Remote working could be here to stay for the long term but what are the pros and cons of this new working practice?
While some employers may be struggling at the thought of having a more empowered workforce during these last months, others are embracing the benefits that working from home has brought to their employees - as a result they are overhauling their HR policies to make it a permanent way of working. Recent research from Forbes shows that a staggering “44% would take a pay cut to work from home forever”.
“44% would take a pay cut to work from home forever”, Forbes
Tech giant Facebook for example, has joined Twitter to allow most staff to work wherever they please. Mark Zuckerberg went as far as to announce he wants to shift to a more remote workforce in the next five to ten years, with the aim of becoming “the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale”.
The tech industry is not only leading the way with remote working but also playing a pivotal role in supporting other well established industries to follow suit. The Royal Bank of Scotland has already informed more than 50,000 of its employees to continue working from home until at least the end of September. Just 400 employees were asked to return to the office in June. Chief executive, Alison Rose said the bank will review its working from home arrangements in September: one-way corridors and a temporary ban on hot desking were among safety measures being implemented by the bank.
Right now, companies across all industries will be weighing up the pros and cons of remote working. With only a skeleton staff manning offices, the workplace, as white collar workers know it, will never be the same. Some may have found remote working too isolating for them: they are missing breaks with work colleagues and having brainstorming sessions together. Being less visible physically could also make employees feel more distant to the company and not a part of it like they once were. Some may feel their workload is harder to manage while being at home, though others have said they work more efficiently and productively. HR and management teams may equally feel isolated, feeling the strain of handling the uncertainties and loneliness that comes with managing the workforce remotely.
These are just some of the issues employers will have to face in the coming weeks as to whether to continue remote working for its employees as the lockdown eases. But they won’t be able to ignore the positive aspects in particular to their financial wellbeing it has brought to them:
- Their lifestyle has changed for the better, with some now having more time to exercise and be with their families without facing an exhausting commute to and from work each day. This has improved their physical and mental wellbeing as they are more relaxed and less anxious from rushing everywhere.
- People are not spending on expensive morning coffees and lunches and by working from home can use this saved money to reduce debt and save towards their long-term financial goals.
- People’s financial wellbeing has also improved during this time of lockdown as they haven’t incurred expenses that they would normally have done and are stashing unspent cash away for a rainy day.
- Financial wellness is among people’s list of priorities that have come out of this pandemic.
So if remote working continues post pandemic, what tools are at employers’ disposal to maximise their employees’ wellbeing? Virtual breaks will have to be implemented as reminders for staff to step away from their computers and to not work overtime. Staff will have to make use of hangout chats and “online tools” to discuss or brainstorm ideas, so connection with other colleagues is not lost. Thanks to technology people can stay in touch with each other, keep motivated and don’t need to feel isolated.There are plenty of tools and education platforms, available to employers anytime, anywhere to enhance their employees’ mental and financial wellbeing while working at home. But it is up to the employer to embrace this digital challenge to equip their people.
According to a recent Deloitte survey, there is a gap in remote working tools available to employees. Fewer than half (45%) have and use online video applications, just over 30% know how to use wellbeing tools and less than a third are receiving training on how to use new technology from home. So, it is not just the employees who need training about these tools, but also employers and HR managers who need to change their mindset and invest in these technologies for the benefit of their staff to maximise their working from home experience.
In our next article, we take a look at the types of digital wellbeing solutions available for employers to adopt for their businesses.
The Business Transformation Network has shared this article in partnership with Mintago.