20 Aug Post-Covid: Is Working from home here to stay?
Less time tapping your fingers in traffic jams.
No daily colleague negotiations about how cold the air-con’s set.
Your own snack-laden fridge just a few steps from your desk.
It’s a no-brainer, right? Prior to March 2020, many of us would have leapt at the offer of a work from home lifestyle. Now that we’ve tested the reality of it all — perhaps not so much!
The pandemic caused businesses to leap into implementing remote-working models, forced to fast-track the process in a way that would likely not have happened at anything like that scale or speed without forced lockdowns.
Research shows that people’s experience of working at home varied drastically depending on their circumstances. A Google search on “work from home fails” illustrates that we can learn a number of valuable (if common-sense) lessons.
It’s clear that simple organisation and discipline cannot always overcome physical constraints. For example, where households share a small physical space, it is difficult to work as productively as at the office. Similarly, families with younger children and no extended family find it hard to juggle work responsibilities and childcare effectively without access to schools or outside help.
On the other hand if you live far from your office, have a quiet environment and sufficient room to set up a home workspace, working remotely can lead to higher levels of productivity than the hurly-burly of an office environment.
Netto-specific insights from work from home “experiments”
As a service business, remote working was always more of a possibility for Netto than for other types of business. Strategising quickly in the days before the first hard lockdown, we zeroed in on technology and systems investments that enable us to maintain our commitments to you as a client. Our office technology has allowed us to adapt relatively seamlessly to the remote working environment with minimal impact on our internal business processes.
Of course nothing beats a face-to-face meeting when you need a nuanced discussion, so we were relieved to be able to return to some in-person meetings where necessary, but conducting annual reviews via Zoom is still a daily reality.
On the team side, we schedule more informal virtual interactions in order to bolster the “interpersonal glue” that keeps our existing teams together, but we encountered a distinct challenge integrating new employees into our workspace. We made a decision to conduct only initial, vital training online and then prioritised getting new employees back into the office because in-depth training and bonding works best when colleagues can work physically side by side.
What does the future of work look like, now that folks are being vaccinated?
It’s unlikely that Netto will ever move to an entirely virtual operation as our central office allows for collaboration, team building and socialising. However, the pandemic certainly highlighted that a hybrid approach between the full office experience and working from home can be very beneficial to both business and staff and we’ll be exploring that where appropriate in the future.
Of course your financial planning needs are ongoing regardless of the current status of the pandemic, so whether you prefer in-person meetings or remote ones, let your Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) know when you schedule your annual review and we’ll do all we can to accommodate you safely.