After being onsite bound for most of our careers, the question must be asked. Are we really ready for virtual offices and how will this impact our productivity?
Office environments create a sense of accountability and instant communication. While working in office adds to the overall reward of being part of a team we have to be realistic as to what we are really benefiting.
A 9 to 5 job permits workers to set goals for the day before they sign off and relax in the evening. As we are held accountable for our hours consumed in office, we feel a need to adhere to the expectations between these times. We are no longer restricted to meeting rooms and cubicles, collaboration at desk, outside gathering areas and even a quick catch up at the coffee machine can be nurtured for the swift sharing of ideas and quick feedback sessions. These interactions benefit employee engagement and can ultimately be beneficial for the company in the long run.
When companies put in effort to create an environment of inclusivity, workers are motivated and a sense of ownership is attached to employees’ responsibility.
Its been proven that employees are more productive when they are part of something bigger, in this case, a team or group of individuals that share the same passion for their work.
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook said, “ For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from the past year: each other”
Its clear that the benefits of working in an office is productivity. But how can we ensure productivity while working remotely and how does this impact our outcome?
Although the idea of creating this kind of environment must be enforced with new policies and procedures, this task is not as daunting as it seems. Responsiveness and modes of communication are facts to consider when outlining these new policies and procedures. Ultimately the measurement of productivity should be specified as opposed to the number of hours worked.
One of the biggest issues found with remote working is connectivity and how this ultimately impacts our productivity. Pyjama attire along with the sweet symphony of dogs barking have accompanied our receptiveness of confirming whether or not we can be “heard”.
Our remote working adaptation comes with the responsibility of having good internet connectivity. But who’s responsible?
“The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) requires an employer to provide an employee with the tools they need and this can include Internet, data, stationery and the like, where applicable,” says Maritz. “The employer may require that the employee then provide proof of the data capacity on their devices and the proof of payment for the data if they are going to reimburse it. If data isn’t exclusively used for the business, for example, the costs should be calculated and shared.”
Adapting to virtual office and hybrid spaces.
Some companies may be willing to provide their people with extra rands to cover some of the expenses of working from home, some may do the bare minimum. Employers are not required to do more than what’s defined by the BCEA, and some may not be able to due to financial constraints, but ultimately it will depend on the company, the employee and their unique remote working situation.