Out of Office: Has Coronavirus changed working culture for good?

March 30, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Millions of workers all over the world are now working from home to help limit the spread of Coronavirus. What began as a response to a global health crisis has become a mass experiment in remote working, which may cause a permanent shift in working culture post-pandemic.

What does this mean?

This unprecedented global exercise of remote working has allowed employees and companies alike to realise its advantages. Many workers have reported personal benefits, such as reduced stress and increased family time. Companies save money on office rental, and the reduction of commuting means less emissions. Many businesses have invested in the remote working of their staff, for example all of Twitter’s employees worldwide are now working from home, and the company has agreed to cover expenses such as computer hardware, broadband, desks and ergonomic chairs. Companies have also paid for tools such as Slack, Trello and Zoom, and training in how to use them.

Matt Mullenweg, chief executive of WordPress and Tumblr owner Automattic, says that a shift towards remote working is “long-overdue”. He added “millions of people will get the chance to experience days without long commutes, or the harsh inflexibility of not being able to stay close to home when a family member is sick. This might be a chance for a great reset in terms of how we work”.

What's the big picture effect?

These emergency measures necessitated by the Coronavirus has made possible a mass implementation of remote working in a society that typically favours a more conventional working culture, and this could change the way we work for good. It has opened our eyes to its benefits and the abundance of tools available to enable it. Companies’ investment in these tools and other expenses necessary to facilitate remote working means that they are more likely to continue allowing employees to work from home.

The coming months will serve as an opportunity for companies to reflect on their approach to working culture. Businesses and their employees will be forced to adapt, so that when the pandemic passes and normality returns, remote working will no longer seem so foreign. At this difficult and uncertain time, we may at least be able to foster more flexible and productive workplaces that will be better equipped to revive the fractured economy post-pandemic.

Report written by Isobel Deane

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