ReGr()up: Health & Wellness - Dr Joanna McMillan
Finding the Silver Lining: Here’s How COVID-19 Has Benefited Businesses
29 May 2020 Isaac Nault
There is no question; COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the business world. Many businesses across the country have been made to temporarily shut their doors, which has forced some people to remote working and left others without jobs. Tourism is at a standstill and the restrictions imposed on movement continues to threaten our supply chain and the access to global goods and services.
But amid all of the doom and gloom, there have been a few good things to emerge during the pandemic. The upside of COVID-19 is that business leaders have been given plenty of food for thought—especially those who have shifted to remote work. Here are a few of the most prominent benefits that may linger long after pandemic conditions abate:
Reduced Overhead Costs
Remote work can result in cost savings for both the short and long term—and for employers and employees alike.
From the business side, companies can increase headcount without the need for a larger office space. In fact, you may be able to downsize your physical space requirements and cut overhead costs like rent, equipment, and utilities. Your office then becomes a central hub for collaborative road mapping, brainstorm sessions, and a meeting place where the team comes together to empower and energise each other.
Employees, on the other hand, can reduce their own costs associated with transportation, as well as the time it takes to travel to and from work.
Employees who don’t have to commute can enjoy more flexibility in their schedule. They may start the day earlier and end it later. In fact, nearly two-thirds of HR managers have seen productivity increase in remote teams. They have more hours in which to work and can produce greater outputs.
Teams are also developing a deeper appreciation of face-to-face contact with their team and clients. The business thrives as its team feels empowered, engaged, and balanced.
And given the fact that this is new territory for many, employees already know that they need to make a work-from-home situation work for themselves and the company. They acknowledge this as being their opportunity to prove they can handle autonomy, and they’ll work harder than ever to ensure the best results.
In some cases, employees can trade their former commute time to prioritise their own health and well-being. For example, they may use their time to get a little extra sleep, eat a well-balanced breakfast, or exercise or meditate—things they may not have had time for when working on-site.
As a whole, working from home can help to improve physical and mental health along with company morale. Employees are less likely to be tired at work and can prioritise healthy habits around their schedule that are otherwise too difficult to manage when they work outside their home.
This means that when they do sit down to work, their minds and bodies are prepared for the work ahead, and they can approach their projects from a better position.
Team environments thrive on creativity, and this aspect is typically heightened in a remote work setup. Employees are more conscious of using their accountable time productively because they don’t have the benefit of physically working alongside their teammates.
This is what accountable autonomy looks like in action. Employees are left to their own strengths and initiatives to take care of business, and business leaders have a chance to see what their team is really made of.
Business leaders can further motivate their teams remotely with the right tools and processes. Hosting weekly video meetings, check-ins, and other activities that you’d typically do in-house can help keep everyone on the same page and feel more like a team. As a result, motivated teams will make more valuable contributions to work processes, ongoing projects, and the working culture at large.
Greater Staff Retention
Finding and onboarding new staff is expensive. These costs focus on the recruitment process, training, and loss of productivity and revenue while you’re hiring and training your new employee. It’s a cost that many companies would prefer to avoid, which is why retention is such a critical factor.
It’s no secret: happy, engaged employees are more likely to stay with their job than leave for another opportunity. If they enjoy working remotely and feel like they can better perform and contribute, then maintaining some form of remote work policy moving forward would be a savvy move for business leaders.
Remote working has many benefits, particularly when it comes to saving time, money, and jobs. Business leaders can take this time to put remote work to the test—they may find its benefits extend beyond pandemic conditions and can set the stage for ongoing success.