Still very limited a few years ago, telework has taken a drastic yet salutary step forward for the large number of organizations that have used it: in many cases, it was the only way to maintain the economic activity without putting employees at risk of health hazards. This forced democratization of telework has proved to be beneficial in this period of health crisis, but it will also be beneficial in the future and in a much broader context than just the economic one.
Democratization of telework: which are the long-term benefits?
Greater organizational agility: Due to the containment, many organizations have started to telework for the first time. Most of them will continue to have processes and tools allowing their employees to work from home on a regular basis. For example, some organizations are considering implementing it one day a week, for greater responsiveness and efficiency in the event of forced events such as transport strikes, bad weather. These situations will then be less penalizing for organizations who will be able to deploy a teleworking system for most of their employees overnight.
Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions: The reduction of greenhouse gases has often been mentioned as one of the few benefits of this containment period. However, as a direct result of the economic crisis due to the containment measures erected in most countries, greenhouse gas emissions will rise again as the economy recovers. The democratization of telework, which reduces employees’ commuting, is one of the solutions to contribute to a sustainable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions without impacting the economy or even requiring major investments.
Economic benefit for organizations: If a large number of employees will regularly telework, the need to rent m² of office space will be limited and thus the fixed costs of organizations will be reduced. It will also promote the flex office trend of no longer having a dedicated office for each employee.
Revitalization of suburban cities: With more teleworkers, suburban cities, some of them so-called “dormitory towns”, will become more active. This will benefit businesses and the local economy.
Improved overall employee satisfaction: Teleworking is preferred by employees, who see it as a way to better reconcile private and professional life and spend less time on transport. This ultimately enhances their job satisfaction and loyalty to their company and therefore limits the turnover.
A new lever to increase productivity: For companies, teleworking allows a gain in productivity: the absenteeism rate of teleworkers is lower, they are less tired due to commuting time, gain in flexibility in their working hours, and are less disturbed than in an open-space environment… Very few companies that have implemented the telework are going backwards, further proof of a win-win calculation between employees and employers.
However, we must remain vigilant
It is impossible to talk about the democratization of telework without mentioning its main point of vigilance: the security of access to the work environment. Teleworkers are the favorite targets for hackers since they are connecting to networks that are not controlled by their organizations and, some of them, are using personal PCs. This has been confirmed by an increase in cyber-attacks during the containment period, when a large part of the active population was teleworking.
As part of this democratization of telework, it is strongly recommended to implement a Zero Trust policy and to use ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access) solutions such as Systancia Gate, which avoids the risks related to VPNs.