Remote working seemed to work well during lockdown. Many companies saw great steps forward in efficiency, ease of getting people to meetings and, of course, the cost savings of commuters.
Many executives are pondering whether it makes sense to carry on with a remote working model, or some hybrid. And cost is a major issue.
Meanwhile, employees are celebrating the sudden shift in their work/life balance, the savings on fuel, the avoidance of crowded trains and buses and the savings on clothes. After all, you need two good shirts and you are good to go.
But there is a but.
Information management software company Opentext has done a survey in Singapore (which you would think would be ahead of the curve in remote working) and has found that it is not quite that simple.
Almost a quarter of the sample of 1,000 remote workers in Singapore are suffering from ‘information overload’ during the crisis and the same percentage do not feel they have been properly equipped to be their best. Close to half of the respondents take too long to find the app they need or take too long figuring out where the message from Joe came from.
Many more get distracted and almost 30% say they will struggle to remain motivated if they are obliged to continue to work from home after the pandemic has passed – or been contained.
And apart from the motivational and organisational issues, remote working poses some more serious threats. 43% of respondents admit to sharing work-related files on personal file sharing servers and, as we have discussed before, security becomes more complicated – and tends to be an afterthought when IT is managing remote working employees.
So, while remote working may look great on paper and it is no surprise that executives are examining the possibilities, the ‘soft’ issues need some attention.
If some hybrid remote working model is to make sense, there is a lot of work to do on employee motivation, and even more to do on security and sound work practices.