The COVID-19 is hitting businesses fast and hard. Business leaders around the world have to come up with solutions for their staff to work under this tough timeRecently, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced on his live stream in one of the staff meetings that Facebook would allow many employees to work from home permanently. He also mentioned that the majority of this tech giant’s workforce could work remotely in the next decade. Twitter also released a similar news a week after, therefore, remote working is becoming more popular than ever.   

What benefits does remote working bring?

 There are definitely a lot of benefits to working from home. Under the outbreak circumstance, to keep businesses running, remote working can help people avoid spreading the virus by social distancing. Employees don’t have to wear masks and work with anxiety for they might have a chance of catching the disease. Next, the employees can save lots of time and effort driving back and forth from home to their office. They can escape long and tiring commutes with busy traffic during the rush hours, especially people who live in the urban area. Also, avoiding socialization and office distraction save much time than we realize. 

Moreover, employees can enjoy the flexibility that remote working gives them, particularly people who have kids at home. Being able to take care of your kids while working can reduce a large amount of money you have to spend on childcare services. Additionally, a lot of people said they would work at their best if they are in their comfortable environment or “time zone”. 



Unexpecting Challenges 

 While there are undeniable advantages, there are also many pitfalls and companies need to adapt to it and establish the right policies to ensure the productivity of their workers but not put them to the edge of burning out. A 2017 United Nations report found that 41% of remote workers reported high-stress levels, compared to just 25% of office workers. Working from home will lead to a situation that is lack of communication and empathy since the managers might only focus on the performance by completing the tasks and deadlines. The virtual environment may make employees feel left out and treated as a cog of a machine.  

 Besides, communicating by email can sometimes be too direct, rude, or misinterpreted since mails do not have voice tone and body gestures to deliver the messages effectively. And when there is a conflict happening, it tends to be harder to deal with between colleagues through an online platform. That is why when Facebook and Twitter announced their big update, the search-engine giant Google is still not committing to any major changes to its workplace. “In all scenarios I expect us to have a physical space to get people together. We have a lot of growth plans ahead.” Sundar Pichai – CEO of Google – said. 

 In conclusion, if virtual working is the trend that we are all heading toward globally then it is something that unavoidable. Our question is “What is the best way to adapt to remote working? How to handle our stress, and keep ourselves productive, happy, and successful? Equally, for bosses “How to adjust the leadership style so that your staff will not feel being an outsider and mistreated?”. Join our free webinar on September… to learn more about working remotely and how to deal with it. It is possible that we overcome the challenges and still enjoy the benefits it brings.  

 SmartR (i.e. pronounced SMARTER) is an EdTech company providing skill-based training solutions for individuals and organizations. SmartR applies technology to solve real-world challenges in the Learning and Development industry. SmartR offers online and offline courses covering a wide range of topics that include language learning, business skills, computer science, and personal development.   

Uyen Ho

Uyen Ho