NORFOLK, Va. - The future of the workplace is changing.
While some companies were slowly incorporating more remote work prior to the pandemic, COVID-19 dramatically sped things up.
The question many are now asking - how much will things stay this way?
Dr. Emily Campion, an assistant professor in the Dept. of Management at Old Dominion University, started doing research on the issue in the fall.
She says most companies they surveyed said they will likely continue to do remote work in some capacity, whether that's entirely remote or a combination of remote and in-office.
One of the reasons some companies were reluctant to make the transition prior to the pandemic was the cost and effort needed to get their employees set up remotely, but that's no longer an issue.
"They had this big upfront cost, but now the infrastructure is in place. So I think a lot of organizations are thinking, 'Let's just keep sort of doing this because we, you know, we already know what we're doing or we at least are trying to figure out what to do,'" Campion said.
There are only a couple studies actually measuring how productivity is impacted, but Campion says those actually saw an increase.
"One suggested it's because people put in more effort because they felt they were under this microscope, right? They wanted to prove that 'Yes, I am at home. Yes, I'm in my pajamas, but I'm also working,'" Campion said.
One study did find a difference, though, based on whether an employee started off in-person or remotely.
In-person workers became more productive when they left the office while those hired remotely were less productive.
Campion says that shows how important socialization into a company is so that employees know what is expected of them.
Here are some best practices Campion suggests:
- Communicate often
- Set daily goals for yourself
- Set up a space that's just for work, otherwise it's hard to separate it from your personal life.
- Understand your leadership style. Are you a micro-manager or do you leave people to work on their own? You may need to adjust based on what works best for each employee.
- Communication is key so that workers know you're there and paying attention.
- Prioritize connections among workers. While they don't need to be friends, it helps everyone to understand expectations.