London-based IT support company, Computers in the City, created an infographic that makes clear the impact and benefits for people working from home in the coronavirus era, as well as advice for managing staff.
With the professional lives of people around the world plunged deep into turmoil as a result of the global pandemic, it is still uncertain whether returning to the office is completely safe, or if it should be made compulsory for employees. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the only option for many people under lockdown has been to replace their usual workplace with a home office.
Now restrictions are beginning to ease, but this does not mean that all individuals will be willing to return to their former working arrangements. For many, the new working trend that COVID-19 started could be here for the long term.
Leading London-based IT firm, Computers In The City, has recently produced an infographic showing that 60 percent of the U.K.’s adult population was forced to work from home during the lockdown, while 48 percent of businesses encouraged staff to work from home. For a country that has faced a high number of redundancies and bankruptcies, the option of working remotely has saved many jobs and businesses.
Though it is not without its challenges, remote working is proven to have numerous advantages from an employee’s perspective. The remote lifestyle leads to lower levels of stress, improved health and wellbeing, and a study by Owl Labs found that people working remotely say they are happier than those who do not by a margin of 22 percent. With flexibility and independence among the other benefits, the chance to work from home held a great appeal for many, even before the pandemic.
Employers also have a great deal to gain from the home office, and in a separate study, as many as 65 percent said that working from home results in an increase in productivity. Businesses can make savings on office space, supplies and travel costs, while both employer and employee can feel good about the lower levels of carbon emissions from the reduction in travelling.
But it is not all plain sailing, and there are a high number of risks that result from employees accessing corporate networks remotely. At the beginning of the pandemic, phishing emails increased by 667 percent, as cyber criminals attempted to take advantage of the fear and uncertainty. When working from home, staff members are required to have an effective VPN, endpoint security measures and password protection in place.
Individuals working remotely can also be subject to psychological challenges, such as loneliness and isolation, self-discipline or time management issues, or stress. Common measures to combat these challenges include keeping regular communication channels with colleagues and friends, a strict routine with clear boundaries and time limits, and regular physical exercise.
2020 has been anything but predictable and the future of our ordinary working lives remains uncertain. Organisations are currently using this opportunity to modernise their operations and give their staff more flexibility over their working arrangements. Provided that a robust remote IT network and policy is in place and remote employees are given the support they need, this trend may only continue to accelerate.