With the growing appetite for remote work among employees, companies are rethinking & retooling their pre-pandemic work structures

27 Aug 2021 10:30 am by Mark Dunn

Remote Work

With an ever-growing number of employees wishing to work remotely at least partially, employers around the world face a new labour reality. This new trend, accelerated by the pandemic, can have a substantial impact on a company’s business and work environment. Yet, with the right cloud-based tools , this impact can yield a positive outcome for both the company and the workforce.

Diverging expectations

Recent estimates show that almost half of the working population in the EU have been fully or partially working remotely since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Across the Atlantic, the numbers paint a similar picture, with more than 50% of US respondents stating that they would continue to work from home even if the overall situation gradually improves. While employers are already starting to re-evaluate current remote working models and often opting for a grand return to pre-pandemic office structures, their employees have diverging expectations.

Everybody seems to understand that the global work environment will become hybrid. Yet, the details are still up for negotiation. A recent McKinsey survey has found that more than three-quarters of C-suite executives expect their typical ‘core’ employee to be back in the office three or more days a week. By contrast, almost three-quarters of the 5,000 employees McKinsey surveyed globally would prefer to work from home two or more days a week.

How should companies respond?

Company executives would be well advised to listen and engage with their workforce in order to better understand where they are today and how they see themselves and the company in the future. The gradual transition to sustainable hybrid working models requires additional efforts from everybody involved since it raises various questions at the core of a company’s business:

  • What kind of work is better done in person instead of virtually?
  • How can a company balance the experience and influence between those who work remotely and those who work on-site?
  • How can they make sure that both groups of employees are equally valued and rewarded?

Unfortunately, none of these questions comes with a one-size-fits-all solution today. Companies and their executives will have to continue and try, test, learn and adapt through an ongoing process. They have to offer clear leadership and a transparent way forward which encompasses and brings together both the executives’ vision and the employees’ expectations. Two key insights can support leaders during this transformation:

  • A sustainable transformation cannot be a short-term effort. Rather, it has to be seen within the wider context of a company’s business and overarching strategy.
  • Trust in the transformative power of experimenting and learning, even if the outcome is not what was wished for.

Build partnerships with your workforce

Whether we talk about the ongoing transformation of global working models or the overall business plan of a company, it is essential for employees to be involved in decision-making processes. Executives that emphasize their willingness to partner up with employees in evaluating and designing the short-term and long-term future of a company will undoubtingly profit. Companies that refuse to engage with their employees, on the other side, will likely suffer from a brain drain, as workers around the world are leaving their jobs at much higher rates than normal.

Cloud-based software-as-a-service & data-as-a-service solutions: pointing a way forward?

Cloud-based solutions allow companies to continue – or even improve – their core functions, even if their employees are working remotely. For example, data-as-a-service and software-as-a-service solutions have been shown to make compliance processes more efficient and effective, which improves how third-party risks are managed. A SaaS solution like Nexis Diligence facilitates a work-from-anywhere model, allowing critical due diligence investigations to continue whether it’s being conducted on site or remotely. What’s more, Nexis Diligence  is designed for our global users, with multiple language interfaces and content aggregated from publishers around the world—including native language content—for real agility. All it needs is an internet connection.

The bottom line

Given the current reality, remote working is here to stay. The main question is how companies can balance the demand for hybrid work solutions and the diverging expectations by executives for employees to return to almost pre-pandemic structures. While business leaders around the world are still struggling to find a sustainable and long-term consensus for this issue, companies should bridge the short-term divide and engage with cloud-based solutions and tools  that support a company’s workforce wherever they are.

The way forward is simple: Whatever degree or system of hybrid work a company embraces, it is necessary to make sure that each employee has access to all the necessary information and data wherever they are and whenever they need it. Otherwise, remote working would quickly head south, since it would mean that individuals not working on-site would be excluded from vital data as well as information processes that have the ability to substantially impede crucial business decisions.

Find out how our cloud-based Nexis® Data as a Service solutions can support your hybrid working structure.