With COVID-19, most companies have implemented large-scale work from home initiatives. Now that many states are reopening and employees are starting to trickle back into the office, what lessons can employers draw from the world’s largest work-from-home experiment?

One lesson learned is that companies that are agile and adaptable to shifts in workloads, schedule changes, and strategic direction are surviving in today’s market. For an individual, this is demonstrated by a flexibility of mind and ability to adapt to shifts in environmental dynamics.  For an organization, it correlates to implementing advances in technology and the way in which resources are managed. Combined together, this agility has the potential to open up a whole field of opportunity previously untapped

One key aspect of this agile workplace is flexibility regarding where the work is accomplished.  Work is, after all, something that is done and not some location at which to arrive.  Allowing some employees to have flexible work schedules, with the option to work remotely, can improve job satisfaction, raise productivity, reduce overhead costs, and spread work to more remote areas.

Larger Talent Community. The ability to work from anywhere expands the talent community for new positions exponentially.  Once the infrastructure to support telework is in place, managers are enabled to hire the best candidate for the job, no matter where they sit. Having this option can also help increase the retention of top talent in the event they end up needing to relocate.

Raise Productivity. The office can be a very distracting place.  Between colleagues popping by to ask for help to being pulled into impromptu meetings, it can prove challenging to stay focused on a project and even harder to produce top-quality. Having the option to work from home (or remotely elsewhere) mitigates this freneticism and allows energies to be focused on what’s mission critical. Being closer to home can also create a better work-life balance and reduce the stress of trying to fit it all in, which leads to higher productivity, improved morale and better efficiencies.

Reduce Costs. From reducing the amount of space a company leases to cutting the costs of utilities, cleaning services and office supplies, the potential for savings is huge.  Interviews and business meetings can also be held over Skype, Zoom or other video conferencing service, eliminating the costs associated with airfare, hotel and other travel expenses.  Additionally, with the option to work from home, candidates may accept a lower salary upfront since their out-of-pocket costs for commuting, parking and auto maintenance would be reduced significantly.

Job Satisfaction. A long commute can make or break a candidate’s acceptance of an offer.  In many cases, it can also wear down even the most dedicated employee’s desire to stay.  Cutting back on or altogether eliminating a daily commute can be the difference between hiring and keeping your best employees (and keeping them happy!) or losing them to another offer closer to home.

An agile workplace is one where communication and collaboration is encouraged by the business and supported by the infrastructure without regard to location or device.  When executed well, this kind of flexible working environment builds a competitive advantage that is sustainable, profitable and capable of growing the company’s brand, market and bottom line.

Posted by: Nicolette Salazar