COVID-19 Will Change Employers’ Perception of Remote-Work Policies

The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting every facet of our daily lives, including the way we work. A rapidly increasing number of employers across the world are requiring their people to work from home as part of the efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. But this may not be an isolated shift.

According to a new Lenovo research completed in mid-March 2020 [i], the majority of employees (77%) surveyed believe this may have a long-lasting impact on how employers view remote-work policies going forward. There is a sense that companies will be more open to or even encourage letting workers work from home once things return to normal.

Enabled by the increasing sophistication and affordability of mobile smart technologies, the global workforce has largely been untethered from the desk. Productivity levels at home have always been a concern for employers. Surprisingly, nearly half of the respondents say that their work-from-home (WFH) productivity is on par with at the office (46%), with a handful saying it even increases when at home (15%).

As workplace trends are transforming due to millennials and generation Z forming most of the workforce, patterns of work are also becoming more fluid and mobile even prior to the current pandemic. Companies had been implementing WFH rules to take steps to help workers be ready for WFH. The research shows that nearly all companies have made some sort of effort (95%), with half providing employees with the tech and tools they need to WFH (56%), such as portable laptops and compact desktop PCs.

“As we move forward, company policies are evolving and will continue to do so. The many uncertainties presented by COVID-19 challenge businesses to find new ways to collaborate with their teams while remote.

However, even before this pandemic hit, the employee experience in the workplace was already changing.

Technology capabilities had already ushered a new global workforce that stays connected in a work-from-anywhere world. The situation we are in right now is only confirming that the investment employers are making in technology right now won’t be wasted as most people feel productive at home and believe that the workforce will move more in this direction after.” said Varinderjit Singh, General Manager, Lenovo Malaysia.

Lenovo has also come up with some useful tips and hacks to increase or maintain your work efficiency and productivity during this current Movement Control Order, which may change your perception of WFH: –

  1. Set a daily team meeting, same time, every day

There is nothing more important in a group remote project than ongoing communication. Not just official emails and work updates, but the ability to stay on track with daily team meetings. More companies are requiring remote workers to hold daily check-ins to discuss daily priorities and work.

  1. Keep a team chatroom open

A single open chatroom shared between the group will likely see even more chatting than the video channel because it will become a combination of shop talk water-cooler chats, and late-night ‘you had to be there’ jokes all in one. Not to mention that the younger generations of professionals grew up in chat rooms and chat programs and feel natively comfortable communicating in this medium.

  1. Video conferencing the new norm

Companies are increasingly utilizing video conferencing and content-sharing tools to keep employees connected around the world. In fact, 94% of businesses say video conferencing increases productivity (Wainhouse Research[ii]). Set yourself up for success by making these tools a part of your everyday life at work. Make sure they are downloaded on your laptops and beyond that, become comfortable using them.

  1. Technology needs to fuel portability

As managers and IT leaders, it’s your job to enable a more remote workforce. With employees taking devices from place to place, and desk to desk, laptops must serve as constant travel companions. Equip your employees with the latest technology that encourages a more nomad work lifestyle. Make sure to provide them with laptops that are easy to carry, and that can be seamlessly integrated with a company’s infrastructure.