Business Leaders on Remote-Work Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic
Business leaders are making some big decisions for their organizations in view of Covid-19 and remote work. These decisions haven’t come easy. We’re talking about a complete shift in the approach to how teams work backed with good infrastructure for employees. As difficult as this challenge seems to be, these leaders have realized that it’s time to evolve. They realize that the new normal is here to stay successful.
We are thinking about the employees who spend 2-3 hours daily in traffic. Those who commute to the office, have started to realize that work can still happen wherever they are from.
From the hiring perspective, remote work is changing the dynamics of recruitment. A wide talent pool is now available across the globe! All you need is a process and system in place to get the best talent for your organization. The advantage is not just on the recruiting side — it’s also on the retention side.
In these times the concept of ‘workplace’ is disrupted and people have realized the importance of well being and sustainability.
Here is what some of the top leaders are doing to adapt to this monumental culture shift.
Mark Zuckerberg | CEO, Facebook
“We’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale,” Mark Zuckerberg says. “We need to do this in a way that’s thoughtful and responsible, so we’re going to do this in a measured way. But I think that it’s possible that over the next five to 10 years — maybe closer to 10 than five, but somewhere in that range — I think we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently.”
The first step Facebook took is to unlock remote hiring which isn’t constrained to hiring people who live around an office. In regards to the existing employees, Facebook plans to allow people to request to be a permanent remote worker at some point. Zuckerberg stressed that employees don’t have to make that decision right now.
They have already announced that people can remote work through the end of 2020 if they want. And if COVID is still prevalent, it’s possible that that extends beyond that. But on a long-term basis, Facebook is going to let people request to work permanently remotely. They aim to focus on experienced employees rather than new college grads, since they need to be in the office more, for training.
Debjani Ghosh | President, Nasscom
“I’m hopeful work from home will fix talent, gender and diversity gaps.” says Debjani Ghosh. Debjani expresses that there’s tremendous benefit to working from home.
“We’ve seen productivity go up and hopefully, it’ll stay up in the long run. One thing we have found is that when you are working online, it is truly a collaborative process.”Debjani Ghosh | President, NASSCOM
Having said that, some issues still exist—last-mile access, connectivity, cyber security and so on. She expresses that this is also a good time for the Indian government to focus on power supply problems. These are some issues India will need to sort out before work from home can become a long-term model.
Debjani was positive that most large companies will put a hybrid model in place. “IT services companies will dominate here, while business process management (BPM) and smaller companies might not be able to entirely. But I do think we will see a blended model becoming the new norm.”
It is very refreshing to hear her say how clearly remote working will bridge the talent gap, the gender gap and the other diversity gaps, to a very large extent.
Jack Dorsey | CEO, Twitter and Square
We also listed our top tech business leader to make a big announcement during this crisis. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, in a forward-thinking, unprecedented statement, told his employees that they may remain working from home “forever.”After announcing that Twitter employees can continue working from home. This is Even after shelter-in-place orders end, Dorsey extended the same opportunity to his Square employees.
Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, Dorsey had voiced plans to encourage a “distributed workforce” for Twitter with more remote employees living outside San Francisco, where the company is headquartered.
Employees whose jobs require them to be physically present, such as those who maintain the server, will still have to show up to the offices, which Dorsey said in the email will not open before September. For employees who feel more comfortable at home, Dorsey said their work from home supply allowance would be increased to $1,000, according to BuzzFeed.
The company also confirmed on their blog that all business travel — aside from a few exceptions — is canceled through September and any in-person events are canceled for the remainder of the year.
“When we do decide to open offices, it also won’t be a snap back to the way it was before. It will be careful, intentional, office by office and gradual.”Jack Dorsey | CEO, Twitter
CP Gurnani | CEO and MD, Tech Mahindra
Our business leader says “We would like 25% of employees to work from the home for long term.” Gurnani says. He believes that Work from home (WFH) is the new normal and is here to stay. He added to say – “WFH is a good thing for the industry, great for the gig economy, and wonderful for a flexible workforce, adoption of AI and machine learning.”
Gurnani believes and expresses that every model of working has its pros and cons. “While circumstances will force us to work in isolation for some time, we must also realise that human creativity and teamwork thrives on social interactions. So yes, a hybrid model will exist. It could be limited visits to the office for social distancing reasons to start with and, as we use more collaboration tools and get used to lone working.” He believes that Tech Mahindra will move permanently to a hybrid model. Technology solutions will quickly evolve but it is the human angle that will be important to watch.
The paradigm of leadership in this new normal has changed and the challenge for leaders is to adjust their mindsets from ‘command and control’ to ‘mentor and inspire’.
“We ourselves are looking at about 25 percent of our employees working from home in the long term. In our industry, productivity and deliverables will not be impacted by this—and might be enhanced, in fact.”CP Gurnani | CEO & MD, Tech Mahindra
A business leader like Gurnani strongly believes that Covid-19 has enabled us to create a proven model that can serve a larger workforce of women and persons with disabilities, and enable tech firms to tap into talent from rural India—a workforce from Bharat.
Tobias Lutke | CEO, Shopify
CEO of Shopify our curated business leader said “As of today, Shopify is digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is over.” Lutke tweeted through the coronavirus lockdown in May.
“Until recently, work happened in the office. We’ve always had some people remote, but they used the internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now. The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup,” he said.
He added that “the work experience should be the same for everyone who works together at Shopify” no matter where people are working from, and the company will use “use the best digital communications tools to work together.”
Suresh Sambandam | CEO, Kissflow Inc.
Earlier in May, during a Webinar on “Strategies For Returning To Work”, Business leader Suresh Sambandam, CEO of Kissflow said that he is seriously evaluating moving the company to a full-fledged remote-working format, considering productivity went up by 20% during the work-from-home period.
He said that the company is planning to move into a smaller functional office, and getting the workforce equipped to work largely from home, actually from “anywhere”. He also talked about employees working from their hometowns, as a “Work From Anywhere” model could be an answer to lop-sided development that unfairly favoured urban geographies.
Since then, Kissflow has set up Remote plus, a hybrid remote working model where employees are required to work from an office only for one week a month, as a permanent move. “This may become a permanent move depending on a productivity assessment in six months. We will make a conscious effort to hire employees who will thrive in a remote work environment,” reportedly said Sambandam.