As an Employer, did you see other employers scramble to roll out working-from-home when the pandemic hit?
Do you play a part in your organisation’s work-from-home strategies? If so, the following should be of interest to you.
Many organisations did not have proper work-from-home processes in place when the pandemic hit. When governments suddenly mandated stay-at-home directives, many organisations were caught ill-prepared. Is this you, even now?
It’s probably fair to say that some organisations are still struggling to implement effective work-from-home processes. Many, under very trying circumstances, heroically scrambled as best they could. They were aided in no small measure by new digital tools that (fortunately) require minimal change to existing IT (Information Technology) systems.
Technology is an essential part of an organisation’s work-from-home toolkit (think Zoom, Teams, Slack). But IT alone cannot solve every work-from-home challenge – many challenges do not depend on IT.
The future of working from home
As the pandemic lingers on, some organisations continue to hesitate to invest in urgently needed changes, hoping governments will lift stay-at-home mandates once and for all. Again and again, these same organisations have had their hopes dashed. Many are finding themselves still scrambling, learning and wanting. Truth be told, working from home is here to stay regardless.
Check this out for a global view: An employers’ guide on working from home in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 Geneva: International Labour Office, 2020
The following simple graphic shows wofome’s predictions on the future of working from home:
(* A Wofomer is a work-from-home-er)
Working-from-home has created a new set of worker-needs
As I write this (April 2021), many things are apparent, namely:
- It will take much longer than anticipated to return to a world where working-from-home was only for a select few – if that ever occurs.
- The new-normal will instead have a robust work-from-home component.
- Many workers have bitten the forbidden fruit of working from home, and they like it.
- Many workers will be wanting a hybrid situation, where they work from home some days in the week.
- You may need some of your workers back at their traditional workplace, at least a few days a week. What if they don’t want to return?
- Many organisations have downsized their real estate footprint and no longer have sufficient office space for their entire workforce. Could this upset your workers who do want to return to their traditional workplace?
What cost savings can work-from-home create?
Have you looked into…
A shared workspace model to reduce your overall real-estate-rental costs?
3rd party workspace providers (Example: WeWork) could be a cheaper option if you have a transient workforce?
Reducing commuting costs such as public transport, fuel, parking – to find further savings?
Revising any carbon footprint obligations to your advantage?
Removing some worker benefits. Are things like food, childcare and fitness still required?
This list is not exhaustive. wofome will update this list in future posts. Can you add to this list? If you wish to make suggestions, please reach out to us via whichever channel you prefer (comments, Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Guest Post)
‘Lucky’ organisations have always offered work-from-home
Organisations with long-established work-from-home practices are better equipped for today’s challenges. Many barely noticed a blip on their work-from-home radars when the pandemic struck. They just extended their existing work-from-home processes to most of their workers.
Organisations scrambling to implement a sustainable work-from-home practice should study what these luckier organisations already do. I can call out one particular resource that I enjoyed some time back. While it may be a bit dated, it still has some great pointers. It’s a book called REMOTE – Office Not Required by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson (also available as an eBook). There are many more. Just type in “Books on working from home” into your search engine.
If you uncover any good material yourself, be sure to share it with our Wofomer community here on wofome.
Take an organisation-wide view of working-from-home
Organisations know IT is only one of many areas needing revision to adequately sustain a work-from-home workforce into the future. How about organisational culture, for example? Many organisations already claim a vibrant corporate culture, but overlaying a work-from-home culture on top of that – requires added effort.
Here are key areas organisations need to focus on:
I am sure this view could be broader. Can you add anything?
The hybrid worker
Many Wofomers* work both from home and their place of employment, alternating between the two throughout the week. It’s either ad-hoc or based on a fixed schedule. (Example: Mondays and Tuesdays from home and the rest of the week at their employer-provided workplace). This kind of work is called Hybrid.
Do you already offer this option? A hybrid model requires you to double the oversight of your workers – both when they work from home and when they work from their traditional workplace. While this may seem challenging, it can have benefits. It needs good exploration, planning and strategy.
(*Wofomer = work-from-home-er)
wofome – your looking glass
wofome can be an excellent resource for your organisation.
Firstly, wofome taps into the sentiments of individual Wofomers. With wofome, you can gain insights into the views of Wofomers outside your own organisation. It is harder to obtain warts-and-all insights directly from your own workers.
Secondly, you can study what other organisations are doing (or not doing) well with their own work-from-home processes. wofome will publish posts (Guest Posts) from Employers.
Thirdly, wofome is reaching out to 3rd party work-from-home specialists and service providers. They can be a valuable resource for your own organisation.
Lastly, we have a wofome category for EMPLOYERS. Make sure to check back here regularly. We will offer automatic information updates in the future, but as a startup, we are taking small steps initially.
In conclusion, wofome is closely monitoring the Employer Work-From-Home landscape. We are expanding our focus on this area. Maybe you can help us with this initiative? Feel free to drop us a private email if you would like to help.