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Will COVID-19 Build a Case for More Remote Work?

As COVID-19, or coronavirus continues its rapid spread, it’s having an impact not only on human health but also on the global economy.

The tech world is feeling it. In Silicon Valley, Google cancelled its annual developer conference. At Container Solutions, we’ve been scrambling this week to make contingency plans after the Cloud Native Computing Foundation announced it is postponing KubeCon | CloudNativeCon Europe until the summer.

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Our company, which is growing rapidly (we doubled our staff last year) is spread across several countries, with offices in Europe, the U.K., and Canada. Furthermore, a lot of us work remotely from our home offices; I’m writing this from my spare bedroom in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Thanks to the miracle of Google Hangouts, though, I started my day, as I do every other, conferring with colleagues in our London and Amsterdam offices (some of whom also frequently work out of the office).

Remote work is helping us grow fast. To help staff our new Customer Reliability Service (CRE), for instance, we are currently recruiting Cloud Native engineers who want to work remotely from Germany and the Netherlands.

A key benefit of Cloud Native technology is how it frees workers to tend to business no matter where they are; have laptop, will travel. The research on remote work indicates that such employees are more productive than their commuting colleagues: A 2014 Stanford University study with 16,000 participants found that telecommuters were 13% more productive than their office-bound counterparts.

Furthermore, resignations by remote employees dropped by 50%. And the Chinese company involved in the study found that they gained $2,000 more profit on average per employee.

During the COVID-19 crisis, millions will experience working from home for either the first time or for a more protracted period than they ever have before. It will be real-time experiment in just how remote-friendly their organisation is —or isn’t.

When the crisis is over, those workers will have ideas about how much of their work they will want to do from home. Chances are, they will want more of it.

Is your organisation remote-work friendly? If not, what are the barriers to remote work? Do you think the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis will bring a greater demand for remote work? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo by Goran Ivos on Unsplash

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