PwC: Virtual working is becoming the ‘new normal’ and organisations need to embrace it.
Mobility programs have been the engine of multinational businesses to get the right talent in the right location for decades. But what constitutes ‘mobility’? Nontraditional types of mobility that do not require a formal relocation to another city or country were already exponentially growing before the global pandemic. Enter COVID and the new generation of what it means to be ‘mobile’ − remote work arrangements.
COVID-19 has acutely accelerated and altered the mobile workforce, forcing individuals worldwide to work from home and harness virtual working on a full-time and sustained basis. Businesses must now reimagine the future of work for the post-COVID world, addressing productivity, operational realities, and a new employee ecosystem. They must reassess their capability to support remote working longer term, tapping into infrastructure and other cost savings, while at the same time delivering an enhanced employee experience.
Fortunately, accelerating advances in technology have provided employers
and employees with more choice around how they work, enabling greater
flexibility and agility to address this challenge.
Are these arrangements a ‘game changer’?
A crisis-driven imperative to quickly facilitate virtual working/working from home on a global scale has shown that working virtually at scale is achievable, and for many employees, desirable. Lockdown measures and travel restrictions will ease, but there has been a fundamental shift in our feelings towards virtual working and many will have lingering concerns on their wellbeing in a crowded office or commuting environment.
The bottom line? Virtual working is becoming the ‘new normal’ and organisations need to embrace it.
A PwC survey* of 300+ companies indicates that.. 53% of companies have already set up international and domestic remote work arrangement policies. Of those companies that do not have a policy, 50% anticipate that they will implement one by the end of 2020.
Policy scope can span widely
Remote work arrangements are much broader than traditional mobility programs, and can be an alternative to them. Companies that implement remote work policies can define what ‘remote’ means by tailoring it to their specific needs and business.
For example, companies should clarify specific criteria, including duration (is the remote work temporary and/or permanent?) as well as location, such as within the United States or within a certain number of miles away from a physical business location. Criteria also should include roles and responsibilities, i.e., specifying those that will fit effectively within remote work parameters.
Although there could be many employees that would want to take advantage of such an arrangement, its scope may be limited to those roles that can be successfully performed without a full-time company office/facility presence and/or do not present regulatory, licensing, or even intellectual property considerations. In addition, there will likely be employees, such as young employees new to the workforce, who will not want to utilize remote work and instead seek an in-person experience.
Work on the beach? Companies allowing work in another country may see employees opt for more exotic locales. Some countries are already loosening their immigration requirements in 2021 (e.g., Barbados, Bermuda, Estonia, Georgia) to encourage persons to work there so as to reduce the financial impact of tourism decline. Other countries could soon follow suit.
Multiple human capital challenges can be solved
Remote work arrangements can yield benefits that are overwhelmingly positive for both the business and the employee. Real estate costs are a frequent driver for the business, and companies can benefit from happier, healthier employees that have greater flexibility and less commuting time. Based on a recent PwC survey of 300 companies, employee health and safety topped the list of why a company wants such a policy, followed by enhancing employee experience, and the attraction and retention of key talent.
More on the Pwc’s analysis here: Remote work policies: PwC