Verizon Business report: Remote work is here to stay in some form

According to a report by Verizon Business, remote work is here to stay, but employers need to pick and choose which tasks can be done remotely. While Covid-19 is far from over in the U.S., companies have to plan how, and where, their a will do their jobs going forward.

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing millions of employees to work remotely, employers had to spin up new digital workplaces on the fly. In mid-March, Verizon sent 90% of its workforce home over the course of two weeks due to shelter in place policies.

“The global pandemic accelerated this move to a digital working environment and business leaders need to use the lessons of the present to future-ready their organizations,” said Verizon Business' Sampath Sowmyanarayan, president of global enterprise, in a statement. “Seeing how their network, security and employee collaboration systems have operated during the pandemic should provide the blueprint for the road ahead. By acting now, they can capture the needs of employees and customers and create alignment across the organization as they pivot toward the new normal.”

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According to the "Recreating work as a blend of virtual and physical experiences" report, 86% of the companies surveyed see the digital work environment co-existing with the physical workspace of the future. A large number of the respondents (78%),expect an increase in remote work, but Verizon said that didn't mean all of them will work from home in the future.

Organizations could opt for a hybrid model that allows employees to work from home for most of the week, but come into the office for whiteboard meetings on other days. Going forward, organizations need to determine which types of work require an in-office presence versus the ones that are more suited for virtual work. 

As far as the quality of the remote work goes, 61% of the survey respondents said the quality of remote work was on par with the work conducted in the physical workplace.  

Businesses that have a digital work strategy in place are more likely to see a better return on their investments than those that don't. According to the report, 52% of the business leaders with digital workplace strategy in place saw increased productivity versus 40% of those that didn't.

The report also said that organizations needed to go beyond work-from-home (WFH) policies by defining the goals and needs of their digital work strategies. WFH also includes more than basic connectivity and VPNs. According to the report, organizations' home-based workers benefitted from the use of collaboration tools such as video conferencing (98%), file sharing (97%) and instant messaging or chat (95%.)

The report, which was carried out in conjunction with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, was based on feedback from 1,080 global business leaders, and was conducted in May.