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Will the Workplace Return to Normal?

Due to the pandemic, we have all had to make some serious changes to our lifestyles. While most have been unwelcome, there is one thing that many employees seem to have enjoyed – working remotely. With many offices having set business hours, employees previously didn't have the option to work from home, but with Shelter-in-Place orders came a wave of possibilities for the digital nomads of the world.

However, with the pandemic forcing many businesses to try this system out, the question is asked: Is it truly an undue hardship for employers? Have your employees been experiencing an increase or decrease in productivity? Here are some 2020 statistics from Flexjobs regarding remote working: 

  • 85% of businesses have seen an increase in productivity
  • 90% of employees felt the flexible schedule increased morale
  • 65% of employees felt more productive using a home office

Keep in mind, allowing employees to work remotely doesn't make sense for every business. It is, however, a possibility for more than we originally thought. So, what does that look like for you and your company? Here's what you can expect.

Labor laws for Remote Employees

The lines can become somewhat blurred when it comes to following laws and guidelines that make more sense in the office than for remote employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act covers wage and hours tracking as well as privacy and security information while the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is over productivity and quality control. What about dress codes? Do employees need to follow a certain dress code for video meetings? Could an employer be faced with legal consequences if an employee is injured on the job if it's not in office?

There are so many questions that are raised during this time. Over the past couple of months, we have had an influx of clients with long lists of questions and requests for information regarding what standards they can set for their employees. Previously, the effort that would have to go into allowing employees to work remotely might have been considered undue hardship. However, with the majority of businesses having to temporarily close their doors, many of these questions and concerns have been figured out. The kinks have been worked out so why not allow employees to have the option to work from home? This is likely one of the arguments that will be used in the coming months. Are you prepared?

What We Know

They say knowledge is power, and that you never know until you try. This has proven to be true in the midst of a society that was pushed out of normal professional operations and placed into an at-home office with all new technology. What have we learned through this?

Video Conferencing is a Viable Substitute. Video conferencing can't and won't fully replace in-person interaction just as a Facetime chat won't replace in-person time with friends. However, it's certainly proven to be a good solution for thousands and even millions of companies across the nation. Meetings have continued and work is still getting done.

Productivity is Possible. While this may not be true for everyone, many businesses actually saw an increase in productivity. It's possible that your employee may even thrive as a remote worker. Everyone is different, but humans are better at adapting than they're often given credit for.

The World as We Know It. It may never be the same again. We will create a new normal from adversity. We will adapt. Learn. Grow. Move forward.

Will the workplace return to normal? Only time will tell. Chances are, it won't ever be completely normal, but pushing the folds of normalcy isn't always a bad thing – we call it innovation.

If you're still working on how you can adjust to continued changes in operation, please reach out to us. We would be happy to join forces with you and help you determine the best next steps for your business.

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