In the home stretch of 2020, there is a lot of hope being sprinkled around the country. First, we’re getting ready to put this challenging year behind us, and second, vaccines are starting to roll out to protect the population against the novel coronavirus.
People are starting to plan for things to return to normal, and businesses are no different. Or are they?
Projections for #WFH life for the next 2 quarters
Hate to break this to you, but just because the calendar page turns over, doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot is going to change in the world at large.
Local public health units will continue to monitor things and adjust their guidelines as the situation progresses. For the most part, though, the early months of 2021 will be unchanged from 2020.
Some large tech companies have already released statements about extending remote work indefinitely, including Facebook, Twitter, and Square. Vaccines are rolling out and 20 million Americans are set to be immunized into January of 2021, but much of the population will receive the vaccine at a later date.
So for companies of all shapes and sizes, working arrangements aren’t likely to change in the next few months.
Hybrid work-from-home models being rolled out in late 2021
The challenges that employees have faced when balancing work, life, and family have been monumental, and so many companies are working to help their people out as much as they can.
Businesses are evaluating the option for some employees to come into the office if their situation at home is not conducive to getting things done.
For instance, Google surveyed its employees and found that many of them did want to return to the office, but not full-time. They stated that collaboration, socializing with teammates, and in-person meetings were things they’d prefer to do in a traditional office setting.
The tech giant is working on a plan to launch a hybrid model for its employees, so they can have added flexibility. Google emailed its employees this month to let them know they will work from home until at least September of 2021, at which point the hybrid model will take effect.
The benefits of hybrid work-from-home models
Consider the companies that have leases they are locked into for the next year. With ample space and social distancing measures in place, the office is ready to be used by those who want to get out of the house.
For other employees that don’t feel comfortable returning to the workplace yet, they can choose to continue to work from home. This level of autonomy is a big step forward in allowing people to do their best work in the environment that they choose.
Adding to the much-desired flexible work hours and location are real cost-savings for companies and employees alike. After a few months of a hybrid work-from-home model, companies can evaluate how much office space is really needed. Many businesses are likely to downsize their office spaces in 2021, cutting costs.
Employees are also saving on their commute, to the tune of $1,000/year when they were previously stuck in traffic. Taking the onus off the physical office space starts to really put money back into the pockets of employers and employees.
Alternative hybrid work-from-home models in certain industries
In contrast to offering employees the option to work in the office or at home, there will be hybrid models at many companies due to the type of work being conducted.
For example, manufacturing facilities and engineering technical centers will likely continue to have engineers, designers, managers, and administration staff continue to work from home because all they need is access to files, software, and online collaboration tools.
But for the workers that need to be on the manufacturing shop floor, they’ll be working in-person, and liaising with the office staff through Zoom meetings and email.
A similar situation exists where staff will rotate coming into work to ensure that mail, packages, and other supplies are being shipped out. Some IT professionals or maintenance crews may also need to be on the premises in order to fix any issues with servers or the equipment within a company’s four walls.
The challenge here remains to keep in contact with teams in different physical locations. But if there’s anything 2020 has taught us at work, it’s that we can figure out how to communicate virtually and find creative solutions to getting the job done.