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Is Remote Work Here to Stay?

May 6, 2021 by admin
Policy/Legislative

This article does not necessarily reflect the attitudes or opinions of APAUT or the APAUT Executive Committee.

Have you been working remotely? perhaps from home?  You are not alone and the secret is out that it may not be just a short-term thing.

Pre-COVID, I think within my office culture working at home was allowed in some temporary situations but the overall feeling was if you were at home, you weren’t really working.  Then, like many of you, when our office had to shut down and everyone was quarantined at home, we quickly figured out that we all needed to learn and adapt to work from home to function.

At first, I wondered how it would work? How would I feel and could I remain productive?  To my surprise and to the surprise of my bosses, with recent innovations in conferencing technology that we have all become very familiar with, we really didn’t skip much of a beat.  We networked, we zoomed, we collaborated on projects and learned to hold virtual public meetings. The whole world flipped and we all knew it.

So true is the old saying that “necessity is the mother of invention.”  We have reinvented the work environment.  As we develop what the post-COVID world looks like many companies are asking themselves, “do we want to return to the old model of business?”

The Washington Post published an article on, September 9, 2020, by Jena McGregor titled Hot new job title in a pandemic: ‘Head of remote work’.  In this article, she details how companies are rethinking their workforce needs by creating new positions to help employees adjust to remote work situations, and employers are also reassessing their needs for office space or creating hybrid offices that allow flexibility for office sharing and part remote work situations.

A few months ago, I found an opportunity to take a condensed four-week certificate course through Southern Utah University, focusing on and learning about Remote Work Tools.  The book that was key to our learning was – Leading From Anywhere by David Burkus.  I recommend this book to anyone seeking to enhance their remote work experience or for employers learning how to facilitate a remote work situation.  In it, he details proven techniques that can be used to professionally operate in today’s remote situations.

In the book, he also provides insight into how to measure and manage performance, create team cohesiveness while separated, and how to lead and manage teams.  He highlights that trust is a key component to remote work, both from the employer and employee.  One of my favorite quotes from the book is “Trust isn’t necessarily given, and it’s not earned. It’s both. Trust is reciprocated.” The book constantly builds on this theme and teaches communication and collaboration skills.  This book is current as it was written in 2021, during this COVID environment and addresses current concerns and possibilities, it reads really well and has very practical solutions to today’s difficulties and unique work situations.

I have come to understand and believe that remote work is here to stay in some form and we need to do all we can to better learn, adjust, and prepare ourselves and our work situations.

Chad Eccles, AICP – Senior Planner at MAG

 

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