The nature of remote work, and work in general, is changing rapidly. The pandemic forced many companies to make a dramatic shift to newer, more flexible work-design models.
Today’s key topics for people & culture leaders include hybridity, flexibility, and inclusivity — all of which must be attended to while maintaining a viable remote work environment.
However, balancing the needs of both businesses and employees can be tricky, and the shift to remote work models has given rise to many challenges. Here we look at a few of these and some potential solutions.
1. Safety and security
With remote work, a company’s staff members work in a decentralized manner. They may be on potentially dangerous networks or personal devices that could expose a company’s internal systems to digital threats.
The best solution here is enterprise-level security software designed to work well for a distributed workforce. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture should be minimized as much as possible to ensure the security of business systems.
A digital divide of sorts exists between those who have their own computers and internet access at home and those who do not. As expected, those in the ‘have not’ category may find it harder to gain or retain new employment if finding access to these essentials is tricky.
It goes without saying that companies want to hire the best talent, and that means choosing the right person for the job and then furnishing them with what they need to get the task done, not selecting a candidate who comes pre-equipped.
3. Remote surveillance
As we’ve witnessed during the shift to remote working models, not all managers and leaders are happy to relinquish control over their team members. Micro-management is still happening to many employees, even when they work miles away from the boss.
In a bid to retain control and visibility, many employers are turning to surveillance. ExpressVPN’s study on the subject notes that “83% of employers think there are ethical concerns with employee monitoring, yet 78% use monitoring software.”
Employers should focus more on results than time spent on tasks, which negates the need for surveillance. It’s the results that matter most, after all.
4. Hybrid work models
Even as more and more companies have tasked employees with working from home full-time, an equal number of employers still require staff to spend some time in the office, whether a few hours per day or a couple of days per week: both examples of a hybrid remote work model.
Forward-thinking employers have embraced hybridity as a means of retaining their talent while balancing employee and company needs. Platforms such as Beamible, used by Thrifty, GM, and McDonald’s, among others, allow staff and leaders to collaboratively design work that works for everyone.
While most people are happy to work from home and have a chance to attend to other tasks and duties, others may struggle with their work-life balance. Staying motivated while working from home has been a real problem for many employees. The lack of a structured environment can mean issues with switching from a home mentality to a workplace mentality.
Some people find it helpful to get ready for work, briefly leave the house, then return to the home ‘office’ — even if it’s just a kitchen table.
Remote work is here to stay. Even if an end to the pandemic means companies try to return to traditional work models, employees are likely to kick back. Its benefits and added flexibility do come with a few drawbacks, such as those above, but there is a viable solution for every challenge.