We go on speaking about the endless benefits of Remote Work till we reach the inevitable question… if it was just so good, why didn’t we do it earlier?
Well, aside from the obvious fact that technology has caught up recently over the last decade, the key issue is, simply, that we just didn’t dare.
We didn’t want to upset an apple cart of that size and probably wouldn’t have managed it even if we wanted to. That is a figurative kart that could have only bowed to something as big as a pandemic.
Think of a child who gets into a pool only after much trepidation. Having experienced the joys of the pool, the child then refuses to get out. That’s remote work in a nutshell. It’s hard to imagine and even harder to look forward to going back to the old ways.
That probably explains reports of the ‘great waves’ of resignation in western nations where companies are asking people to come back in. This is being reflected here as well. Other companies insisting on a return are losing their people to companies offering remote work as a competitive advantage.
So, is it all so easy? Not quite. Nothing so revolutionary can be.
Companies are often in a quandary. While employees are closer to the benefits of remote work, senior management is closer to the troubles and problems caused by remote work, so much so that there is temptation to disregard the massive cost benefits because of inability to predict and manage the problems.
One explanation is that companies have basically continued to do remotely what they did in the office collectively. While that’s understandable in the hurried rush to somehow deal with COVID, it did continue to feel like a square peg in a round hole.
Further, at the time of the hurried rush, no one bothered about cost effectiveness of what they are doing. After all, most people didn’t realize that this was how it was going to be long term. They struggled to get by, to adapt processes and make do with just enough – after all, who could ask for more in such circumstances? Moreover, everyone understood and accommodated – your customers, the tax authorities and even your creditors and billers.
But no more.
Expectations will swing back to the old ones. And then keep heading north. The impact of the problems with remote work will keep feeling bigger, stronger and ever more difficult to manage.
Jackstien Practices and Consulting International have evolved from the traditional management consulting firm to having developed a unique, rarified and much needed skill set.
Under the leadership of their Managing Partner, Nishant Shah, they have specialized in all things remote work.
Nishant has spent twenty years across multinational banks, most recently as Executive Director in charge of three portfolios of JPMorgan Chase in India, including Operational Risk for India. Regarded as the foremost expert in his field, he has applied his breadth of skills to help businesses evolve into the future. And we don’t use the term ‘breadth’ lightly – multiple facets of remote work from every perspective and aspect have been researched, studied and solved for.
Jackstien Practices advises clients on logistics (think space management to hot-desking), technology (think virtualization to automation), asset reallocations (think space redesign to collaborative workspaces), statutory management (from taxation to labor law), financials (from cost management to restructuring), people (from supervisory changes to employee morale), training (virtual participation to asynchronous communications), process re-engineering (botification to customer service) and legal aspects (data confidentiality to employee codes).
The scope of services was comprehensive, a consolidated offering under one roof so that clients do not run pillar to post trying to cobble together different inefficient and often conflicting solutions. The new world needs new consultants, and as Nishant says, “What helped us survive the pandemic won’t be enough to thrive post-pandemic – it’s a much higher bar. More than simply realigning, it needs reimagining so we don’t waste the opportunity”
The road to the vast benefits of remote work is mined with pitfalls. We reckon that specializations like Jackstien Practices’ will be critical but till then, many of us may need to struggle with the square pegs and round holes.