By admin 30 March 2020

No more 9-5 thanks to Covid-19?

Many companies have been looking into digital transformation in recent years. How do they move to ‘the cloud’? Can employees really work remotely without skiving? What the hell even is a VPN?

Employees have been requesting things like home-working for a while. Increasing their work-life balance and spending more time with their family are becoming more significant factors than how long they can spend at work per week.

Some companies have adopted elements of home-working, maybe on a one day per week basis. But it’s been a background issue. Something to think about, but filed away under ‘Maybe Later’.

Until now, anyway.

Arguably, Covid-19 has probably done more for digital transformation programmes than every webinar or TEDtalk on the subject, combined. Covid-19 has burst onto the scene like a fidget spinner in a primary school. Nobody has had time to prepare.

Now, companies have had to go from little or no remote working facility to entirely relocating their businesses to their employee’s houses. All while managing the most significant changes to our personal and social lives since WW2.

Hands up, everyone who’s ever said, “I thrive on challenges”. Be careful what you wish for. Are you still thriving?

In the business world, things don’t change unless there is either growing pressure or immediate, high pressure. The coronavirus, Covid-19, has provided both. At once.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a massive shift in the way every company operates. It’s hard to believe that everything will return to exactly how it was before when the crisis passes.

So, what permanent changes might there be?


Remote Working

Where we work has been one of the main changes to our work lives. After ironing out the first IT and logistics issues, (“How do I install Zoom?”, “I didn’t realise I’d need cables”, “Is this laptop now mine, forever?”, “I’ll have to drive to work to check the website”), people are now remote-working effectively.

Although the information is all anecdotal, companies are reporting increases in productivity and staff are happier in their work.

Online video-conferencing platforms like Zoom are having a bumper season. If the Government can now conduct their daily press conferences via Zoom, there’s absolutely no reason why your purchasing and production departments can’t do it as well. All it takes is the desire to make it work.

The benefits of not commuting to work are showing. People have more time for a start. They’re starting work refreshed and not stressed from their daily commute. They’re finishing earlier and creating more quality time at home. They’re saving money on travel costs and may even find they don’t need two cars if both adults in the home decide to work remotely, full-time.

The environment is thanking us as well. Scientists are reporting a reduction in air and water pollution levels around the world. According to the BBC, carbon monoxide levels in New York City have fallen to 50% of the levels from 2019. In China, the reduction in industrial output has wiped out at least 25% of its emissions in the past month alone. Maybe this is the reset needed?

The main negative appears to be a lack of social, face-to-face interaction. People are social animals by nature and need to be with other people. Video calls are ok, but there’s no substitute for physically being with other humans.

Creative industries are finding the lack of human contact can impact on their creative process. Bouncing ideas around and generally chatting with people is a catalyst to having ideas, so it may be that they will look at ways to counter this issue.

Overall, it seems that remote working is now here to stay in some form, anyway. When the isolation measures are reduced or removed, many employees will want to keep elements of their new way of working. Employers will have had a considerable opportunity to trial it and should be more willing to accept it as the new ‘normal’. Particularly if they’ve invested in the hardware and software needed for it to work. Rather than a strict 9-5, five days a week, maybe companies will look at three days at home, two days in the office? There are many ways of doing it if they want to.

How is your business adapting to the current emergency measures?

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