Business has been disrupted by Covid-19 in ways we couldn’t have imagined just six months ago. As so many employees are asked to adapt to a so-called ‘new normal’, are we seeing the future of work and enterprise unfold in front of our eyes?
Thousands of offices and workplaces have stood empty during the Coronavirus pandemic, observing social distancing guidelines that tell us to ‘work from home unless it is impossible to do so’. As a result, employers are moving online to embrace new ways of doing business, from virtual meetings to exploring eLearning programmes.
So what is the true effect of digital transformation on our working lives, what benefits is it providing — and how many of these changes will stick around?
Is Remote Working Here to Stay?
A recent article in Forbes identified several key benefits to remote working during lockdown, including boosts to productivity, increasing employee retention and reducing businesses’ impact on the environment. On the other hand, there are concerns about employees feeling isolated and missing out on face-to-face team interactions while workplaces remain closed.
A UK study published on Personnel Today showed less than half (47%) of respondents believed their employer would decide against continuing widespread remote working after the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control. It certainly seems likely that many employers will be willing to explore a more flexible approach to remote working when lockdown ends.
Each individual company will know what is best for them and their workers. However, lockdown has provided many of us with a chance to test out remote working in a way that we might never have been able to before.
A New Era for Recruitment and Retention
With a move towards increased remote working possibly on the way, such a huge level of digital transformation could have far-reaching effects on the future of work. Constraints on recruitment and retention based on issues like physical location have the potential to melt away if businesses shift to increased home working.
How many talented people have had to leave businesses where they were thriving, or shrugged off their chances of a dream job purely because of the distance to a workplace? The opportunities are genuinely staggering for companies that have found remote working is truly viable for them. Embracing regularly scheduled face-to-face meetings and drop-in days at times that suit both parties could revolutionise the way we look at assembling our workforces.
Digital transformation also has implications for long-standing work workplace processes like performance appraisals. Using a Learning Management System (LMS) has the power to make appraisals a more positive experience for managers and employees, shifting it from a worry-inducing annual event to a continuous online process that can enrich working lives and relationships.
Discover New Ways of Learning
Just because we’re not physically in the workplace, there’s no reason for training and development to grind to a halt. There are an array of eLearning training solutions available online that can educate, inspire and bring out the very best in your team.
There are many benefits of eLearning when it comes to supporting remote workers, not least growing skill sets and unlocking career development opportunities. Online training can also boost motivation and provide a welcome change for employees, many of whom may sometimes feel like their days are blurring into one during lockdown.
Learning can also provide an opportunity for increasing communications between teams, boosted by leaders who encourage their employees to share new knowledge with colleagues. While exciting forms of content such as quizzes and gamification also present the opportunity to tailor training and development programmes specifically to the needs of our teams.
Reinforcing Your Company’s Culture
One final way that lockdown working has changed workplaces is by pressing businesses to re-evaluate or reshape their approach to culture. As we touched on above, one of the biggest difficulties for many employers has been finding ways to engage with remote workers.
Online messaging apps have seen an explosion in popularity as businesses raced to find ways to either build or expand on their digital communications. For many organisations however, making sure people can quickly and easily reach out to team members and stakeholders is just one part of the puzzle.
Companies have taken advantage of video messaging to organise digital catch-ups and social events, including quizzes and shared lunch breaks. Employers seizing the chance to build team unity has undoubtedly been one of the real benefits of an, at-times, overwhelmingly difficult lockdown period.
Many of us have accelerated into exploring new ways of working. What have been the key challenges and opportunities for your business as a result of remote working?