With the ongoing pandemic and the mandated social distancing, businesses are changing their work patterns, where employees are forced to work from home. However, Gartner’s recent survey has revealed that employees might find themselves permanently working from home. According to the study, 74% of companies believe that their workforce can forever work from home in the post-COVID world.
In fact, in a recent blog post, Twitter’s vice president of people, Jennifer Christie has allowed its employees to work from home “forever.” According to the post, “we were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow folks to work from home given our emphasis on decentralisation and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere.” Also, social media giant Facebook, search giant Google and software giant Microsoft have embraced remote working for its employees even after the pandemic stops. Even companies like Amazon aren’t in urgency to bring back their employees to the workplace.
Alongside, many startups are struggling to receive funding for business continuity and are also considering work from home permanently, as a cost-cutting measure. This is also because the majority of them come with a shorter runway, and in order to save expenses, they are prolonging their work from home policies for their employees.
However, permanent work from home comes with its own set of benefits and challenges for the analytics industry. In fact, in a recent survey done by Analytics India Magazine, it has revealed the impact of working from home on the analytics professionals. The report has noted that the majority of them — 52.2% are having little to no effect on their work and have the necessary access to the required tools, and platforms for executing their daily work. Alongside, the report also noted that a certain amount of analytics professionals also see higher productivity while remote working.
So, can it be argued that permanent working from home can be a viable option that analytics companies can opt-in the post-COVID world?
Feasibility of permanent remote working for analytics companies
Although Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, has recently spoken about the damaging impact of permanently working from home, many analytics companies realised that there isn’t any going back to the old normal and looking to provide necessary technology and resources for making remote working easier for employees.
In fact, in recent news, a digital intelligence and analytics company — EXL Service, which has approximately 70% of its employees working from India has decided to allow the majority of its staff to work from home on a long term basis. According to the CEO of EXL, Rohit Kapoor, “Our technology, infrastructure and operations teams rapidly enabled work from home solutions throughout our global delivery network. This was a massive shift from our standard operating model. Today, the vast majority of our employees around the world are working on the safety of their homes. This is no small achievement.”
Alongside, in other news, another analytics company, SG Analytics have created strict work from home policies for their employees, which in turn has helped the company to increase its productivity. The company has also aided its employees with self-development and training programs for keeping their engagement levels up.
Although cost-cutting has been a big reason for analytics companies to move their workplace to remote working, it has also benefited employees with their convenience issues as well as increased their productivity. In fact, fintech company — PolicyBazaar has stated to the media that the company has seen a positive outcome of improved employees and sales productivity while remote working.
As the shift continues towards working from home, analytics companies are relying on technology for collaboration, where platforms like MS Teams, Zoom as well as Slack have gained traction. The shift has also witnessed an enormous rise in cloud adoption where businesses are migrating their workflows on cloud applications for providing better access to their employees. Research stated that 47.8% of analytics professionals get their access to tools and platforms via the cloud. The transition to remote working has also forced analytics companies to deploy employee management software to monitor their workflow and productivity.
Alongside, working from home proved to be beneficial for analytics professionals where they don’t have to go through the hassle of commuting to the office or being impacted by the deadly virus. Reduced commute to the office would also encourage more women to join in the workplace, especially the ones who have to take care of their families. Also, employees working with data need strong attention, focus and long hours of work, and working from home can help them achieve that without any distractions. This allows people working with critical workflows to have a more controlled environment for better work outcome.
Remote working for analytics companies also opens up a vast pool of talent for them, which will not be defined by geographical boundaries. It will help analytics leaders to attract professionals from various parts of the country as well as the world for the job and would be able to work in different time zones. In fact, according to a study, it has been highlighted that working from home would help companies to retain more employees amid this crisis, as well as can help them get more done from their employees.
Having said that, making remote working permanent for organisations can bring in security concerns, and for this analytics companies need to address cyberthreat challenges to ensure business continuity. This can be done by making the employees aware of emergency preparedness of cyberthreat and by providing advance security capabilities for them. Consequently, a holistic security framework would include access to VPNs and multi-factor authentication while enabling data access. This would lead to the massive adoption of self-service analytics among companies, which would allow employees to explore data while maintaining the cybersecurity of the information.
Well, although many critics must be scrutinising the concept of remote working for analytics companies, the trend is here and is going to gain momentum amid the post-COVID world. And therefore, analytics companies must get a hold of their business and make necessary changes for a smooth transition to making work from home permanent.
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Sejuti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine (AIM). Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org