The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all into a new normal. And while some of us feel prepared for flexible working, others haven't been so optimistic. Social distancing has impacted everything in our global community, from social gatherings and consumer behaviors to education and healthcare services – and of course, how we get our work done. Within weeks, millions of jobs were devastatingly impacted – and those who didn't face layoffs, furloughs or limited hours were suddenly asked to transition to remote work. Staying safe was (and continues to be) the top priority, but productivity remains a close second.
Virtually overnight, the "normalcy" of face-to-face meetings was dropped in favor of online collaboration – and it was met with a number of challenges. Employees were dealing with the added stressors of finding a quiet place to work, maintaining a professional appearance, and balancing the juggling act of being constantly surrounded by kids, family members, and/or roommates. For those who live alone, things were just as difficult: with no obvious substitute for "water cooler" conversations with colleagues, the struggle to stay connected was an ongoing battle.
But after a while, something interesting happened. As the initial shock and stress started to wear off, people did what they do best: they adjusted. For many, the anxiety waned by the day, transitioning to a realization of "hey... this isn't so bad". Gradually, we started to see leaders of global companies begin to realize the positive effects of a remote workforce – including LogMeIn's own CEO, Bill Wagner, who has called this shift a "better normal", despite his own initial doubts.
In March, GoTo partnered with OnePoll to survey of over 2,200 global workers to examine how they feel about the role of remote work, its impact on their productivity and the personal benefits it provides. The results showed a myriad of positive impacts:
Now is the time to rethink your business continuity plan beyond the scope of IT's traditional responsibilities. Leaders in IT, HR and at the executive level should take this opportunity to think more holistically about setting up a flexible workforce in the long term, not just in emergency situations. GoTo's leader Mark Strassman shared some thoughts on CIO.com on the critical elements that will drive growth and success in this new normal, including a trusted, secure UCaaS partner like GoTo.
While nothing short of tragic and scary, COVID-19 has also led many companies to take a hard look at their own organizational policies and procedures. The pandemic has accelerated a new way of thinking about business continuity, and what our workforce is going to look like in the future. Leaders are starting to recognize that great work can still happen outside the confines of a physical workplace under the 9-5. And as our data shows, it's a win/win that makes employees happier and more productive.