Remote Work – The “New Normal”
No one could have predicated in any way that a lot of changes in and around the world would take such drastic changes. Working remotely was one of the ways to try and curb the spread of the virus at its early stages and now, could we say it’s the future and definitely the way to go? Let’s unpack all the pros and cons of remote work.
The scope of remote work is expanding from programmers to marketing, design, customer support and even management. Corporate culture is changing. Nothing will go back to what we know as normal but we just have to adjust to the “new normal”. When it comes to collaboration work, members either meet at the office, other work spaces within their area as well as restaurants that will have proper internet connection.
Although employees can maintain morale and engagement, employees still have a responsibility to remain productive and thrive while working from home in 2021. Remote employees experienced technological and hardware challenges this past year due to the limited resources, slow Wi-Fi connections and inadequate workspaces in their homes. Yet at the same time, most knowledge workers are more productive at home than they were in the office.
According to the Robert Walters’ 2021 Salary Survey, during lockdown, professionals in South Africa ditched emails (39%) in place of instant messenger (74%), video calls (55%) and telephone calls (62%) as their primary form of workplace communication. Online collaboration software such as Slack and Asana are two programs that can improve employee engagement. Through these platforms, you can send instant messages, stay updated with projects and workflows and even create social channel to allow co-workers to interact or joke around. Harmony Mothibe recently did a poll on LinkedIN on people’s preferred communication at work and it is really safe to say that people are moving away from Emails slowly but surely. BotsZA also uses Slack and we are loving the software as it helps us with being more efficient.
Amongst other struggles with working remotely, load shedding is just making it even harder. Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter has recently warned that South Africa is facing an electricity shortfall which means the risk of load shedding will remain for the next five years. As frustrating as that is, employers and employees will just have to find a way to make it work. Fortunately, there are several options available to mitigate load shedding. Apart from purchasing a generator, an Uninterruptible Power Supply (USP), which provides emergency power to your computer or router during load shedding. When the power goes down, the UPS will automatically switch over to provide additional hours of power. For those without USP often to go work in other spaces where there is no load shedding, work offline if possible and even share their load shedding schedules with management for transparency.