With vaccines for COVID-19 now being distributed around the whole world, small businesses who switched to remote work have a decision to make: should they continue allowing employees to operate remotely if they so choose? Let’s discuss the concept of a hybrid work environment and how businesses manage the still-changing situation.
Despite putting the kibosh on the idea of remote work for years, the stay-at-home mandate that COVID-19 necessitated forced many to allow the practice of working from home in order to keep their businesses open at all. However, what happens once the workplace can safely host your workforce once again? Do you anticipate that your team will transition back as though nothing happened?
Let’s look at it from the position of the employer, as well as what your employees will likely feel.
The Employer’s Perspective
For many employers, remote work was what they resorted to in order to stay in business, largely because they had little choice. Revenue needed to come in, which meant that productivity needed to continue. Given the risks that gathering in an office poses (at the time of this writing) remote operations were their only available option. Some have already committed to a complete return to the pre-COVID status quo, everyone returning to the office completely and totally. Others have expressed interest in remaining remote, and still others have left it to their employees.
However, the question remains: what can we expect the future to hold?
While very little is certain, the investment that so many have made into the digital tools that were adopted during the pandemic is too great to be written off without serious consideration. This is just one major decision that management will have to grapple with—whether their team’s productivity has been maintained sufficiently to continue their remote work endeavors. Based on the data from the past year, this is still up in the air. There’s another consideration that business owners need to think about: the prospect of turnover amongst employees who have taken a liking to remote work and don’t want it to end.
The Employee’s Perspective
As for your team members, there are largely split opinions. Some can’t wait to leave home and get back into the workplace, while others never want to go back. Many are hoping for some kind of middle ground, a flexibility that they’ve been introduced to through a thoroughly bad situation.
Whichever camp an employee falls into, there are considerations that a business will need to make before the workplace can be returned to with any degree of safety. Just consider how seriously contagion has been treated for the past year—studies have shown that, vaccine or not, your team members will want to have safeguards in place to protect them. How will employees who are and aren’t vaccinated feel about working in proximity with one another? How will businesses balance these out with health and safety protocols?
Regardless, it will be interesting to see how these concerns (and the many, many more that will arise) can be addressed. On the part of the employees, the majority of them are confident that their jobs can be fulfilled remotely and see it as a mutually beneficial arrangement. After all, not only were businesses able to continue operations, they were able to save some considerable capital on utilities, security needs, and infrastructure costs. Rescinding permissions for the sake of rescinding permissions frequently backfires on those businesses that try, which means that these companies need to account for that and figure out how to justify it.
Whichever tactic you choose to follow, Netconex is here to help with our technical expertise and IT solutions. To find out more about how we can do so, reach out to us at 717-295-7630 today.