The COVID-19 outbreak is the world’s largest work-from-home experiment. It hasn’t been easy, but there are surprising benefits emerging from unprecedented changes in our collective behaviour. These challenges and benefits are playing out for individuals, businesses and the wider environment.
So, how do we ensure that the unintentional benefits of the pandemic are built into our recovery?
At Edge, we’ve developed a quick and evidence-based process to help businesses re-design the future of work. Through the Roadmap to Recovery, we’ve analysed company metrics and surveyed staff from various organisations, discovering that wellbeing, productivity and carbon emissions could benefit from a new, co-created approach to work.
Lower costs, fewer carbon emissions and equal participation
Our research has found that an online-first approach to meetings could allow some organisations to save 40% of their costs, including office supplies, travel and rent, and reduce their carbon emissions by 50%. This assumes employees work from home an average of 10 days per month, encouraging such an approach. With an online-first approach to meetings, there are also surprising benefits for dynamics between teams with some employees finally feeling that all staff can participate equally.
Beyond this, some businesses have perfected the ‘Online Meeting’, by turning a meeting on its head to get the most out of online collaboration and avoid ‘Zoom Fatigue’ such as by turning off video when not essential, sticking strictly to agenda times and incorporating breaks.
The COVID-19 period has caused anxiety and stress to increase, with concerns about job security and the safety of loved ones impacting wellbeing the most. However, when we specifically examined the wellbeing impacts of working from home, most people have had a positive experience.
Overwhelmingly, our research has found that people’s wellbeing has been enhanced by increased family time and, relatedly, little to no commuting. The average employee spends more than 27 hours commuting per month. That’s more than an entire day travelling to and from work that could be spent with family, on a hobby, learning a new skill, the list goes on…
But we’ve found that the value of face-to-face interaction has not disappeared. Businesses have an opportunity as part of their Roadmap to Recovery to find the right balance between online and in-person interaction to support employee wellbeing.
Rethinking the office
Of employees surveyed so far, more that 50% now want to work from home at least half the time but our research tells us that the era of commercial space doesn’t need to be over. An organisation’s Roadmap to Recovery should include holistic and imaginative ways of maximising the positive benefits from these past few months. If a work from home policy frees up office space, can we use this space to generate more revenue? What about the potential for social impact of these spaces? By collecting data, developing insights and co-creating new policies, we have seen businesses explore ideas that might not previously have seemed possible, helping them reach their other impact goals.
But what next?
So the business case is there for organisations to permanently move to a more flexible workplace. But how do we get there? At Edge, we’ve helped organisations develop interim pilot policies that can be implemented iteratively as a transition plan. HR and training, travel policies and various models of working from home are tested, along with wellbeing support. Together, these provide a resilient, flexible workplace. Even better, these policies can feed into your broader sustainability strategy, tying into your organisation’s emissions, diversity, and equality goals.
Roadmap to Recovery
At Edge, we are helping organisations embrace a data-led recovery. We know that restrictions are changing all the time, and organisations need transformative insights fast. We will develop your Roadmap to Recovery within 3 weeks for $5-$7k so that you and your staff can leverage this opportunity as soon as possible.
Future Super co-founder, Kirstin Hunter, spoke with BCorp and Edge about the Roadmap to Recovery and embedding the unexpected benefits of this period into the future of work. You can watch the full interview here.
If you’re interested in a Roadmap to Recovery for your organisation, please contact: email@example.com
“Going through the Roadmap to Recovery process with Edge helped us build the business case for working from home. It allowed us to consider the concerns of our staff so that we can maximise the benefits of working from home without compromising on what is important to our team. Importantly, it helped to shine the light on a path forward from here.” – Leigh, COO, Future Super