The evolution of remote working from being the trump card played by some consultants or exceptional employment arrangements into a mainstream set-up took less than 10 years. In this short time, the trend of remote working was greatly helped along by the coronavirus pandemic. But this traumatic event was not the only driver of remote working. The sheer pace of digital transformation and the attitudinal shifts of workers and leaders themselves are also responsible for the admirable way in which it turned into a sustainable hybrid work arrangement.
Forget what it’s called – remote working has arrived for good
While hybrid work still means different things in different industries – for example, in the Manufacturing sector, it might mean workers finish their allotted number of hours in a fewer number of days and make room for another team to take over, in knowledge services, it means employees work from anywhere – the basis is the same: hybrid teams log in at self-driven paces and times to finish their allotted projects with a slightly altered focus. This new focus is oriented towards finishing a task at hand and moving on to the next (as opposed to spending a certain amount of time on a project – which may still be a factor). Remote working makes room for an outcome-oriented approach that puts the worker in charge.
Professionals who hope to shine in a remote working set-up need to inculcate skills and abilities slightly different from their fixed 9-to-5 predecessors. They need to be more accountable, agile, and organized, among a slew of other personality traits and functional abilities. In knowledge services, a Gartner report contrasts 27% of the workers in 2019 who worked remotely to grow to a size of 51% in 2021. For India and China, the percentages of remote worker penetration are projected by Gartner to be 30% and 28% respectively. In the more advanced economies, the same figures hover at 53% for the Us and 37% for Germany, showing that the trend of remote working is quite widespread and widely acceptable across various working populations.
You might also be interested to read: Is Remote Working Buoying Employee Productivity?
Markers of indirect development – from remote working
The profitability part of remote working comes in broad strokes from the savings of optimizing a workforce based on where they are located. Instead of relocating new recruits, remote workers can instead be set up with the technology, hardware, and software to get them going in their new roles. This is where cloud-based applications, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) packages, and collaboration software such as Miro, Notion, Figma, and Zoom allow productivity metrics to start ticking. While the initial investment to launch these set-ups may be on the higher side, these costs are still lower than moving teams to various locations as per need. This method of remote working also allows businesses to access a wider pool of talent than that found in a single city or region. With the right investment in data privacy and information security in place, companies can have productive working relationships set up across various parts of the globe. Location matters little, all remote working needs to do is authenticate IDs accurately for work to proceed unhindered.
Dell Technologies is one of the big names which recorded encouraging numbers of revenue and cash flows across 2020 and showed that digital transformation and the work-from-home policy that originated nearly ten years ago is strengthening with each passing quarter. Steady support from the Indian government has also played its part in allowing flexible, remote working professionals to retain their productivity numbers. Initiatives led by the government include Niti Aayog projects of training aspirants in IT, entrepreneurship cells, and specific workshops and symposia for women who code. These programs show that the remote working trend has a deep social impact and increases the diversity in the working population of India.
Collated into a few clear trends, the fall-outs of remote working leading to hybrid office set-ups indicate:
Civic improvements: Civic bodies have an easier time keeping cities and roads clean with fewer office workers taking to the roads. The traffic congestion that has reduced in major cities and even the smaller towns is considerable. Public works departments are now able to swing towards new projects and carry out improvements of public programs thanks to the reduced user volumes and resultant lowered pollution.
Infrastructural shift: while major city centers were extremely crowded to the point of becoming impenetrable with spiraling real estate costs at one time, the need for large office spaces is now nearly gone. Companies can have offices anywhere in the city or not at all, and several satellites of makeshift office spaces for teams to get together as needed are not uncommon now. This means reduced demand for the limited infrastructure and resources of a city.
Environmentally better-balanced: The lowered demand on the natural resources and the environment is not to be discounted. Precious non-renewable fuel sources, man-hours, and energy are saved when workers do not commute on a daily basis. There are savings to be seen for both employers and employees due to this welcome change.
Phase-shift in women’s workforce figures: With nuclear families struggling to support young children on aging dependents, more women than men have historically stayed outside the workforce if work meant leaving the home to attend an office. This changes when remote working paves the way for most women to manage their home while keeping up their roles in a work-from-home employment arrangement. This is certainly bringing more women into the workforce.
The direct profits
All of these above points are benefits running side by side to the story told by the numbers:
Through the last quarter of 2020, several IT companies such as HCL, Wipro, Infosys, and MindTree reported rises in profits ranging from 20.% (Wipro) to 65.7 (MindTree) in the area of employee-related costs due to the increase in the work-from-home trend necessitated by the pandemic. These figures are in comparison to the numbers of the previous year and go on to show that this singular point has effectively pointed out a factor of improving the margins. It makes a case, indubitably, for continuing the trend of remote working and reaping the benefits in the coming years.
- Remote Work Evolves Into Hybrid Work And Productivity Rises, The Data Shows|Forbes| Joe McKendrick|May 30th, 2021
- Number of remote workers to be 51 per cent by end of 2021|The Hindu Business Line| June 22nd, 2021
- 88% Of Indian Workforce Prefer To Have The Flexibility Of Working From Home: SAP Concur Study|BW BusinessWorld|July 30th, 2020
- One-third workers globally to work remotely by 2022: Gartner report|Financial Express|Rishi Ranjan Kala| June 23rd, 2021
- WFH and profits of IT firms|Deccan Herald|Priyan R Naik| Feb 15th, 2021
- Remote work, Work From Home models now mainstream|Financial Express|Alok Ohrie| Mar 16th, 2021
You might also be interested to read: