The COVID-19 crisis is forcing many companies to reconsider long-term strategies for flexible working. While remote working is currently essential, doing it well requires organizations to formalize a structure for it that mitigates its major challenges, such as outdated technology, lack of face-to-face interaction, and employee trust issues, as well as responses specific to COVID-19.

Updated research from Forrester discusses the rise of remote working as companies respond to the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to describing barriers standing in the way of a successful remote work program (i.e. overreliance on legacy technology), this research emphasizes that organizations must address four imperatives to implement a successful flexible work environment:

  • Create a structure for determining remote work suitability
  • Cultivate cultural values that support flexible working
  • Support employees with the right technology to enable remote working
  • Balance compliance requirements with employee experience (EX)

Even months into the pandemic, it’s clear that going all-remote all the time isn’t possible, nor desirable for some, according to Forrester. But while not all workers prefer working remotely, it would be difficult to find a single employee who doesn’t value flexibility. To preserve employee experience and business continuity, technology and business leaders must create structured, flexible work styles that help build remote work muscle memory. These work styles will consist of fully remote, fully office-based, hybrids, flexible hours, and perhaps even a four-day work week, Forrester adds.

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