According to a recent Gartner CFO survey, it was
revealed that over two-thirds (74%) of the CFO’s and Finance leaders plan to
permanently shift employees to remote work after the Covid-19 crisis ends.
As Covid-19 accelerated overtime, it not only impacted people’s health but also their
finances. People were laid off from jobs, health care workers worked an unbeatable
number of hours everyday and continue till date. Remote work is being praised for a
variety of reasons ranging from its flexibility to increased productivity.
We have seen it all, haven’t we? Quarantine, Lockdown, A Pandemic!
But like the other face of a coin, the pandemic has widened horizons for most jobs. The Pandemic paved way for “Remote Work” “Inclusion” and “Diversity”.
Various organizations have benefited from unexpected returns as they implemented remote work strategies. A Gallup poll found that workers who spent 60-80% of their time away from the office had the highest rate of engagement. From improved productivity, increased efficiency, improved work- life balance for the employees, reduced costs in infrastructure the list goes on.
Employees have had their set of struggles and benefits that they have reaped from the pandemic. The long commutes, pulling all nighters to meet deadlines are some things nobody misses.
Employees benefited hugely from the diverse opportunities that they came across through the pandemic. With location barrier disregarded as one of the pointers for talent acquisition, employees have been able to work with their dream organizations that were miles apart.
Infact “by 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month” suggests Lister.
Organizations have leveraged their human capital during lockdown in the form of remote work but there were certain challenges that the organizations faced in the initial phase of remote work.
According to an expert, the desire of an employee to be validated and recognized increases by about 30% during periods of disruption.
Let’s have a look at some of the challenges encountered by employees amidst the shift:
1. Team Communication
Communication within and outside the team is the first and the foremost thing that
gets disrupted if people work remotely. Communications become longer and since
everything happens online, they also become impersonal.
The brainstorming sessions that could happen physically have turned into unplanned
meetings. Productivity and team effort awaits approval as people are occupied with
some work or the other. People often feel left out or stay completely unaware of the
communications which puts them in a tough spot mentally.
2. Overworking and Burnouts go parallely If you’re working from home or have worked from home before, there’s a new version to this story. Almost everyone in the world worked from home at some point or the other during the outbreak of the pandemic.
The newest version of remote working was “Overworking”. Even the top organizations in the world experienced the challenges of shifting their workforce online.
With no boundary separating their personal and professional life, employees stayed in the comforts of their home yet felt supremely burnt out due to the sudden shift.
3. Lack of RecognitionWith remote work comes the biggest con for an employee, Recognition. The fact that employees don’t work solely for the purpose of getting recognized is true but recognition is one wheel that keeps everyone’s car moving.
It becomes difficult for managers to keep a track of every employee’s progress and it mostly gets missed which affects work culture.
While these are some of the factors that affected the working conditions throughout the pandemic, there are various benefits of accepting the futuristic approach of remote work.
Ways in which remote work promotes Diversity and Inclusion include:
1. Global Reach and Offshore Talent Diversity begins with creating a space for varied people in an organization. Talent acquisition from varied countries was still a task that created an obstacle for people to be hired in different geographical regions.
As the pandemic occurred, it resulted in lockdown and quarantine that made organizations accept remote work as the only solution. As they shifted more and more employees towards remote work, businesses realized that it was cost-effective and benefited the organization and its employees. This also meant that organizations could recruit people from different locations and ‘talent’ became a priority over location. This recruition drive benefits organizations in developing creative talent solutions and emphasizing on building client focussed talent strategies.
2. Diverse Talent Pool Inclusion and Diversity not only benefits organizations culturally but also assists with great minds working together and fostering innovation.
With access to a wide talent pool, organizations can build a better workforce. Recruiting people from different backgrounds also assists with creating an informed workforce where different opinions could help in decision making. Recruiters also benefit from recruiting talented people from varied locations while saving on their relocation cost.
3. Enhanced Productivity There are multiple factors that can contribute to increased productivity; Nicholas Bloom, a professor from Stanford conducted a study which revealed that employees who work from home, work a true full day(or more). They don’t get late to the office or don’t rush to leave early multiple times a week.
The study also showed that employees could work efficiently according to their own will and produce more work. These results are also altered when employees have to commute from different areas which adds to their exhaustion. Increased productivity also assists with better ROI and enhanced working atmosphere.
4. Sustaining Diversity Remote work is a powerful way to retain and support diverse talent from different backgrounds and recruiting the right match. With remote work appearing as the future of many organizations, the factors deciding talent acquisition would vary and not be limited to location. It builds an efficient work culture where people respect diversity and promote inclusion. The future of recruitment would see a significant shift in the recruitment process.
89% of the employees believe that a flexible job would help them take better care of themselves, and 77% think it would help them be healthier in general by allowing them to eat better or exercise more. It further promotes a sustainable work culture, increased efficiency, better returns and effective work life balance. Inclusion and Diversity not only assists in bringing organizations on the map but also alleviates their overall practices.