The world had been changing at an ever-increasing rate before the coronavirus epidemic, thanks to developments in the internet, artificial intelligence and automation. These technological innovations had given hints to what the workplace will look like in future and many organizations had started adapting what is popularly described as the future of work.
According to the Havard business review article published in 1998, 32,000 AT&T employees worked from home on September 20, 1994. An experiment which included employees ranging from the CEO to phone operators. The objective was to see how far a large corporation could go in revolutionizing the workplace.
This phenomenon became a trend in 2020, as businesses and employers were left with no option of considering when and where they could work, due to the global pandemic. Many firms were forced to decentralize their workforce from huge, highly packed office settings to smaller, sparsely populated co-working locations or entirely remote, at-home workers due to public health regulations. In 2021, more organizations adopted this trend, and by 2025, an anticipated 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days each month.
In this article, we will review 4 ways remote work is changing workplace dynamics
Work Location –
It used to be that if an IT expert in Nigeria, for example, wanted to work for a big corporation, they had to live in Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt cities. These cities take a big bite out of employees’ net salaries because they have the highest costs of living in the country. Many applicants now have a choice, and they are opting to leave the big cities for less expensive locations, like Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Ibadan and so on. Aside from the cost of living, quality of life including work-life balance has also influenced this pattern.
Hiring cost –
Employers benefit from this since they can attract better talents for less by targeting markets with lower cost of living. For example, consider a recruiting manager in Toronto, Canada, where almost everything is expensive. He does, however, have team members in Africa who were hired at a reduced wage.
As an HR manager, having employees from diverse cultural backgrounds can also boost employee engagement
Reduced travel time –
Another win-win for employers is reduced cost in travel / transport expenses.
Imagine having a two-hour presentation for a client in another country which may require 48 hours of travel time. Today, most companies have adopted virtual meetings for pitch and deck presentation. This means that thousands are saved on airfare, hotel accommodation, and entertainment. The same even goes for company-wide, all-hands meetings.
Less office space
The need for large physical office spaces will gradually become a thing of the past. One way of achieving this is to have specific days for in-person meetings and collaboration, and then other days allocated for remote work. In-person meetings might be reserved for brainstorming sessions, introducing new projects, or team-building exercises, while remote days would be for work that can be performed individually.
Whether a hybrid team or a fully remote setup, employers are set to save on costs by renting a smaller office space compared to when all employees were to resume onsites at the same time.
In conclusion, as more companies adopt remote work there is a need for human resource managers to rethink how they can effectively manage employees who work from home.
While there are enormous benefits of working remotely, it is important to keep an eye on how to get the entire team to deliver on the company’s overall business goal.
As an HR manager, what steps and systems have you put in place to ensure that you can effectively manage your team’s performance? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.