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Infectious Diseases

Updated 09 September 2020

Remote working is a trend likely to remain after pandemic – but what are the implications?

Find yourself working from home? Researchers identified several positive effects of remote work, but companies would need to make significant changes.

  • How do you feel about working from home?
  • Researchers have compiled several existing studies addressing the implications of remote working
  • While there are significant positive impacts, some factors would need to be considered

Whether you love or hate working from home, many of us have settled into our home offices for the time being, as Covid-19 profoundly changed the nature of work and the workplace.

According to a new article, published by an international panel of management experts in the journal American Psychologist, we are already veering towards a new trend of remote working, and that this trend will probably remain a reality. 

They identified several benefits of remote working.

Remote working – good or bad?

For many, working from home instead of an office could significantly strengthen their relationships with co-workers, as remote working changes the way we view the office space.

According to Michael Wilmot, an assistant professor in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, the pandemic led to the demise of some markets and businesses and the creation of others.

He was one of the researchers who contributed to the newly published article. This research cites several previous studies about the pandemic and the effects of remote working.

The study found that roughly half of the 299 companies included in their survey had 80% of their employees working from home, with substantial long-term plans for remote work after the pandemic.

How would the workplace change if remote working became more prevalent?

Although remote working could have several possible implications, such as better working relationships, Wilmot and the researchers also looked at the role of personality at work, especially how it would affect introverts vs. extroverts.

While remote working could be a good thing, especially by cutting out commuting and congested roads, the authors identified some issues that need to be addressed before remote working becomes a long-term solution. These include:

  • Loneliness and a loss of social connectedness, which can negatively affect performance and commitment to work-related goals for some
  • Increased risk among some employees for substance abuse and addiction
  • A review on how companies should augment employee assistance programmes in terms of mental health
  • A need for new performance management and appraisal systems
  • A new way of surveillance because of a perceived lack of control

"Considering all these issues and more, I think it's important to examine how workers will adapt," Wilmot stated in the press release. "I'd like to think some of the insights we provide will make positive contributions in the face of these changes."

READ | How to get better sleep while working from home 

READ | Avoid aches and pains by setting up your workstation properly at home 

READ | 5 health benefits of working flexi-hours 

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