On July 19, 2021, England celebrated “Freedom Day,” the day when all pandemic-related restrictions are dropped. It was a controversial move, especially now that the rest of the world is dealing with variants more transmissible than the original. The public, however, is excited to get their life back.
Not everyone is happy to return to their pre-pandemic routines. Around the world, employees are demanding that they be permitted to continue working from home. Throughout the year-long quarantine, many realized that their professional responsibilities can be accomplished at home. They do not have to deal with long and tiring commutes. They do not have to sit in a cubicle or speak with an annoying co-worker.
Moreover, they found that they are far happier, far more productive while working from home.
Welcome to the New Normal
Companies in the United States are already being forced to adopt distributed teams: people who work from offices or at home located all over the world. There is no requirement to be in a physical space together. Everyone can do their job anywhere they want.
Companies that refuse to allow their workforce to work from home face the risk of losing employees. In the United States, there is an ongoing hiring crisis where organizations are struggling to find suitable talent to fill a vacant position.
There are major companies that have gone remote full time. Twitter, after two months of remote work, announced last year that the setup will be permanent for many. Only those who have to be present physically, including those who have to maintain servers, will be forced to go to the office. Slack, the software popular among distributed teams, has given employees the option to work from home permanently.
Others are adopting a hybrid model. Google is testing a flexible work week when employees will be called to report to the office three days a week. Microsoft is also allowing employees to work from home 50 percent of the workweek.
COVID-19 definitely led to a major shift in how people work.
Easier to Transition to Remote Work
The shift toward distributed teams is also happening because it is so much easier to do it and be successful at it. All the tools that organizations will need to function despite not being in the office already exist and are available to them.
Cloud, for example, gives employees access to data or programs they use to do their work. Zoom and Microsoft Teams can serve as a platform for meetings.
There are also functions that can be outsourced to third-party services. Organizations that choose to have distributed teams can delegate IT support to another company.
Recently, a company that developed an HR platform that can provide tools for hiring, on-boarding, payroll, and overseeing benefits and salaries for distributed teams have increased its valuation.
Perks of Distributed Teams
Organizations can benefit from shifting to a distributed workforce through massive savings. There will be lower location-based overhead costs because there is no need to rent a commercial space. There would not be maintenance expenses, either. Employees, too, save cash because they no longer have to commute or buy food for lunch.
Moreover, it opens organizations to a wider pool of talent. They are not restricted to only hire those who live in or willing to move to the city where their office is located. They can work with an employee who lives in Singapore or India. There are no limits; the organization can hire the best workers in the world.
However, more importantly, it keeps employees happy. Working from home, where they feel most comfortable and close to their family, increases their satisfaction. Previous research conducted by FlexJobs found that 65 percent of workers want to work remotely full-time even after the pandemic. About 31 percent said that they want a hybrid work arrangement.
It leads to job satisfaction. In the Workforce Happiness Index, 57 percent of remote employees said that they are satisfied with their present employment versus only 50 percent of office-based workers.
And, when employees are happy, they become more inspired to work. Their productivity gets a significant boost. They are also less likely to seek employment somewhere else, lowering the organization’s turnover.
A distributed team is the new normal. It is what employees prefer and, because of technology, it is easy to make it happen. The arrangement may not be traditional, but everyone will benefit from it. Organizations gain savings, access to a wider talent pool, and increased productivity. Workers experience lower levels of stress and have job satisfaction.