Remote employment is not for everyone. The majority of Big Tech businesses, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, are promoting remote employment as the new standard following COVID-19. However, some organizations are soon realizing that they cannot afford to have the majority of their employees working offsite in the long run. In the United States, for example, a quarter of the workforce — 35.6 million workers – has the option to work remotely.
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How Work From Home is Not Everyone
Aside from these individuals, 108.4 million workers have occupations that cannot be performed at home.
For those “privileged” enough to have a work-from-home arrangement, the option is critical not only to reduce their risk of virus exposure but also to ensure operations continue even when their offices are closed, wrote Marissa Baker, assistant professor at the University of Washington, who authored the study.
Baker investigated the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market and discovered four major occupational groups affected by the pandemic:
Employees who rely on computers yet have little connection with the general public:
- Finance and business
Those who rely on computers and social interaction:
- Medical care
Those who do not rely primarily on technology or public transportation interaction:
Those who rely on human interaction rather than computers:
- Services for food
- Goods delivery
The last three categories are typically among the lowest paid and most subject to interruptions such as layoffs and furloughs as a result of COVID-19. They are also exposed to significant physical and mental health hazards as a result of the crisis.
Aside from the risk of COVID-19 infections at work, “the stress faced by lower-income people, along with employment uncertainty, could result in a substantial burden of mental health illnesses,” Baker added.
While the epidemic affects every company, the results are not equal – not even close. Even if we all live in the same ocean, we are definitely in different boats. Some of our customers are having the best year of their lives, while others are laying off employees, closing stores, or going out of business entirely. The only common aspect of COVID-19 is that all of our clients have had some, if not all, of their workers, work from home at some point. This new “remote workplace” has shed light on organizational culture and how various management approaches perform in this new normal.
Every company has a culture. When a culture is actively formed and nourished, it evolves organically; when it is not nurtured, it evolves spontaneously. A company’s culture is its set of values, beliefs, principles, and practices that govern how it makes decisions and interacts with its shareholders, employees, and customers.
According to WFH, some organizations are not culturally prepared for a remote workforce. Some businesses simply cannot succeed with a predominantly WFH team because their employees must interact in a specific location, such as in the manufacturing, hospitality, restaurant, and retail industries.
Employees and procedures in businesses are classified into two types: directed and managed. Some businesses feel that because it is merely a taught talent, each employee at a certain level is replaceable. They believe they can hire individuals to a given standard and then apply consistent management to the process to obtain the desired outcome. They oversee the outcome every step of the way, and employees are encouraged to seek direction promptly if they are unable to accomplish a stage. When an employee completes a step, they come to a halt until their management offers the next step in the process.
Firms with a high number of customer-facing staff function in this fashion, but this management style and hiring technique applies to a wide range of industries, both blue and white-collar. WFH is especially problematic for these organizations with managed personnel because supervisors are not “watching” the work-in-progress to provide comments. Managed staff are often part of a culture that requires extensively informal communication regularly to keep things running smoothly, which cannot be accomplished using Zoom or chat.
Companies with directed staff appear to handle WFH better since their management approach is to identify the result and then measure whether it was met. These companies allow employees at the same level as the company to conduct their jobs with more freedom as long as the goal is met.
Working from home can be a boon for technical-based work and digital marketing-like work but can prove to be a bane for the manpower-based work like products making factories and research-based products which can’t be processed at home because they need proper setup to get the work done with perfection. Also adapting to work from home is somewhat difficult too for the initial days and contains somewhat insecurities in both employer and employee minds. So, working from home is not for everyone but for some people.