I used to be old school when it came to working from home. I have always believed that it is better for the team to be in the office to collaborate, create synergies and get things done.
Perhaps the only good thing to come out of the COVID-19 tragedy is how she challenged the work from home paradigm. The pandemic has proven that some work can really be done from anywhere, as long as there is a robust internet connection and a phone.
Procurement and supply chain management professionals are a prime example. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about (or rethinking) how many members of your team can work remotely.
Technological advances that allow remote work
The technology has grown to a point where a team member can access the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, share files in the cloud, and collaborate with other team members online. Secure ERP connections provide the same access from home as from the office. Cloud apps from Microsoft, Google, Amazon and more allow team members to work on shared files at the same time and access each other’s work products from anywhere they have access to. ‘an Internet connection.
There are also a lot of good collaboration tools like Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WebEx, and GoToMeeting. These applications allow team members to participate in a video conference, chat, and share whatever is on their computer with other team members. Technology effectively shrinks the world we live in, making it more accessible from a distance.
Net benefits of employees working from home
There are many benefits for employers that allow their team members to work remotely.
1. Space: These businesses require less office space, which can save thousands of dollars in monthly rent and utility expenses.
2. Morale: Employee morale is improved as staff spend less time in traffic and at the water cooler.
3. Retention: The improved morale resulting from confidence in home productivity results in reduced turnover, which means less recruiting expense and increased efficiency associated with a fully trained workforce.
4. Productivity: Because there are fewer people stopping in other people’s offices or cubicles just to chat, employee productivity improves.
5. Recruitment: Another advantage is the ability to attract new talent. Many businesses have now made working from home a permanent option. I have read that some members of the team are willing to take a lower pay to work from home. Personally, I wouldn’t, but in my experience Millennials and Gen Z want more flexibility at work than previous generations, so they can go for the pay / work from home trade-off.
The real question is: will companies be more or less competitive in buying and supplying talent if the only option is to work in an office? I guess they will be less competitive.
Reduce risks and ensure employee safety
There is also a risk mitigation aspect to consider and an argument to make for employees to be safer working from home.
In today’s world, office workers are faced with everything from the spread of viruses like COVID-19, to workplace violence and accidents like slips and falls in an icy parking lot. Has an employee ever come to work with a cold or the flu, and before you know it, others in the office get sick? Why risk compromising productivity if you don’t have to?
There is also an environmental aspect to consider. Look at the smog index in major cities during the coronavirus crisis. Fewer cars on the road equals less smog, which improves air quality. This dynamic also makes it possible to reduce the consumption of natural resources and save money.
There is also an element of productivity here: with fewer cars on the road, delivery trucks spend less time in traffic, and there has been a corresponding drop in traffic accidents … to the point that many auto insurance companies have lowered their rates. or granted discounts to their policyholders.
Remote work: not for everyone and not for all jobs
Working from home is not for everyone. There are some essential roles that need to be performed in the office or on the job site. Even procurement and supply chain professionals have to spend time in the field.
In other cases, some people lack the self-discipline to be successful in an unstructured (home) environment, which is a matter of routine. The sand at the start of the work day ends at the same time as the office, and this also applies to breaks.
Will companies be more or less competitive for buying and supplying talent if the only option is to work in an office?
Additionally, remote workers need a quiet workspace, ideally a dedicated home office, and not one common area with kids, pets, and other distractions.
Remember that you are paying employees for a good day’s work and that working from home is still a privilege. Having said that, I have seen first-hand how more productive some people are when they work from home. It really depends on the individual. Some will excel from a distance and some will not.
Remote or office work: metrics to measure performance
Make sure you have good productivity metrics in place for your remote team members. I am used to having project management and efficiency tools at my disposal, especially with the responsibilities at the national level that I have had for most of my career. I’ve always needed visibility into internal customer requests as well as day-to-day task tracking to make sure nothing goes through the cracks. Tracking projects completed on time and on budget can be a valuable tool when you compare the productivity of the office team with the productivity of those working remotely.
You also need metrics to track the performance of each team member. Productivity tools are great, but if someone is just producing shoddy work, what’s the point? Productivity and efficiency measures allow you to compare work performance for the same function from one team member to another.
Ultimately, the job has to be done. Productivity and efficiency tools can help you identify those who lack the self-discipline to work from home. For those team members, get them back into the office as soon as you can.