For millions of people worldwide, working life in a COVID-19 world is barely recognisable. Since the lockdown measures have eased, some companies are taking tentative steps towards returning to the office. However, many workers, for many reasons, are opting to continue working from home.
Following those first few tumultuous weeks, and once we regained our balance in the ‘new world’, we began to witness an epic unfolding of technological innovation. From software companies to app developers; it turned out that a Pandemic was the catalyst to kick start a remote-working revolution.
Technological concepts barely out of minds and onto paper were frantically fast-tracked. And, before you could say ‘stay alert, stay at home’ we were taking business meetings in space via Microsoft Teams, and pupils were attending school via virtual classrooms. Unprecedented times prompted unprecedented action.
The epic rise of Microsoft Teams
Tech giant, Microsoft, rose to the challenge in grand style; uniting us through multiple platforms and solutions. In an alien and clinical world of isolation, Microsoft championed connection and allowed us to weather the storm and adapt swiftly. Understanding the human need for togetherness – they enabled us to not only work from home – keeping businesses in operation – but also to remain connected as people – something necessary for calm anchorage within the COVID storm.
In a recent article, Microsoft explained “Researchers like Dr. Fiona Kerr have found that eye contact and physical connection with another human increases dopamine and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. Her research shows that you can even physically calm someone down simply by looking them in the eye. So, as the world works, it’s no surprise; people are turning on video in Teams meetings twice as often as before. We’ve also seen total video calls in Teams grow by over 1,000 per cent in the month of March”.
Benefits of working from home
Working from home isn’t a new concept; especially for places like the Netherlands, who enjoy and thrive in hyper-flexible work culture. And, from health to financial; remote work brings with it a myriad of advantages.
To save on overheads AND keep staff safe, many large companies are discussing the prospect of permanent work-from-home positions and strategies. With the correct support and infrastructures in place; workers have proved to be productive and efficient at home, while demonstrating elevated motivation and boosted morale.
We all know that stress affects work performance – it’s a well-documented fact. Sitting in a beige cubicle under strip lights for eight hours a day, away from our home comforts and pets can be a recipe for misery.
On the flip side, for many people, working from home has been proven to reduce anxiety and lift moods, resulting in a more motivated workforce. This boost of morale translates to harder workers, increased creativity and a more mentally robust team.
Allowing this remote work transition to happen with almost seamless fluidity – Microsoft Teams enables workers to keep up to date with projects, talk face to face, and work efficiently – while enjoying the flexibility that comes through remote working.
Moreover, from one person to another -productivity varies wildly. Night owls v’s Morning person; focus comes when it comes. Remote working allows individuals to appropriately capitalise on that energy and motivation – setting a schedule that suits them personally.
Through data collection, Microsoft discovered an increase in productivity through lockdown:
“From March 1–31, the average time between a person’s first use of Teams and last use of Teams each day increased by over one hour. This data doesn’t necessarily mean people are working more hours per day, rather that they are breaking up the day in a way that works for their personal productivity or makes space for obligations outside of work.”
But like most things in life, remote work is not without its fair share of problems. As more customers engage with businesses online, the demand for better features and services will grow; placing increased pressure on developers to bring new software to market quicker.
Also, with the added pressure, shorter turnaround times and potential lack of funding due to a looming recession; we could see an escalation in cyber-crime via new phishing and malware campaigns. Application security is going to have to stay on its toes.
Somewhere down the track, businesses will reopen completely, and while many of the ‘new world’ logistics are yet to be determined, one thing is sure — remote working is here to stay.