Back in 1994, AT&T experimented with telecommuting. They had one day in the week to work from home, which continued for more than two years. Their staff stayed at home every Friday and used telephones, fax machines, email, and pagers to complete their tasks.
Now in 2020, we have mobile smartphones, social media, web apps that manage our time, schedule, and projects. There are even more technologies we can use to make remote working possible for nearly all workers. So even as thousands of businesses start to telecommute for the first time because of COVID-19, AT&T’s employees were ready to work anywhere they were.
Many people found themselves working from home, using the internet to connect with their teams, managers, clients, and co-workers. They used their mobile phones, social media, and messaging systems to continue their work operations. And now, many companies are exploring the possibility of making remote work a possibility beyond the pandemic.
Remote Working a Possibility Anywhere?
Many companies are using telecommuting now, but only some are contemplating making it as part of their normal work conditions. Satellite technology, wireless networks, and cloud file server synchronization have made it possible for those even living in remote areas to connect with the outside world.
All of this has made it possible for those living in remote places to telecommute. And many companies are now only seeing the benefits of working from home if only to make their country’s economy run. But sometimes it’s the employees themselves who might experience some initial difficulties when working remotely.
Technical Difficulties Should Be Overcome
The first difficulty could be technical. Internet connections, equipment, and conferencing apps and tools might prevent smooth collaboration between employees. Companies must create a stable system where employees could communicate and still work as a team. There should be several options that would ensure connections remain strong.
Mental Health and Wellness
Employers should also understand that the current world situation could cause more stress for workers. It might seem counter-intuitive since they are spending more time at home, but studies have shown that people who work from home are more prone to stress. Companies should improve and create new standard operating procedures (SOP) to adapt to their workers’ schedules and work methods.
But they should not tie their employees to their computers. Flexible working schedules should be an option, so employees would not feel they are on call for the entire day. Asynchronous plans should be an option, especially for those working from different time zones.
Trust Will Help
Aside from these, management should trust that their employees will do their part. New SOPs and work methods would help, but transparency and trust will help management and staff maintain high morale.
Though many companies are still in doubt as to when they could return to the office, many industries have found new ways to adapt to the pandemic. They have adjusted their methods and explored technological solutions to make improvements. For now, remote working appears to be not only an option but the future of work.