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Covid-19 & Remote work

Imagine the time when you were lying in bed wearing your most comfortable pajamas, sipping a nice hot cup of cocoa, and thought to yourself: I wish I would never have to go to the office! I would never have to leave my home. Well, the anticipation is over. Covid-19 has transformed this thought into a reality for good. 

Now, the dream is over and we are forced into work like this for a long time. But it is the only way to connect with your team-mates and establish productivity. The radical change into working remotely has been a long overdue experiment which is unpleasant for the most of us but a highly needed one. It is the only way for companies to survive in a hostile environment. In the beginning, many firms faced foreclosures even the idea of growth was beyond our imagination. 

Despite all the roadblocks put before us by remote work in productivity numbers in lieu of working in a traditional office work environment, the synergy from working in virtual teams has not been affected. A study conducted by Adobe, Inc. found that the most millennials are expected to check their work email outside of working hours; an overwhelming proportion of millennials-almost 70% check their emails from bed; and 35% of them actually prefer communicating via email. The concept of virtual teams does not sound all bad! Surprised? Wait until you hear this: When the US Economy shrunk by 33%, Amazon reported a $5.2 billion profit in the first quarter-40% higher than the same period last year and its Division-Amazon Web Services reported a record breaking profit of $10.8 billion. Apple, Inc. reported double digit growth in June and made revenue of whopping $59.7 billion. So, all in all, the functionality of virtual teams is present.

The above figures express the idea of almost certainty that remote work is not only a possibility but can actually improve the collective output. Now, it comes to figuring out how the company can fully function in virtual presence? To start with, companies can have an early check-in round on Slack Messaging or Zoom Meetings where team members would establish a friendly and rapport building environment, discuss their targets or chat about happenings such as, local events around them or even the weather discussion would suffice. Scrum session is also a viable option here. Teams can share their progress and update the development status to make changes in timeline if necessary. 

Now, let’s discuss the human element. After all, the virtual teams can replace the traditional in-person sessions but cannot fill in for the human element. Generally, video conferences are held in a very ‘robotic’ manner where the environment gets very dull and creates monotony. However, there is a way around it. We have seen plenty of videos during quarantine where people are being constantly interrupted during online meetings or in some cases, being asked to be in a particular surrounding. Let’s ignore this idea for now. Instead of asking employees to find a quiet and secluded place, let them hold meetings in their room or any common place where they feel comfortable even if it has a messy background. This way, it would keep the ‘human’ element alive and make the online sessions visually stimulating. 

So to reflect the ideas, Covid-19 has inflicted a massive damage for sure but businesses around the world can still survive, turn this threat to a challenge, and companies can actually still grow by saving operational costs. It is absolutely clear that remote work is the future work environment, all we can do to grow professionally is by embracing its realm of communication, and ‘humanize’ it.

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