It is wrong to assume that remote work should be incorporated into company strategy only in crises, says an entrepreneur, who believes that a work-from-home policy should become an integral part of businesses regardless of the situation.
In comments to Via News, Pedro Oliveira, co-founder of Landing.jobs, said the fact that the coronavirus outbreak triggered a frantic trial run for remote work at a grand scale may give some people the impression that remote work is just an emergency option.
“Some people will think that remote work or working from home is only used for extreme situations, when it’s not,” he said, adding that the complicated nature of the current situation could give rise to misconceptions about remote working.
“People’s stress levels are very high now. Remote work or working from home wasn’t supposed to be like this. You should be able to go to the gym or go outside and grab a coffee or something. You cannot do that in this current situation.”
The outbreak of COVID-19—a coronavirus-caused illness that originated in the Wuhan region of China late last year—is considered one of the most significant public health crises in decades.
Confirmed global infections have surpassed 245,000 in 163 countries and regions and the death toll has reached 10,031 as of March 20, according to the data released by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
China, Italy, Iran, Spain, and Germany currently top the list of the hardest-hit countries at the moment.
A Long-Overdue Change
The co-founder of Landing.jobs—a candidate-driven tech talent marketplace—says the future of work will be defined by concepts such as remote working and flexibility and companies should embrace them as a greater part of their day-to-day operations.
He maintains that the coronavirus epidemic, which has severely disrupted businesses, could make company decision-makers rethink their policies and priorities.
“I think that COVID-19 forced companies to come up with a business continuity plan,” Pedro said.
According to Investopedia, Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is “the process involved in creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company.”
It says a business continuity plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and can function quickly in the event of a disaster.
“I think that COVID-19 forced companies to come up with a business continuity plan.”Pedro Oliveira, co-founder of Landing.jobs
Pedro noted that there are two lines of thought as to what will happen after this chapter in history comes to a close and life and business is back to normal.
“Some say people will associate working remotely or from home with being in quarantine and will want to go back to the office and that’s a bad thing for remote work.”
However, he added, there is another group who says this was the “kick we needed to make sure that remote work is a valid option and can be a part of company strategy, not only for complicated situations like COVID-19.”
“I’m more on the positive side of things. I think this was good. For instance, my whole team went fully remote this week on Monday. Last week we already had more than half of the team working from home, and, before this, we had like 20 to 30 percent of the people working remotely at one period of time,” Pedro said.
The co-founder of Landing.jobs believes that the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions in place will push his company to introduce the necessary changes and become even more remote-friendly than it previously was.
A Learning Opportunity
The Lisbon-based entrepreneur said the ongoing experiment with what has long been a growing phenomenon offers a great learning opportunity for people at all levels of an organization, from founders and CEOs to the management team and individual contributors.
“I’ve worked remotely from home, but part of our team hasn’t. So we’re doing it now. It’s not been easy, but, in terms of business continuity, we are still in business.”
Pedro’s company had seen the future coming and started branching into different lines of business a while ago. It began a rebranding process and launched a new product called Landing.work, which is a sister product of Landing.jobs.
Landing.jobs is focused on permanent workers, while Landing.work is dedicated to independent professionals who work remotely.
Pedro says Landing.jobs has decided to share its expertise and experience with those who want to work remotely or plan to make the switch to remote working for their staff.
“We are offering support through content and consultation to our clients and talents to help them go through this difficult time.”
On Thursday, Pedro and Mindaugas Petrutis from InVision—a digital product design platform—co-hosted an online discussion where they shared their views about different aspects of remote work.
“Let’s hope that companies will be more remote-aware, remote-friendly, and remote-focused after COVID-19 is gone. Let’s hope that companies will start incorporating remote work as part of their day-to-day activities, not only to deal with situations like this but because it’s a macro trend and they should follow it,” said the co-founder of Landing.jobs.