Organisations the world over are racing to adapt their operations to accommodate the remote working of staff. In most cases, this involves investing in large numbers of laptops and other electronic devices. This is in addition to measures necessary to protect office-based employees’ health through educational communications, extra sanitizing and ventilation measures, and cover for employees in quarantine or on leave to care for children home fromschool Although in principle many types of jobs are capable of being done remotely, undertaking the measures required to enable them introduce high and unexpected costs, with the risk of ultimately crippling even established organisations.
Remote businesses, on the other hand, are seeing a surge in business as their competition gets bogged down in adapting to the changes. “We’ve seen an increase in workflows over the past few weeks, and for us it’s business as usual at this time”, says Yvonne Wakefield, CEO of Caveat Legal, South Africa’s first online legal consultancy. “With a view to stripping out the unnecessary costs usually associated with legal practice, we set up Caveat to operate remotely almost 10 years ago. Our systems were built to optimally support the remote working of our legal professionals wherever they choose to be.”
In the long term, this could mark a more permanent shift towards remote work, especially within the professional services industry. With the technologies available today, remote work can be done so efficiently that the in-office alternative may no longer be justified.