Just a few weeks ago, the ability to work from home was a perk or an as-needed benefit. Now, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, every employee with the ability to work remotely is doing so — and largely winging it. Companies are now scrambling to meet the needs of a work-from-home employee base, from equipment to security to space concerns, as their workers transition all at once.
While a migration from the traditional office to working remotely from home or any other location was already under way, with nearly a quarter of Americans working from home at least some of the time in 2018 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the global pandemic has accelerated the trend basically overnight. According to a recent HP survey, 96% of office employees are now working from home, and 63% are doing it without a dedicated work space. And everyone else is also now at home (spouses, roommates, pets, and kids). As a result, companies are now being challenged to maintain employee productivity, safety, and security while being nimble enough to continue adjusting to a new workplace — or workplace-less — dynamic.
“What’s unique today is the abruptness and completeness of transition to that mode of working for many organizations,” says Justin Hale, a training developer for the leadership training organization VitalSmarts. “Whereas previously they had the luxury of a hybrid model — many have suddenly had that option removed.”
Navigating this new reality can be daunting. Here are what companies need to focus on so their employees can successfully work from home for as long as they need to.