At this moment in time, people and businesses have been hit hard by efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus by social distancing, self-isolating, and the shut down of businesses deemed non-essential.
So many people are out of work or have been asked to work from home. The world economy has stalled, and we’re left to watch and wonder how it will all turn out.
There have been times of hardship in the past that have many similarities to what we’re seeing now but, to me, there is something we have now that sets this time apart—digital technology.
It’s amazing to watch what we can do now compared to just 30 years ago.
30 years ago we didn’t have this huge digital infrastructure to build a digital version of our businesses on, allow us to work from home, and stay connected with people around the world.
In the past, when a major event happened, it took several days or weeks for the story to travel through the media. Now it travels around the world in minutes through social media.
The ease of today’s apps, programs, and software have given companies a straightforward way to create a digital component to their businesses, without the need to hire software engineers and web developers. Living digitally has become easier over time, and even become a part of everyday life.
It’s this digital component of business that has kept some aspect of commerce and service up and running in a time when so many can’t work outside of their homes.
The problem for many companies has been having not made the move to digital and remote work capabilities. This omission has left many companies that could be doing business now, either scrambling to get a system in place, or just unable to do business at all.
Of course, there’s a lot of essential work people cannot do from home. For these jobs, work from home technology doesn’t help. But when operations are up and running again, some of these jobs can benefit when a company digitizes its operations. Digital transformation can boost their ability to achieve more while staying more organized. In fact, my team in my day job is one of the best performing teams in our company, thanks to the tools I implemented in 2019.
Why have companies resisted the idea of remote work?
One reason companies have resisted setting up digital capabilities for their employees is that, in the eyes of some executives, the home office is still a no-no. Managers are convinced that if employees are left unattended they’ll slack off but claim they were working.
However, in my own experience, I have always seen the advantage of being able to focus on work, and not being interrupted by people coming into the office distracting with other tasks. This ability to focus naturally leads to more efficiency and higher productivity.
So which is it? A chance to slack off with no one watching, or a chance to hyper-focus with no one distracting?
Research shows working from home boosts productivity.
Multiple studies conducted over the last several years show that when people work from a home office they work differently than when at an office building, but the differences don’t turn out to be bad for productivity.
A 2 year study out of Stanford University confirmed that working from home resulted in a significant boost in productivity, which equaled an extra day’s worth of work at the office when compared to their office worker counterparts. Work from home employees were shown to work a full shift, or more, each day. Participants also reported they found it less distracting and easier to concentrate at home.