When the COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly swept the globe in 2020, most companies and associations immediately switched to an online-based mode of operation. Today, the WFH (work from home) approach has become widespread with the continuous lockdowns imposed by governments and as a safety precaution against the virus.
The idea of online businesses and remote work existed long before the pandemic struck, though it is only in the last two years that it started getting universally popular. Currently, more than 83% of employees work remotely and more than 70% believe that remote work is just as effective as traditional work. Undoubtedly, this sudden yet massive shift will have a profound impact on the future of business and will extend far beyond the end of the pandemic.
It comes as no surprise that most employees were happy about the switch to remote work. For them, it meant having a more flexible work schedule and an increased level of freedom. This allowed them to break free from their usual routine and get their work done all from the comfort of their own home. Instead of having all employees forced to follow the same rigid office schedule, those who work better at specific times of the day now have the ability to do so at their own pace and find inspiration when it best suits them.
In addition, employees who live far away from the office no longer need to wake up early to catch the bus and spend a long time on the way. This saved time can be devoted to their families, friends, or simply their own leisure. As a result, most employers found that employees who worked from home had better morale and were more satisfied than those who worked on-site.
The WFH transition would not have been possible without the internet and personal computing devices. Meetings are now being held on video conferencing services and teams are being efficiently coordinated through specialized software. Undoubtedly, this increased dependence on technology automatically called for more digitization where physical documents and facilities are ditched in the favor of digital ones. Not only does this accelerate online workflows, but it also makes it easier and more sustainable to transfer and manage documents.
Today, it has become pretty common to find businesses and associations that exist exclusively online and possess no physical headquarters. These online businesses are quickly becoming more popular as the need for staff to be in the same building diminishes. For small teams and business owners, operating solely online is cheaper and provides a more practical workflow than a physical office.
Some might argue that online businesses seem unprofessional to customers, but all it takes is a few steps to make a business seem more legitimate. Simply having a website and owning a virtual business address can go a long way in making your business more appealing to customers.
In the 21st century, caring for the environment has become a top priority. Today, we are on the brink of a global environmental crisis that will have grave consequences if no immediate action is taken. On the bright side, the WFH movement has shown just how easy it is to avoid environmental damage.
After workers stopped taking daily trips to the office and back, carbon emissions from vehicles have gone down drastically. The empty office buildings resulting from lockdowns have also led to a significant drop in electric consumption, further reducing emissions and fossil fuel usage. In addition, the digitization of documents has led to less demand for paper, and consequently less deforestation.
Studies have shown that more than 300 liters of gasoline and 3.2 metric tons of carbon emissions are saved for every employee who works remotely. In one year alone, the world has seen a significant improvement in air pollution levels where previously smoggy cities are now enjoying a clear sky. This is only the beginning, though. As WFH continues to become more widely spread, promising environmental changes can be expected as we go into the future.
More Inclusion and Better Opportunities
With the switch to remote work, distances don’t matter anymore. Companies that were previously confined to limited geographic areas now have the ability to expand and recruit from all around the globe. Not only does this help in building better teams, but it also provides good job opportunities to those living in developing countries. Previously, making international payments to employees was complicated and slow. Today, instant payment services and new innovations in cryptocurrency make money transfers fast, reliable, and accessible to anyone.
The pandemic has certainly changed our daily lives in more ways than we can count. However, as we continue to advance technologically, nothing can stand in our way. After the pandemic ends, remote work will certainly prevail. One can expect that a hybrid approach combining both physical and remote work will be adopted globally to achieve the best of both worlds.