Has COVID Improved Workflow?

Covid-19 has completely shaken up the corporate world, drastically changing the way that businesses function day-to-day. Either by choice or due to certain legislation, many companies have adapted to permanently work remotely. Whilst there are of course many well documented limitations to teams working from their homes’, can remote working actually improve your businesses’ workflow? Here are three positives to remote working that can improve morale, flexibility and productivity.

 

Reducing the commute

 

No commute means no reason to be late in the morning, no reason to be unpunctual for external and internal meetings and this results in improved professionalism. It also means that boundaries are clear. We all have that team member who is constantly just a little late and there is usually a reasonable excuse. If they’re good at what they do, leaders don’t want to be too tough on a few minutes lost in the morning. Removing these excuses takes away that awkward grey area and it means that when that morning call starts, they should be front and center, camera and mic ready to go.

If workers would usually use public transport or have a long drive ahead, this can reduce stress and improve morale. This can also save your staff money, meaning they can spend their hard-earned cash on things that they love, improving their standard of living and thus raising their self-worth. Associating their job with this effect gives you a pride in your work and makes you want to re-invest back into your company with hard work and loyalty.

 

Access to the widest pool of talent

 

By offering this perk you’ll be able to retain employees and gift these team members more autonomy. In an office space, there are rules, there are norms. Even if they’re not written down or spoken aloud. Some like a tidy, quiet space. Other’s might prefer to work later at night, lay on their couch with their favorite podcast or TV show quietly in the background. In giving people the agency to work remotely, you’re not forcing them to adhere to the habits or rituals of others. This can be seen as a huge perk in a time where employees can be very particular about how they like to work. That’s not to say you shouldn’t put into place certain guidelines and procedures. But outside of this, any trust you put into your team should be received and reciprocated.

Lifestyles have changed vastly in the past decade. The odds are, if you’re looking for twenty somethings there’s a high possibility that they will prioritize workplace flexibility. To coin an often-stigmatized term, ‘millennials’ are used to being able to communicate effectively from anywhere in the world, so they often expect the same within a work setting. If there is a skills shortage in your location or there are more highly skilled workers further afield, remote working can completely negate location as a factor in failing to attract the most talented individuals.

 

Constant communication

 

The goal in all of this is of course improved productivity and workflow. Less stress and the right recruitment will help with this, however day-to-day communications have possibly the most influential say in this. While the lack of face-to-face interaction remains an issue for most, it has made leaders more aware of communication. You never want to over-communicate with your team, however the perpetual inclusion of daily morning calls, team video meetings and Microsoft Teams facilities can make you a more efficient unit, ensuring no questions go unanswered and if done right, no team members left feeling isolated or alienated.

So much digital, visual communication is a gigantic equalizer. We spoke to HSBC Head of Innovation, Jeremy Balkin, who explained this effect perfectly: “When all you are is a head on a screen, it breaks down some of the barriers and biases we have as humans; In this screen-led environment the best idea is often winning much more”. It cannot be emphasized how important this point is. If everyone feels equal and like their ideas are valued, they are more likely to work harder and smarter in the knowledge that their work is respected and will not be simply brushed aside blindly in favour of the ideas of others with more stature within the office environment. This is one of the biggest advantages over brick and mortar office interaction- that it negates all of the usual workplace prejudice and biases.

The most natural way of working for the post-COVID world is almost here!

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