With social distancing measures in place across the country, many people are now working remotely in roles previously defined as office-based. Companies are pivoting quickly to support staff at home, maintain connections among remote teams and encourage productivity in this period of transition.
This short-term increase in remote work may well have a long-term impact on flexible work options across the country as people see that most roles can, in fact, be delivered flexibly.
Remote vs Flexible Work
Searches for remote jobs on WORK180’s jobs board has increased by 300% between the beginning of February and mid-March this year. Searches increased as people protect their health by staying home, are trying to juggle home-schooling with work, and see that many companies are supporting staff through this time.
Remote work is exactly that – working remotely from the office. Right now, that generally means working from home, but it can also be cafes, co-working spaces, libraries, or your local park.
As people settle in to working remotely there is a collective realisation that many jobs previously required to be face to face can be successfully completed flexibly. Flexible work options encompass when, where and how people work. It might mean working from home (ie. Working remotely), but it also might mean being offline for school pick up and jumping back on at 7pm to finish up your work for the day. It also specifically refers to the way we get things done (let’s think the opposite of micro-managing where your boss won’t let you get to the best outcome your own way).
There will likely be an increased demand for flexible and remote work options even as life returns to the new normal post Covid, now that people are spending more time with their families and moving away from the strict 9-5.
Why People Love Remote Working
Remote working may be going through a bit of a boom because it’s been forced as people want to be responsible, stay healthy and care for children who are not at school, but we also know there are many long-term benefits. We asked some of our community members why remote working is important to them, and they responded;
"Remote working allows me to better integrate my working life and home life. As a single mum I can ease the pressures of both drop off and pick ups by working at home. I get to see my kids more and can manage ‘chores’ like washing and cooking throughout breaks in my day."
Another community member shared;
“I love that I can work when I’m productive, be uninterrupted, don’t waste money on transport, parking, take out coffee etc, and that I can do school drop off, pick up etc and still do a productive day’s work.
We also see that remote and flexible work often go hand in hand. Many companies that have the foresight to understand the benefits of allowing teams to work remotely also understand that supporting flexible work times, enabling school runs or other non-work demands and giving staff autonomy increases productivity and loyalty.
How Companies Are Responding
WORK180 Endorsed Employers know that to attract the top talent they need to respond to market forces. Many companies have updated their available jobs to clarify whether they can be done remotely, even if only for the period of physical distancing and isolation.
Microsoft, BAE Systems, TransGrid and Cisco are among WORK180 Endorsed Employers who have updated all their available jobs to working remotely.
These employers are making it easy for you to determine whether roles can be done from home right now, so you can manage health and family needs around work. It’s also exciting to know that companies are still actively hiring during this period – it’s not all doom and gloom (especially if you have shares in Zoom right now)!
Longer Term Impacts
WORK180 is fully remote – we don’t even have a physical office – and we’ve talked about the benefits since well-before Covid!
Some of our Endorsed Employers are now looking at how to support flexible working long-term – including well-supported work from home options, as they can see positive impact on morale are improving output and productivity, all while keeping their workforce safe and happy. Being forced to think more innovatively about managing people will have long term benefits for companies who carry changes forward in a post-Covid world.
Optus have announced that they will make work-at-home measures a permanent feature of their operations. Having accelerated some of their flexible work transition activities to make it successful in the short term, they have come out with stronger ways of working to take forward. One of these changes is the 'experts at home' program, which offers flexibility contact centre staff to work remotely.
What to Do If You Want to Work Remotely
Hop onto WORK180’s job search portal, type in the keyword “remote” and you’ll see current remote working options. These Endorsed Employers are committed to supporting flexible work options, particularly during Covid. Employers are continually updating role locations to show they can be done remotely, so keep checking back.
Additionally, check out WORK180’s Flex Able certification, and the employers who are demonstrating best practice with flexible work options. They may not all be fully remote roles, but they definitely support flexible work practices that will serve you beyond the end of Covid lockdown.
If you’re not ready to move on from your role but you’re still required to go into the office, it’s worth raising it with your manager. Present solutions, such as how you will manage connection and communication, what your home office set up will be, and the benefits of remote working, particularly right now. If you get agreement in the short term, then it may be easier to continue later on!
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About the author
To help women find a workplace that will work for them, we prescreen employers on flexible working, pay equity, paid parental leave, and more. Find your next role on the WORK180 job board.