Because of COVID-19, we’ve all had to make significant changes in the way we live and work. Many companies across the nation closed their office doors and sent their employees to work from home. But now, as some offices start to open back up, many organizations are figuring out how to get back to normal. But, should this be the goal? What if we don’t try to return to how we did things before, but take what we’ve learned from this time and create the “new normal?” Let’s not return to business as usual. Let’s make permanent changes moving forward that will positively impact our employees and our businesses.
What Can We Improve Moving Forward?
Making the sudden change to work-from-home brought its challenges. Many companies had to figure out how to get their employees up and running remotely. We saw difficulties supplying hardware like laptops. We saw security challenges. We saw companies struggling to collaborate through the distance.
However, through this time, we’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned how quickly everything can change and that it’s helpful to prepare our organizations for potential disasters in advance. We’ve adopted new tools that have helped our employees continue to connect and collaborate remotely. And, we’ve discovered that employees can work from home and still be productive and complete their tasks and responsibilities.
By understanding the unexpected positives of this transition, we can implement them into our new normal. Let’s forge new ways of working — ways that offer more flexibility, freedom, and productivity.
The Cloud is the Future
If there is one thing that has proven itself during this time, its the cloud. Companies that had their data on the cloud found the transition to work from home much more seamless than those who didn’t. That’s because the built-in benefit of the cloud is the ability to work from anywhere. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access the resources you need.
This convenience is not only beneficial in times of disaster — it can be extremely beneficial at all times. The cloud offers flexibility for your workers and your business. An employee needs to work from home one day? Easy. Someone is traveling and needs to work on the road? Can do. The cloud takes away the restraints of a 9 AM-5 PM office schedule and allows much more room for freedom.
Even more so, it allows your business to recruit the best workers available. You are no longer limited by physical location. If your office is in Northern California, by using the cloud, you can hire someone who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. The cloud opens up many doors for companies to expand their talent pool and therefore improve their business.
Not to mention with the cloud, you don’t have to worry about storing, powering, or cooling servers. You can increase or decrease usage with a few clicks of your mouse. And, your data is stored behind top-of-the-line security solutions. The cloud is the future, and now might be the time to make the switch.
Employees Love Flexibility
Your employees are the backing of your business. Without them, your business wouldn’t be able to operate. And more than anything, employees appreciate a flexible workplace. We all have lives outside of our work, and the more understanding and adaptable our employers are, the more satisfied and loyal we are.
During this time, all of us have had to work through difficult circumstances. Whether it’s the anxiety of a sick loved one or having to take some time out of our workday to help our children with their remote schooling. Through this, we’ve all learned to be more understanding and trusting towards our staff and coworkers. And it’s gone a long way. So, let’s keep it up.
This continued flexibility might mean allowing workers to adjust their schedules based on their needs. When the time comes, let them come in an hour early and leave an hour early so that they can pick up their children from school. Or maybe it’s letting employees work from home two days a week. The trust we’ve built over this time can continue. Let’s give our employees a little credit that they will complete their work even if they aren’t in the office every day during typical business hours.
Remote Work is Here to Stay
Remote working can work. That’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few weeks and months. And employees might even be more productive from home. So, even when employees can come back into the office, should they?
Not only do some employees work better from home, but they also save on commute time. They also might save on food, eating from home as opposed to ordering out. But it’s not only good for workers. With employees working from home, your business can save on office space. Why pay the rent if workers can do the same job (and be more productive and enjoy it more) from home? And if you could downsize your office, that would be less money on power and furniture too.
This doesn’t have to mean all of your employees work from home from now on (although Twitter has made WFH a permanent option for its employees). But, maybe think about a hybrid schedule where employees come in for part of the week but stay home for the rest. If workers can do their job as well, if not better, at home and want to, let them. We have the technology to make it work.
We’re all looking forward to the time when we can all be together again. However, this doesn’t mean we have to go back to the exact way it was before. Let’s use what we’ve learned and what we’re continuing to learn over these months and integrate them into a new normal.