The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the lives of just about everyone in the world, to some degree or another. At this point, there's no question about it. Aside from the effect on people's health and well-being, the pandemic has forced thousands of companies to get very creative when it comes to how they work. Organizations that originally had people working in offices have since transitioned their entire staff to a remote work model. And I'm sure they're realizing that having a remote workforce can come with some major benefits.
But as things open back up post-COVID-19, what will businesses (specifically tech companies...) do?
Here at Isos, we were working remotely long before the COVID-19 pandemic. We love it, and I'm sure you can read through our endless stream of blogs and find mentions, from authors on nearly every team, about how great it is. But there are a lot of big tech companies that had previously never experimented with working remotely. Now that they've seen the upside to working from home, I imagine companies will adopt on of these three approaches once the pandemic is in our rear-view mirror:
Back to Business as Usual
I think it's safe to say that many tech companies will revert back to normal operations after things start opening back up. In my opinion, this is going to be a mess for a few reasons. First, employees who transitioned to remote work during the pandemic will have become accustomed to working at home and will have realized how great it is. And it's not crazy to think that these employees will likely start looking for employment at other places that allow them to work remotely. Beyond potentially losing some of their workforce, companies will have a very strange transitional period. As COVID-19 dissipates, there will be plenty of employees who will still want to work for their company, but will also want to remain at home for a variety of reasons.
Hybrid of Remote & Office Work
This is the group I think most companies will fall into because, after all, many tech companies have plenty of employees who prefer to be in an office setting for work. Not to mention, they may have made hefty investments in their office spaces (thanks to the tech-office stigma). I feel that these companies will allow employees to choose whether to remain remote permanently, return to the office, or even offer a hybrid of remote and office work (like us Tempe-based Isos employees). I really think this will be the best response because, in the eyes of an employee, having freedom in your job greatly increases your level of professional satisfaction. But beyond this, the companies will have the ability to keep their office spaces and maintain normal operations.
All Remote, All the TimeAlthough this may seem crazy, I think a good chunk of companies will actually choose to go fully remote. This may be something that happens throughout an extended period of time because big organizations will have a lot of details to weed through. But when they sit back and realize how much happier their employees are at home, and realize how much money is wrapped up in having luxurious office space, the powers that be will likely make the bold call to go fully remote.
I think it goes without saying that making these transitions will take a long time, and we may not see these changes for months or even years once the pandemic is over. But I would feel safe to bet that COVID-19 has put a lot of things in perspective for these companies, and will propel stakeholders to think a lot about how they manage their employees, processes, and ultimately their culture.