Lockdown is gradually easing and some people are slowly heading back to the office. Before we hang our coats up and dust down the teacups in the cupboard, let’s take a minute to look at how far remote working has brought us.
For some organisations this was initially unchartered waters, but it would be hard to argue that there aren’t multiple benefits for both employers and employees. As change specialists, we’d hate those benefits to be lost in the future. So, how do you harness the positives and make sure they become standard practice?
What are those benefits for employees?
No more travel delays. The daily hateful commute has been replaced with a quick wash, piece of toast and a makeshift office at home. The time gained and reduced stress is a benefit few will want to give up permanently.
The flexibility. When you have all you need at home, the night-owls can get work done at midnight if it suits them and sleep in the next morning. There is scope for better work / life balance and this benefit should be encouraged for the wellbeing of all.
Increased autonomy. At home you’re not given a work-station with regulated temperature and lighting. You can light a candle and get some music on without annoying anyone! With this autonomy you can decide when you’re available and when you are not, meaning nobody can swing by your desk and interrupt your train of thought.
Feeling trusted. For a lot of organisations a “nine to five at your desk” culture was the norm. Now that productivity is judged by output rather than presenteeism, a healthy culture of trust has developed which helps teams feel empowered.
The money saved. Finder published that the 23.9 million UK employees working from home are saving around £1.1 billion between them every week. Pretty nice for a rainy-day fund!
What are those benefits for the organisation?
Getting more done. There have been many reports that the pandemic-led move away from the office has resulted in higher productivity. Having all the tools to deliver from home means you can connect with whoever you need to and organise meetings which don’t depend on you all being in the same place. In the same survey by Finder, 2/3 employees said they are more productive when working from home.
Fewer overheads. Nobody in the office means money saved on all the office essentials, lighting, heating, cleaning products, tea etc. No conventions, office parties, reduced expenses. It all adds up to a tidy saving which could be invested back into the business, shared amongst employees or donated.
Embracing the tech. Digital transformation means greater efficiency as an organisation can automate time consuming manual processes. Working remotely has meant employers have needed to embrace technology and get their employees trained in O365, WMs and Zoom. The ongoing benefit for the organisation and staff will live on past the pandemic.
Reduced Carbon Footprint. We have had to rethink how we do business because of fewer travel opportunities. The benefit to the environment is huge and could pave the way for organisations to further address their environmental impact and introduce more sustainability-led practices. This has to be embraced going forward.
How do you realise these benefits?
- Gather data. Your list of benefits to the organisation and to employees may be different. You need to delve into the insights and understand what matters to you as an organisation when moving forwards. You can get insights from your team via surveys, look at the cost savings reports and determine the benefits that need to stay.
- Welcome in Change Management to carefully navigate new changes in your organisation. In order to embed the positive benefits, you need to make sure the culture transforms in line with practical changes. It can be useful to involve an independent party to look at how to embed cultural change and adoption as a critical friend.
- Keep the benefits under review. Something which was a positive change once might evolve to become a blocker under different circumstances. Make sure that you continue to review the data and insights to keep your finger on the pulse. New benefits might present themselves over time which need to be understood and embraced.
As the vaccination programme is rolled out and we hopefully move away from the “need” to work remotely, take time to understand which positive changes you want to harness and make sure they stick. We would be happy to help you move your organisation forwards and realise these benefits. Contact EstherM@NineFeetTall.com