The New Workplace – Telework in a Post-COVID World

Covid-19 has changed everything – our workspaces, personal lives, and a broad spectrum of activities that involve in-person interactions. This has been particularly challenging to the business community.  Determining what adjustments employers need to make and to what extent has been a challenge given that it is unknown when things will go back to “normal.” Moreover, it has become apparent that the telework model can be effective and even preferable in some cases. We may, in fact, be on the cusp of a major paradigm-shift that creates a new business “normal.” 

Even though teleworking has been around since long before this pandemic, often used intermittently, COVID has forced companies to reconfigure their workforces to accommodate long-term remote work.  This has presented interesting scenarios with nearly empty offices, new communication collaboration tools, less business travel, and evolving protocols for data sharing and management.   Telework has not only been a business lifeline in the COVID-era but it has presented new opportunities for cost saving and profit in some cases.
Telework combines novel telecommunication tools and other technologies that enable work functions to be performed outside of a traditional office environment.  Acknowledging that not all businesses and organizations can have their employees work remotely, the following are some of the important potential benefits of using telework, where possible, in a post-COVID world: 

Potential for increased productivity

The eight-hour workday has been tossed out in many cases.  More and more there are instances with on-demand work requests outside of the standard 9am-5pm business day.  It is conceivable that in the post-COVID world employees will be held accountable for results and outcomes without the traditional time constraints affecting productivity that one would associate with the traditional office.  

Possible long-term reduction in overhead expenses 

Moving to a telework-driven model would reduce the need for a brick-and-mortar footprint and the associated overhead expenses, including some fringe benefits, associated with having onsite employees. This presents an opportunity for significant long-term cost savings and therefore increased profit.

Likely cost-saving for employees

With teleworking, employees can potentially save thousands of dollars in travel and other expenses. Areas of savings would include, but are not limited to, public transportation, gasoline, parking, lunch, and office attire.    

Opportunity for improved work and life balance

There is no question that the traditional 9am-5pm business-day involves a number of stressors and inflexibilities that do not exist in a teleworking environment.  By eliminating commuting time and by allowing work to be performed around a less rigid schedule, teleworking can add valuable hours to the employee’s day, which can in turn result in improved overall satisfaction and possibly healthier, happier employees.

Reduced Attrition

The flexibility of telework has been shown to improve employee satisfaction and retention. A two-year study performed by Stanford University found that companies that deploy a teleworking model experienced a decrease in employee attrition by an astounding 50 percent.