The buzz around the words “remote work” has become a lot more prominent after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our previous understandings of “normal.” The world has however been moving towards remote work for already some time. Are business leaders ready to rise to the occasion and leverage this challenge?
The strong social momentum for working outside your home
has its roots in the industrial revolution. The 1900s saw the beginning of the rise for what we now know as the “9-to-5, modern office routine.” Nonetheless, ever since the dawn of the first personal computers and the development of greater connectivity, we have slowly been moving in the opposite direction.
Previously, the trend has perhaps been slowed down by the concerns for employee productivity and negative impact on company culture. Indeed, even with the brief “return to the office” that many countries experienced/are experiencing, the same concerns saw daylight yet again. But what we witnessed in March, is still seen as the tipping point in the remote work trend. Hundreds of millions of people were sent home to work in the matter of a few days and weeks – with no long-term preparation nor transition period.
Although we are now seeing attempts of a slow return to the office, followed by a retreat back home, for many business leaders around the world, the past six months have opened their eyes to a new world of work.
Overcoming the Real Obstacle of Remote Work
The struggles around remote work are manifold. As with many things, so are its benefits. Let’s start with the first. The number of self-help articles on “Tips for working from home” represent how often these struggles are expressed as personal ones – ranging from motivation to the creation of personal routines. It is true that with such a transition, personal struggles and adjustments will definitely play a big role.
Nonetheless, when it comes specifically to remote work and its impact on the company, we should actually start from the company perspective. If employees are struggling to get their work done effectively, if team productivity is taking a hit or if “company culture” is seemingly no longer existent – the problem is that the company has not yet become a mature remote business.
The idea that your company can progress as a remote business illustrates that after overcoming the initial struggles, you can seize a whole new world of opportunity. This brings us to the benefits. Becoming a company that acknowledges the value of remote work illustrates a degree of flexibility that is crucial in surviving the unpredictable turns that the modern world presents. Even outside times of crisis, we are operating in an extremely fast-changing environment. Being ready to accommodate different employee needs and changing circumstances, adds to the success of a modern business. Schedule a free advisory call
Assessing Your Remote Business Maturity
So, how do we go about increasing remote business maturity? This can be operationalised in the Remote Business Design model, which illustrates how businesses evolve.
This model helps assess a company’s stage of remote readiness. It also provides a basis for your business to progress through the five levels from physical manifestation to a virtual organisation, outperforming traditional businesses. The further your business goes on the remote maturity stages, the more important cybercapacity – comprising cybersecurity and privacy – becomes.
Depending on the digital maturity and available resources many vacancies, which have traditionally required a physical presence, are also innovating. It appears that in the future, physiotherapists can, for example, benefit from physiorobots for the initial mobilisation of patients. Or hotel check-in staff can benefit from self-check-in or even welcoming robotic creatures
to replace their physical presence. The world is indeed changing, but for now, our focus remains mainly on the companies, for which going fully remote is already a possibility.