Local businesses reflect on remote work (the jury’s out)

In our latest Executive Outlook business survey, 65 local business leaders shared their reflections and views on remote work (suffice to say, the jury’s still out). Here’s what we’ve found.

58% of business leaders have embraced remote work.  It started out as a conversation about leveraging technology to work from home. This allowed us to operate right through Covid, with greater flexibility.  A month later, we were up to our eyeballs in Zoom fatigue.

Some leaders are now questioning the need to lease large work spaces. More people are working from home, saving on travel and loving it. It works well in IT, professional and government sectors. Similarly, tele-consults are now firmly embedded in medical practices across the region.

 “Technology drives efficiencies … so we can keep doing what we do so well”.

Longer-term, the jury’s still out on working from home.  We’ve had mixed feedback on productivity, and mental health’s a smoking gun.  Business leaders are watching for signs of burn-out, which was reflected in comments:

“We’re more in tune with our staff, and the pressures they’re feeling”.

“Catastrophe fatigue is entering our workforce. We’re concerned about the long-term effects on people”.

“There’s no end point. Covid plays on our vulnerabilities”.

Ultimately, Executive Outlook found that people miss the social interactions, sharing knowledge and team cohesiveness.

 “Our staff value coming back to work – they missed the social side”.

“Remote work is hard to manage and disjointed. It puts more pressure on those in the office to manage phones and distractions. You have to reach a critical point”.

“Remote work is fine for a while, but then productivity falls. You’re left with the same cost and less productivity”.

Once we have a vaccine in place, there will still be a place for remote work, and we’ve perfected the technology for that to happen (just not in the same way).

Our goal is to be at work, but the flexibility to work from home will come into its own if a family member is sick, or as needed, as part of a blended approach. In this way, remote work can ensure continuity, boost productivity and reduce downtime.  For this to work, businesses will need to be crystal clear about KPI’s, expectations and outcomes.

Compiled by Jan Gadsden, Founder/Director of Top Office Group Pty Ltd.