Is remote work the new normal and can you do it? We are in unprecedented times right now with hundreds of thousands of employees now working from home. The pandemic has accelerated what some in corporate/private sector have been predicting for years. Many companies have used various excuses over the years stop this from happening.
Think about the expensive office spaces companies own or rent. What happens when they no longer need all that space? I’m sure the commercial real estate market is going to suffer significantly. What about the travel accounts, the fine dining, and all the other employee perks that come with in-person work and travel? What about the social aspect of very little face to face or none at all?
There seems to be more questions than answers at this point but one thing is for certain, people are far more productive than anticipated. Now that employees have been forced to work from home many employers are struggling with a real reason to bring them back. You can find a ton of research that shows lower attrition rate, less time off work, lower stress levels, and an increase in productivity. There are even environmental benefits due to decreased travel and tax breaks for having a home office.
The ugly side of this research also shows knowledge based and executive employees seem to be moving ahead and making the same or more money in the new economy while skilled employees are lagging behind. As manufacturing jobs continue to come back to the United States and the pandemic slows, this gap will close. As technology continues to dominate all aspects of our lives, employees who can not navigate smart phones, computers, and electronics will be left behind no matter their job.
Will the Military adapt?
Think about all the money we waste in government on facilities and travel. What if our service men and women could work from home? I know what many will say:
What about good order and discipline?
What about team work?
How can they maintain their professionalism and military bearing?
All great questions but if you look around at the current environment many service members are working from home and having less problems than when they were at their work space. This only happens with strong work from the Senior Enlisted community.
I’m not talking about the military taking teams who are training for missions or on ships and allowing them to work from home. The military has a ton of jobs that do not require someone to put on a uniform and report to work. I’ve even seen a few articles about the Pentagon looking to make many of the employees work from home. Before the pandemic they argued that the security risks could not be overcome. Turns out, not only did they figure out the security issues but it may be more of a threat for all of our top leadership to be in the same place for obvious reasons.
There are some major areas we need to study. I have talked to several people and they state some of the biggest worries are suicide rates, day drinking, and more domestic issues.
These are not military issues alone. Any person who works from home must have self-discipline, a stable environment, and good mental health. We have many civilian employees who work with our military to support the mission and we need to consider all of our team members when making the decision to shift to more at home work.
In my opinion there is no turning back the clock. Working from home is here to stay so we need to embrace it and learn from our mistakes as we move forward. Myself and my wife work from home and it has been amazing. She is watching me type...........somebody help me.............Ha.
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