Remote work has become a widely accepted and common practice in many companies, but the way it was perceived and implemented has changed significantly before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s explore the key differences in how remote companies operated before the pandemic compared to traditional companies that transitioned to remote work during or after the pandemic.
Trust and Video Chat
Before the pandemic, video chat was not a major component of remote work. Conference calls with occasional screen sharing were considered the norm for remote teams to communicate. Trust building and trusting the company were not necessarily associated with video chat.
However, the pandemic changed this perception drastically. With limited physical interactions at the office, social interactions decreased significantly, leading people to seek ways to fulfill the void. Video chat became a crucial tool for remote teams to connect, and it was seen as something that had to be done to build trust among team members. Video chat became a crutch for remote teams to maintain social interactions and build trust, whereas before the pandemic, it was not considered as essential.
It remains to be seen whether video chat will continue to be the norm for remote teams or if audio calls will regain their popularity due to convenience. The pandemic has highlighted the changing dynamics of remote work and the importance of effective communication tools for remote teams.
Respect for Off-Hours
Another significant change brought about by the pandemic is improved respect for off-hours among remote teams. Before the pandemic, remote teams often emailed each other frequently, even during off-hours. There was less consideration for personal time and boundaries.
However, during the pandemic, with more people working remotely, there has been an increased understanding of the need to respect off-hours. The pressure to be “on” all the time, particularly with video calls, has led to a realization that employees need to detach more on weekends and after work hours. To add, the general stress and uncertainty of the world, including factors like inflation and global conflicts, have also contributed to the need for better work-life balance.
Remote work was once the minority, and there was less consideration for off-hours communication. However, the pandemic has brought about a change in mindset, with remote teams becoming more courteous about not emailing or communicating during off-hours.
Costs of Remote Work
Before the pandemic, remote work often provided an opportunity to work from incredible destinations during off-seasons for great deals. Remote workers could enjoy cost-effective stays in vacation areas that were not crowded.
However, the pandemic has changed this scenario. Post-pandemic, remote work has become more widespread, leading to increased demand for remote/vacation areas even during off-seasons. This has resulted in higher costs for accommodations, such as AirBNBs and hotels, in these locations. Previously affordable destinations have become more expensive, and remote workers may face challenges in finding affordable options for remote work locations.
In conclusion, remote work has seen significant changes before and after the pandemic. The perception of video chat has evolved from being optional to becoming a crucial tool for trust-building among remote teams. There is also increased respect for off-hours and better work-life balance in remote teams post-pandemic. However, remote work has also become more expensive in certain locations due to increased demand. The pandemic has reshaped the dynamics of remote work, and it will be interesting to see how these changes continue to evolve in the future. Despite the challenges, remote work remains a valuable option for many employees and companies, providing flexibility and opportunities for collaboration.