Spotlight: Resorting to remote work

The pandemic forced most businesses to rethink how they approach their everyday operations overnight

With the pandemic situation unrelenting despite the worldwide vaccination drive, the remote work or the work-from-home concept will be revisited by some businesses.
The pandemic forced most businesses to rethink how they approach their everyday operations overnight. As people were required to keep their social distance, remote working became key to business continuity.
A recent report from video conferencing company Zoom said that remote working saved millions of jobs around the world, which would have faced closure otherwise due to lockdowns.
The success of the applications such as the Zoom and Google Meet helped employers to positively consider remote working models for the future.
Speaking to the Observer, Tariq al Barwani, founder of KnowledgeOman and a leading technologist said the remote working concept has gained acceptance in the past year and will be widely applied in some sectors.
“Despite being a technologist, I will prefer a conventional work environment that allows face-to-face interactions with colleagues. It depends on the nature of business, but remote work is certainly not practical in all sectors.”
He added, “It is a strict no-no in the education sector as children can’t focus without distractions. School education is not just about teaching from textbooks, it is also about developing their personality and socialising skills, which cannot be done online.”

key businesses
According to Barwani, going into the future a hybrid work environment will be ideal because remote working can also adversely affect some key businesses.
According to market analysts, remote working can be detrimental to the survival of sectors such as real estate, business travel and conferences. “Even the housekeeping and servicing industry, including taxi operators, that provides livelihood to hundreds of low-income families will be affected.”
In markets where commuting hours are unpredictable, employees and employers will prefer blended working, which is a mix of conventional and remote offices.
For companies that do not want to accept a fully remote work model, creating a long-term and successful hybrid system will be a challenge.
“We do not have adequate regulations for remote work, which means employees spending more time in front of their laptops than they might do at a workplace. There is also this mental issue of not able to share work-related issues adequately with their employees and colleagues’’, said Jose A, with years of HR experience in the GCC, including Oman.
He added, “Employees should be compensated for the use of internet and facilities at home.”
Several recent studies have pointed out that nearly half of employees prefer a permanent hybrid-model to a fully remote working system.
In the coming years, it will be all about some companies will take advantage of both remote and conventional work models. It will be also about how governments will tune their labour policies to meet the demands of this system.

Vinod Nair