Working From Home

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The coronavirus pandemic has amended many of our work and home routines. During the pandemic, most non-essential businesses have assigned their employees to work remotely from home. There are reports that even after the pandemic, many businesses will be offering choices for their employees to continue working remotely from their home.

According to a news report in BBC News, the Welsh Government’s goal is to see about 30% of the workforce in Wales staying at or near home in the long term. “The Understanding Society Covid-19 Study also said nine out of 10 those who had worked from home during lockdown would like to continue in some form”.

The Guardian Technology editor Alex Hern writes that “Covid-19 could permanently shift working patterns as companies forced to embrace remote working by the pandemic find that their employees do not want to return to the office once the closures are lifted”. As expected, working from home constitutes both challenges and opportunities both for businesses and individuals.

Challenges and Opportunities

In the Guardian article, Alex Horn points out these two scenarios. On the one hand, some startups like Slack, Zoom, and established giants including Google and Microsoft are offering their video conference tools like Teams for free, in the hope that people who start using them in a crisis may carry on once normality returns. On the other hand, some service providers have come under pressure to lift bandwidth caps to the remote workers.

Technology experts predict that large technology firms, some of which already allowing their employees to work remotely, may expand their infrastructure such as office chat groups, remote access to critical tools and may make the switch first to remote working for all their staff.

Matt Mullenweg, chief executive of WordPress and Tumblr owner Automattic, is quoted in the article saying:

This is not how I envisioned the distributed work revolution taking hold and predicts the changes might also offer an opportunity for many companies to finally build a culture that allows long-overdue work flexibility. Millions of people will get the chance to experience days without long commutes, or the harsh inflexibility of not being able to stay close to home when a family member is sick… This might be a chance for a great reset in terms of how we work.

Remote Working Tools

Some popular remote working tools listed in the article:

  • Slack: It’s dubbed as the über workplace management tool, is easy for individual teams, desks and offices to get started. It’s also the most popular tool among remote workers, even before the covid-19 pandemic, is able to recreate the sort of in-person chat they had in the office.
  • Trello: A project management software which lets teams arrange and assign tasks, track wider project progress, and build workflows for repeated jobs – perfect for day four or five of working from home, when you might start to wonder if your boss has forgotten you exist.
  • Zoom: One of the most popular videoconferencing tools with free accounts, which theoretically supports up to 1,000 participants in a single meeting.
  • Tomates: A simple and cheap Mac app, based on popular Promodoro method, to help automate work and rest timers making timely reminder to take breaks from work at home.

For more detail: Covid-19 could cause permanent shift towards home working | The Guardian