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How Coronavirus Could Make Remote Work the New Norm

With a pandemic pending, many companies are implementing measures that could change how we work forever.
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In the coming months, many office workers will trade their suits and heels for pajamas and house slippers.
On March 2nd, Twitter became the first global corporation to strongly encourage its employees to work from home. The mandate came as a strategic effort to lower the spread of COVID-19, which has now killed 6 people in the United States. In the coming months, it's likely more companies will follow suit.
Google and Coinbase, for example, are already working on implementing similar measures. If they haven't yet, there's a pretty good chance your workplace will soon follow.

The realities of telecommuting

Working from home (otherwise referred to as 'telecommuting') has only gained traction in the last several years. In 2017, U.S. Census data indicated that around 5.2% of professionals in the U.S. telecommuted regularly. By 2019, that number skyrocketed—likely due to technological advancements and software developments that allowed organizations to more effectively manage team members from afar.
In the midst of today's COVID-19 crisis, the benefits of telecommunication are resoundingly clear and urgently irrefutable: it is the best ways to protect our communities and prevent the virus’s spread. But researchers were singing the praises of telecommuting long before COVID-19—some even recommended that remote, telecommuting, and work-from-home employment structures should be the new standard.
Distance-work expert and professor at the University of California Irvine (UCI) believes working at home can increase individual focus and productivity. Other studies have suggested that working from home may boost company profits, promote employee retention, and facilitate a better work-life balance.
Despite its many supposed benefits, American companies have been reluctant to embrace telecommuting as a workplace norm. After all, working from home does present its own distinct challenges and drawbacks, and those difficulties haven’t exactly been worth confronting until now.
As panic spreads and more government agencies urge workplaces to consider work-from-home alternatives, many companies may be left with no other choice than to take the plunge and pivot towards digital workspaces.

Coronavirus could mean permanent changes

COVID-19 is already impacting the global economy in some very serious ways—there's a lot of uncertainty about what comes next. Regardless of what happens, one thing is clear: our economy, businesses, and likely the way we approach work itself will change in its wake.
Looking to the future, a shift towards remotely operated workplaces seems inevitable. Moreover, these changes will likely prove permanent. Physical workplaces may soon become largely a thing of the past—even after concerns regarding Coronavirus settle in the coming years.