With 2020 challenging our ability to think outside the box, you could be excused for thinking that remote working is a new phenomenon, brought about by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. It’s not really. Remote working has been the go-to method of working for some sections of the workforce for many years, especially in areas where freelance working is widespread, and technology can provide the links necessary to do business.
Traditionally, remote working is seen as the preserve of journalists, writers, graphic designers and similar roles, but as 2020 is proving, it’s also a viable way of connecting and working for any number of different sectors. The need to lock down and respect social distancing was only a way of unlocking the potential for remote working that was always there. Strong and fast broadband and mobile networks have facilitated the move from office-based working to home working for millions of people around the world, with all sorts of sectors like call centre support, financial institutions and sales departments realising that with a little thought and flexibility, the team they used to see every day could become a virtual remote team, meeting face-to-face in apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, instead of in the workplace.
Granted, there are many professions where remote working can’t be achieved. It’s hard to assemble a new car in your kitchen, or to rewire someone’s house from the desk under the stairs, but for many companies the forced move to remote working has and will result in a redefinition of their needs and the capabilities of their team members to operate remotely and still provide the service level and productivity required.
As advancements like 5G come online, remote working becomes even more of a viable proposition, offering staggering data transfer speeds, secure data connections and interfaces that do away with the need to be in the office to move that huge file, or to process that body of data.
Remote working was always a thing. It just took a global emergency for us to see it and to see the advantages it brings.