Like most Americans everyone reading this you have probably spent more time at home during normal working hours than you have since you were a child. For some this may have given you a preview of just what retirement will be like but some of you reading this may be fortunate enough to be able to work from home thanks to remote working. That means that you stayed employed and for you and your family that is a great thing. 

Working from home is many people’s dream but it comes with a lot of distractions. COVID-19 has forced that upon many people whether they wanted to work from home or not. Now that you have gotten a taste of it, will you consider doing it more often and will it become the new normal for you?

Working From Home Is Not All Bad

There is a certain allure to being able to work from home. Your commute is only a few feet and just think of the savings on gas that you are enjoying. If you want a snack, they are as close to you as you can keep them and you don’t have a boss that will walk in on you and complain. At the same time when you get your work done, you can call it quits much easier and take your child to band practice. 

We would also say that you can walk down to the bedroom and change into your sweatpants when the day’s work is over but you don’t really need to wear formal attire to begin with and you can wear the same outfit multiple days and no one will complain.

Some Cons Though

Of course not everything is skittles and rainbows in regards to remote working. Your family is at home as well and they can be a bit noisy and distracting. Don’t forget about your lovable pets as well who don’t know how to take no for an answer and need constant love and attention (as well as the occasional trip outside to do their business). A locked door might not be your best solution. 

Working from home also requires you to have all of the necessary equipment and software. Do you have enough ink for your printer? Do you have a constant, strong Internet connection? Do you have the necessary security installed on your computer? Working from home is more than just opening your computer and typing into a document and the cost of that can add up.

Could This Become Normal?

With COVID-19 workers have been forced to spend more time at home. Some might be enjoying this while some might be ready to explode. The ability to work from home has been able to keep some grease applied to the wheels of commerce and industry. It’s not much but it’s better than nothing. 

It is quite possible that further lockdowns will be necessary as this could take until 2021 for the pandemic to pass and a vaccine to be developed. As we have seen in China a new wave of infections are taking hold (that is to assume that Chinese media was telling the truth to begin with) and experts here have predicted that the same thing will occur just with less severity as to what we are experiencing now. More time remote working might be in your future.

Were You Prepared?

Was your company prepared for remote working this time around? If you weren’t, now is the time to prepare for the next one and there very well may be a next one sooner than we think. Companies that were prepared will emerge from COVID-19 in much better shape than those who weren’t.

Being prepared can be as simple as having a plan for how to stay in touch with other employees or customers. Video chatting has become extremely popular and has seen a huge increase in usage during this pandemic. Why not take advantage of that (but be mindful of bandwidth limitations)? How do your employees contact each other when a video chat is not necessary? Email? A regular chat or instant messenger? How do you share documents? And last, is all of what your employees do from home secure?

Of course there are plenty of software options for doing everything above. If you are a small business you might not have the capital to invest in some of them. Have you considered Google’s GSuite? Employees can stay in touch using either email or chat services (including video) and documents can be shared through the Drive service. This allows for easy collaboration and documents can be worked on by multiple people at the same time! As with any Google service security is foremost and you can supplement that by making sure that your employees keep their systems up-to-date and encourage them to use a VPN

Remote Working After COVID-19

Your employees right now might be actually happy working from home and they might want to continue to do so even after COVID-19 fades away into the history books. While letting them do so on a permanent everyday basis might not be a good idea, the versatility and morale boost that it offers could be a good thing. If they maintain productivity, what is the harm? In the future an employee that is sick might still be able to be productive or if they have something else to do that day they can still get some work done. 

At the same time the ability to work remotely allows for greater flexibility. If an employee has to take their child to soccer practice they can get the work done when they get home afterwards, whereas now they might have to wait until tomorrow. The ability to work remotely can be very beneficial even during normal times. Changes to documents can be made late at night or files can be uploaded so everyone can have them in the morning without waiting for someone to get into the office to do it.

COVID-19 is changing our society. Some of the changes are not going to be welcomed but some may very well be good. It has forced some to work remotely and it has forced some companies to allow that and that could be a good thing. Sometimes you have to look for the silver linings in things. Just remember to be prepared.

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