As Coronavirus continues to have an unparalleled impact across the globe, with millions of people seeing their livelihoods, way of life, and health at risk, it may seem unfruitful or even insensitive to be looking for positives.
But the pandemic has forced businesses and individuals alike to totally rethink the processes, behaviours, and attitudes they previously took for granted. And, as we start to reflect on the situation and the impact it continues to have, it’s important to consider the positives it has brought to some, at least in some areas of their lives.
For many people, the pandemic presented their first real opportunity to work-at-home. Not to be home-based just one day a week or the odd time that they couldn’t make it into the office, but to work purely at home, with the support and equipment needed to perform effectively in their roles. And, for many, this has been a positive change, allowing them to explore the potential benefits that working from home can bring, particularly in terms of wellbeing and work life balance. A recent survey of SYKES employees in Europe revealed that almost 2/3 would like to continue working from home permanently, or at least to some degree.
Although many weren’t originally hired to work remotely, they’ve found the opportunity to do so one to embrace. Eliminating the daily commute, for example, has allowed people to reclaim hours of their day while also making mornings considerably less stressful. If the pandemic hadn’t happened most would not have been able to experience this. This may seem like a small win in relation to the global impact of the pandemic but, in the age of lockdown, appreciating small wins is vital for mental health.
From a business perspective, there has generally been a reluctance to allow some or all information workers to work remotely.
For many businesses, there hasn’t been a reason good enough to consider the potential benefits or an urgent need to make the change. Work-at-home has been around for some years now but hasn’t been viewed as essential for the majority of organisations – until now.
Change is adopted when there is a need to do so. The pandemic has given businesses reason to change and the opportunity to really test the concept of a remote workforce on a global level. Although originally only thought to be a short-term solution during lockdown, many are now seriously considering continuing with work-at-home moving forward. Had it not already proved successful, the return to the old model would follow as quickly as possible.
Businesses in all sectors utilised a customer service model that worked for them in the past, but there’s no guarantee that same model will continue to work in the future. Change has been forced upon us and we must adapt, adopt, and find ways to become efficient again.
The pandemic may feel scary, uncertain, and relentless. It may be destructive and dangerous, but amongst all this, it is showing us that, as humans, we can adapt under even the most stressful of situations. We find ways to survive, function, and even succeed. We can see this in businesses that are evolving, emerging and thriving, even in current conditions. And in the communities that are coming together. There are silver linings to every cloud and, in times like this, it’s important we find them.