Before COVID-19, there was already debate on the pros and cons of remote working. While some companies had already built their companies with only remote work in mind, many companies were still hesitant. A few prominent companies, like Yahoo, had taken the drastic measure to reverse its decision to allow remote working by recalling its home-based employees back into the office as far back as 2013.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and people were required to work from home, remote working tools like Zoom, Slack, Trello, Fastly as well as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and others began to take the centre stage. Companies that previously did not allow flexible working locations had to scramble to set up their remote working infrastructure, both digitally and from a culture standpoint, to continue operating their businesses.
Some would also say that COVID-19 has simply accelerated the Industry 4.0 transformation – leveraging on human-centred technology to improve products and processes. Importantly, humans still need to be part of the equation, and need to be reskilled and develop new capabilities and be connected on the international scale. This is to combat when a McKinsey report predicts will happen by 2030 – that close to half of all jobs will be susceptible to automation and hundreds of millions of people will need to find new jobs and careers.
With so much rigour and effort poured into fine-tuning and perfecting remote working best practices in recent weeks, companies will very likely build upon this this new norm rather than revert to their outdated practices.
In many ways, companies must embrace this new norm, as not doing so will likely lead to losing employees to their peers and their business to other competitors.