Well, the future is here – and it arrived a little sooner than we planned.
The current crisis has meant that the gradual move towards people working remotely and communicating and collaborating using digital platforms and tools has been accelerated and has become the ‘new normal’.
No more 9 to 5
The truth is many New businesses will be wrong-footed by this sudden surge in employees working from home and have not weighed up the implications for their future. In fact, some bosses are still so paranoid about their employees spending all day watching TV instead of working that they haven’t looked at the long-term impact this situation will have on retaining their staff.
When all the employees of a business gathered in one place between 9am and 5pm each day, the location of the office was a factor in their employment. Where they lived, and the length of the daily commute governed factors like employee numbers, hours worked, and salary.
Once remote working becomes the norm, with tasks being managed by project software and meetings taking place via Zoom, none of this will matter.
Location is no longer a factor
Employees will not have to live within 20-30 miles of the office so they can come in every day. They won’t even have to live in the same country. Salaries will not have to be gauged according to how expensive it is to live in the same capital city as your companies HQ.
This means as an employer, you have a new host of potential employees to choose from and salary negotiations can be interesting when you can employ people who live in much cheaper areas of the country rather than those paying big-city rates.
You can work anywhere
There is, however another side to this coin. Now employees can work almost anywhere, how do you manage to stop your best workers from jumping ship and joining that big firm on the other side of the country, or even the other side of the world?
Well, as a starting point it’s key to remember that this is all new to them as well. Just as you are used to running a business a certain way – your employees are equally used to working that way too. Having to change things around so they can work from home can be difficult if that home is full of small children or other distractions.
Working from home is not always easy
The employee may not have their own private space in which to work or any of the facilities they would have at your office. For some, working from home actually means setting up in the local Starbucks or McDonalds and using their WiFi.
The key here then is to discover exactly what your employees want. Just as there is software to manage tasks or hold meetings, there is software to survey what your staff thinks about how they work and the firm. The better brands like inpulse.com allow you to design the survey yourself so you get bespoke insights as opposed to standard off-the-peg answers.
As with so many things in the ‘new normal,’ the change in circumstances has created a door that swings both ways. Finding out what your key employees think and what they want from the business they work for can dramatically aid staff retention and this can only be good for your business.