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Opinion and Editorial

Remote work boosts productivity

Shehab Alyassi
Filed on June 11, 2020

The pandemic has hugely increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity for organisations. However, leaders and managers have a potential opportunity to prepare for a 'new normal' (post-Covid-19 period) work environment.

A more clear vision can be formed by looking at some of the emerging trends:

  • Remote work was a critical enabler of business and economic continuity during the original shelter-in-place regulations. It may continue to be for future emergencies, especially now that it's been proven to be possible.
  • Many employees are reporting greater productivity and higher job satisfaction, which is translating into business profitability.
  • Businesses are saving on overheads such as lower real estate, equipment, and supply expenses.
  • Global Workplace Analytics have reported an average savings of $11,000 per part-time role.
  • With high returns, rewards at stake, it's easy to see why remote work may be the foundation of the future of work.
  • For most new-age workers whose roles will rely on mobile tools (such as computers, software, and internet connections), the location should be a daily choice, not a lifestyle commitment, where accessibility will be 24x7, however, the choice of responsiveness will be left to individual workers depending on the urgency to act.
  • Earlier any blurring of boundaries between our work and personal life was considered bad. However, it's now become one of the accepted truths about work.

The biggest challenges in the new normal facing their organisations in the next 12 months are digital transformation (37 per cent) and the adoption of new technology (35 per cent). The next revolution is the flexible working revolution. Almost half of businesses surveyed (41 per cent) say they already offer some degree of remote working. In contrast, three-fifths (60 per cent) provide flexitime opportunities, allowing employees to choose when to start and end their workday.

There can be downsides due to collateral challenges in remote working, namely, household distractions (45 per cent), poor team communication/camaraderie (40 per cent), lack of human interaction (37 per cent), technology restrictions (34 per cent). More so, physical isolation from colleagues can create uncertainty, frustrations, and even burnout.

However, if leaders can strike a balance, the work-chain can be smoother, seamless, and streamlined.

Shehab Alyassi is an Emirati researcher

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