18 months in, how has pandemic reshaped the workplace

September 13, 2021 | Kyle Kopp

In April 2020 many of us discussed how we would survive the pandemic that had suddenly engulfed us all. There were sentiments of “we’re all in this together” and empathetic analogies of “we’re all in the same storm but different boats”.  But we're still not through this, and storms with power and duration don’t dissipate without a trace; they scar the earth below them, leaving marks and reminders of their impact for all to remember.  The recent hurricane Ida that slammed into parts of Louisiana before dredging up the Eastern coastline to swamp New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and several other States illustrated how long after a storm has subsided, its effects resonate with those who survived.  Those still standing will see marks of this impact for generations.

Like its real storm counterpart, the COVID pandemic will visibly alter the landscape of how business around the world operate for years to come, if not permanently.  In adapting to “temporary” remote work, many employees found unexpected satisfaction in working from home.  No more traffic jam commutes, more time with their families, new homes in more affordable locations that were previously outside of their range of accessibility.  Organizations found unexpected savings too; in building operating costs, real estate needs and a wider pool of talent to attract as they no longer relied on candidates in the same zip codes as their physical offices.

Further, this concern about employee productivity in remote environments has been dramatically challenged by the results coming in over the last 18 months.  With as much as 26% of the American workforce remote in 2021, institutions like Stanford University are sharing data showing productivity can actually increase by up to 13% due to quieter work space, less sick days and decreases in breaks.  With today’s technology, internet connection and home computing equipment are all at or even above what one might find in the traditional workspace.

For the company, even if employee efficiency wasn’t motivation enough, in addition to the office real estate footprint savings there are additional financial factors to consider.  According to Global Workplace Analytics 36% of employees surveyed would choose a remote working option over a pay raise.  37% would even be willing to take a 10% reduction in pay to work from home. These numbers increase the younger the candidate is, so for those looking to attract new talent, it may be in their best interest to consider these responses.  And as I previously mentioned, adopting a remote work strategy also opens up your candidate pool to a much wider range of applicants.  You may now be able to pull from the top job seekers in your state rather than just your county.

But it’s not that easy, is it.  You can’t simply snap your fingers and say “hey, we’re remote now”.  There is still the matter of conducting business and that’s not always easy across vast distances.  No longer can your AP clerk sort through the invoices mailed in and then walk into a Marketing Directors office to have them approve an invoice that was questionable.  A contract billing agent can’t walk over to the file cabinet behind their desk to review terms on an agreement a customer has questioned.  An HR Manager can’t sit in a room with a new hire and walk through the onboarding docs to collect signatures and overview the t’s and c’s of employment.

This reality check has streamlined the topic of automation and workflow management in modern organizations.  We're at a crossroads now, where you must take the time to explore how to digitize your company’s day to day interactions.  How to automate the process wherever possible and how to make the most of this “new normal” workplace so you can capitalize on the efficiency increases of your team members and embrace the cost savings to your organization.

Fortunately, this is something we can show you exactly how to accomplish.

Join us for an intuitive webinar on Tuesday, September 14th at 10am, or again on Tuesday, September 28th at 10am as our Business Workflow and Document Management experts address these challenges faced by business trying to embrace the new normal of today.

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