Here’s why working from home is an investment into the future
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Here’s why working from home is an investment into the future

Here’s why working from home is an investment into the future

Organisations need to act with speed to ensure that they accommodate their employees’ needs by investing in this new way of working

After nearly two years of somewhat forced work from home, the return to work has not been smooth sailing for everyone and especially those workers that had already gotten used to working from home. But, while for many, taking off their pajamas or tracksuits and starting their day on the road to work was finally a breath of fresh air, others have been uncertain about their return to the office if emerging trends are anything to go by.

A CEO Outlook Pulse Survey conducted by KPMG between February and March 2021 found out that 45 per cent of CEOs of some of the world’s most influential companies are optimistic about a return to a regular workday routine by 2022, while a significant 24 per cent  affirm that their businesses have been forever changed. However, the truth is that work-from-home (WFH) has now become the norm across all sectors and is arguably here to say.

Early adopters

Remote working has been around for a while albeit low key. Some countries in the Nordic region, unlike regions like the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates to be precise, are some of the early adopters of work-from-home.

According to the European Commission Science Policy Briefs, most highly skilled professionals and managers in some of the EU countries were already used to remote working prior the pandemic.

Before Covid-19 struck, only 10 percent of UAE workers were reportedly already working one or two days from home, which pales in comparison of the global average of 62 per cent according to a 2019 survey by International Workplace Group.

Despite this, the UAE was ahead in the adoption of remote working within the Middle East region largely due to the fact that it’s a leading business and technology hub. Organisations operating in regions that had adopted remote working prior to the pandemic were obviously in a much better position to transition to the new way of working.

Emerging trends shaping WFH

According to a UAE Survey report conducted by Poly, 49 per cent of workers agreed that the traditional 9 to 5 working culture is now dead and has since been replaced by anytime, anywhere working. More women at 51 per cent also share the same sentiments with 70 per cent of workers aged between 45 to 54 also concurring.

But while a good percentage of workers are still skeptical about their return to the office, 44 per cent of them said they will miss being around their families while 32 per cent will miss their personal time. Twenty-four per cent also admitted that they will miss wearing their casual clothes as they work from home while 22 per cent will miss their yoga sessions.

Such emerging trends are already shaping the future of work globally and organisations need to act with speed to ensure that they accommodate their employees’ needs by investing in this new way of working.

Return on WFH investment

The pandemic and the subsequent remote working have completely transformed work culture but not without some notable and to a large extent long-term benefits for organisations that fully embrace it.

According to GlobalWorkplace Analytics, there are many ways in which remote working can help companies save money. Besides the obvious expenditure items such as rent, utilities, or cleaning services, investing in remote or hybrid working will also help organisations significantly improve their bottom line by helping them keep their payroll costs down without compromising productivity.

In addition, this new work culture will also positively affect the organisations’s well-being by significantly reducing stress and absenteeism since a flexible schedule allows workers to fit better in their daily working-life balance. The report also showed that 80 per cent of employees consider teleworking as a job perk, which is a great motivation for workers.

While 49.57 per cent of workers between 25 and 34 years old are worried and miss talking with their peers about work projects outside their area, it needs to be considered that home working also helps increase “self-care” time. Gender wise 30.23 per cent of women felt more balanced between their working and personal life.

Investing in WFH to drive growth

The long-term benefits that remote working brings to organisations are clearly visible. Not only is it cost-effective, but also environmentally friendly since workers will not have to commute to work on a daily basis thereby contributing significantly to carbon emissions reduction.

The work-from-home concept should, therefore, be considered as a growth driver and not an inconvenience. Organisations should also allocate adequate resources sooner rather than later as well as champion its acceptance as a new and efficient work culture.

“There is a transformational shift that has happened and businesses need to articulate how they will deliver work equity for their employees. We’ve been experts in hybrid working even before the pandemic, and we realise that the previous year suddenly pushed our customers and partners into this world. This is why we have designed the tools to ensure every industry and business can build their own future of work”, says Poly CEO Dave Shull.

Over and above that, organisations need to get everyone’s buy-in for work-from-home to succeed. The gradual rollout must include finding out from employees what exactly they prefer and need even as they transition to hybrid working. This will ultimately inform the management’s decision and resource allocation, facilities and services offered to the employees to enable them to work efficiently.

It is also extremely important to enhance communication and collaboration between remote and on-premises teams through integrating the right technologies and tools. Work-from-home is also an opportunity for organisations to start creating their own unique work culture, norms and environment. Finally, organisations that want to benefit from work-from-home should also cultivate trust by setting the tone and putting a great amount of trust and transparency on their employees. This is because trust is relevant to performance and without it, transition to work-from-home will be an uphill battle.

Embracing hybrid working should, therefore, be approached strategically to ensure the transition is seamless and less disruptive to the organisations’s operations. This can only be achieved by partnering with companies that are equipping the hybrid workforce across the world and, in turn, allowing them to engage remote workers through harnessing the power of digital collaboration.

Paul Clark is the senior vice president – EMEA at Poly

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