Covid19, News, Technology

Remote Working: Is Working From Home Here To Stay?

Kenton Reynolds

Kenton Reynolds, Writer

Are the changes we’re making for coronavirus a short term fix or a long term improvement?

The last few months have led to unprecedented changes in the way we live our lives. The way we work and learn every day has been completely revamped and we’ve been forced into the 21st century; Zoom calls, online chats, shared files and remote working are now commonplace. We have expelled our archaic methods and brought in more paperless and interconnected environments.

Are we seeing a permanent exile for those methods that are currently in a state of impermanent extinction like flimsy plastic folders, sobering grey filing cabinets and endless reams of paper or will they return at the end of lockdown?

Twitter employees have found their answer. A spokesperson for the company has declared that “the past few months have proved the [they] can make [working from home] work” and so the social media giant will allow any employees to continue working remotely if they choose to. The company employs 4,000 workers will have the choice of working from home or returning to the workplace. Even though this means the bricks and mortar offices will remain – and so will traditional methods – the number of workplaces required will reduce drastically.

Google are making sure remote working will last longer too. Sundar Pichai, the firm’s CEO, intends to allow employees who must return to the office to do so in July but, for those who are in a situation where a physical presence in the office is non-essential, remote working will continue for the remainder of 2020. A similar policy was echoed by Facebook too who announced that “anyone who can do their work remotely can choose to do so through the end of the year”. In addition, bonuses of $1000 are being paid to Facebook employees for work-from-home and childcare costs.

Working from home has been a key component of fighting the virus. In 2019, just 30% of the UK workforce had experience of home working so this situation has dragged a huge number of Britons into a modern world of working with minimal face to face interactions and more connectivity, allowing for a business to run from the houses of its employees.

The three businesses mentioned thus far are certainly considered leaders in the field so the question that faces the future of business is will other firms follow suit? This is certainly harder for some industries, areas like manufacturing will be very difficult to move away from physical interactions without vast technological improvements as seen in the Jaguar Land Rover factories.

The recent changes to lockdown measures mean that we will definitely have at least a few more months of the majority of the nation working or learning at home. As we spend more time doing this, the methods used will become more streamlined and new innovations, developments and technologies will come to the forefront. Will future technological advances be the key to remote working?

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