms have rolled out new approaches to business continuity, cyber-security and, of course, remote working.

It will not come as a surprise that the future of work was always going to involve a shift towards remote working.

Forward-thinking businesses such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Netflix were among the first businesses to adopt remote working practices. Global trends were heading that way before the lockdown.

Regardless of what happens next, it is unlikely that working practices will return to the way they were. Commuting from home to a central office where you have face-to-face interactions with colleagues could become a thing of the past.

Firms that do not have flexible or work-from-home policies will struggle to retain employees and attract the best people.  Now that those working in industries such as technology, finance or service-based roles that can be performed online have shown that they can perform their role from home, they are less likely to see the need to go to the office. If businesses ask millennials and Generation-Z workers to return to the office, they are likely to be asked “Why?”

The most successful businesses will be those who encourage their people to develop their communication skills, focus on collaboration and roll out the technology that enables their people to perform their job online. However, not everyone will be able to work from home, all the time and some people may prefer to work in the office.

In addition, those working in front-line public services, retail, healthcare and the hospitality industry will still have to go to their place of work.

That said, cities are likely to be much quieter places going forward and businesses will have to adapt in order to provide their services to an increasingly remote working population.

It seems likely that the pandemic will indeed accelerate remote working practices and businesses will need to become comfortable with that.

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