At 1MFWF, we always want to highlight what’s happening around the country and across the globe pertaining to work flexibility. While our own blog features regular contributions from experts on this topic, we also keep an eye out for great articles elsewhere on the web. Here are some recent news items not to miss, including why remote work may not be working for your company, and how to do it right.
Carrying on with workplace policies that were in place before COVID-19 may be one reason why remote work isn’t working for your organization. White-collar organizations may need to figure out new ways of working, rather than trying to replicate pre-pandemic operations in a transformed workplace. Among the operational changes manager may want to consider are fewer meetings; reviews based on performance rather than work schedules; and enhanced ways of connecting on platforms that foster collaboration and collegiality. Companies also may want to address how existing stresses like child care and job security worries are exacerbated by the pandemic.
Unilad.co, Julia Banim
Under a new visa program, Barbados is accepting applications from workers with remote jobs who are looking to remain in the country for up to 12 months. The initiative is meant to take advantage of the exponential growth in remote work due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Barbados Welcome Stamp program is intended to offer a low-stress work environment to remote workers–but at a price. An individual visa costs $2,000, while a “family bundle” visa goes for $3,000. The visa also “strongly encourages” COVID-19 testing for people who are coming from high-risk countries–a list of countries that includes the U.S.
CNN.com, Kathryn Vasel
Google’s announced plans to extend its work-from-home policy to July 2020 has laid down a remote-work marker for companies of all sizes. Intended to give workers the ability to plan ahead even as they grapple with the uncertainties of coronavirus, the policy has set a standard for organizations in the Silicon Valley, and beyond. Employers around the globe are paying attention to pronouncements from Google, as well as Facebook, that as many as 50 percent of their employees will be working remotely within the next five to 10 years.
As much as half of the U.S. workforce is now working remotely, up from 14 percent before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As Google and other big tech firms announce extensions of remote work policies into the summer of 2021, there’s a likelihood that the pandemic has served to “shock” many employers into accepting the reality of employees working from home. That could mean profound economic effects on restaurants, transportation, office rental spaces, and other businesses and infrastructures that rely on office-based workers. Workers who once sat in offices are now sitting at home, and the ripple effect on the broader economy is still playing out.
eWeek, Chris Preimesberger
Data security has taken on a new urgency for employers with increasing numbers of home-based workers. The coronavirus pandemic has forced IT professionals at countless organizations to come up with guidelines that protect data security while maintaining work productivity. A smart approach for some companies includes strategies like increasing employee training on data security and discouraging employees from sharing a computer used for work with other household and family members. Rather than thinking of such security changes as short-term solutions, organizations should view them as long-term or even permanent shifts as the effects of the pandemic continue to transform the global workforce.
Miami Today, Jesse Scheckner
Transportation officials in greater Miami are undertaking a four-month study to examine how remote work in the public and private sectors impacts traffic congestion. The comprehensive study will encompass remote learning and telehealth, with a goal of guiding policy making and possible economic incentives in the future. Funding for the study comes in part from a state-funded program that advocates remote work, carpooling, and flexible work schedules as ways to reduce crippling traffic. Because of COVID-19, some employers are now more open to remote work, a shift that county officials view as an opportunity to explore how telecommuting and other flexible work options can ease traffic congestion in the metropolitan Miami-Dade area.
The New York Times – DealBook
Looking at the pros and cons of working from home, DealBook explores the benefits and challenges of working from home in the age of coronavirus. Remote work can offer greater flexibility, especially for highly skilled workers and those who live away from major metropolitan areas. Challenges can come in the form of “cultural” issues like morale and lack of in-person interactions with work colleagues. It’s noted, however, that organizations that were doing well with remote work before the pandemic had well-thought-out systems in place that fostered collaboration on projects and allowed employees to engage within their own work timeframes.