Ok, so here we are talking about Covid AGAIN and we promise this will be the last time we’re going to mention it (for a few months anyway).
The nation has been in and out of lockdown since March last year, birthdays of loved ones and notable days have come and gone. Home schooling has become a regular thing and Christmas 2020 was very surreal with no big celebrations.
We’re all coping in our own way and muddling through as best we can but we have noticed a change in people and also in the business world…
First off, we’re seeing more compassion and personality come through on LinkedIn. People are sharing personal situations of being made redundant and worries on how they’re going to put food on the table. People have shown vulnerability and fear. People have been sharing posts of complete strangers to help them get out there in order to get a job.
Then there’s the zoom meetings, high-flying, career driven people sharing their screens with their cheeky toddlers getting in on the meeting, teenagers playing their music loud and partners walking into the room without realising a zoom meeting is going on. We’ve seen it all.
What about technology?
More than any other piece of technology, the computer has revolutionised not only how people work, but the way businesses are configured.
Work is no longer a destination that involves a chaotic commute followed by eight hours at the office. Technology mixed with Covid has helped more workers to stop the stressful commute to work and to roll out of bed or maybe go for a run before starting to work from their home office.
Also, people are more at ease with technology due to Covid. Zoom usage shot up between March and April 2020 by 100 million WOW!
Zoom User Statistics: peak daily meeting participants
|December 2019||~ 10 million|
|March 2020||200 million +|
|April 2020||300 million +|
Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Schroders recently announced that they are to allow the majority of staff to continue to work from home after the pandemic as the health emergency prompts a major shift in the office-based culture.
The accounting company PwC, which employs 22,000 staff in the UK, is predicting that the majority of employees will move to a more even split of home and office working on a permanent basis.
Before high-speed internet connections and affordable personal computers, working from home looked at lot different. In the past, only those in upper management were given the opportunity to work from home because they were viewed as already being highly motivated.
The pandemic has certainly shown many business leaders that their people can be productive, engaged and happy working from home.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of technology in the modern workplace is the ability to collaborate in real-time with colleagues and contributors from all over the world.
Why would businesses want a remote workforce
For businesses, a remote workforce can also mean a significant reduction in overhead costs. You no longer have to pay for office space, furniture and other amenities in order to run a world-class company. In fact, all you need is a computer, an internet connection and an idea and you can start a business.
With more accessibility to quality software and powerful, affordable computing and storage, the barriers to entrepreneurship continue to be eliminated.
The ability to accommodate remote employees has become such an important asset, that progressive companies are investing more than ever in transitioning to cloud-based solutions. These networks allow employees to enjoy a single access point from any location with an internet signal. The laptop lifestyle really is a thing.
Are at-home workers more productive?
In a word yes! I was recently talking to an associate who works in IT for a large accountancy firm. He was tasked back in March to get all of the workforce working remotely. He did it in 6 days. His next task was to monitor productivity. He shared the data to the MD that showed an 83% increase in productivity. His MD asked him to check the data, but it was correct.
Last June we wrote a blog about productivity for remote working, we wonder how the figures have changed since then?
In a survey carried out by Eskenzi PR, 91% of employees said they would prefer the option to work remotely and 36% of respondents said that they feel more productive working from home.
The truth is that the office is far more distracting than both employees and employers realise. The mere fact of having to sit at a desk in a busy office is one of the top ten productivity killers. Add annoying and disruptive co-workers, pointless meetings and snack breaks to the mix and you have an environment full of distractions.
Another interesting affect that technology has had on at-home workers is that they communicate less often with managers, but they do it more concisely. Instead of constantly checking in or even swinging by their office to talk in person, remote workers tend to consolidate their correspondence so that there isn’t a constant back and forth. Cloud-based programs and collaboration tools also help to encourage this streamlined approach to communicating.
So, has Covid changed us forever? The conclusion is yes, and maybe in a naïve view, we think for the better.