Sightings of eBikes, electric scooters and electric skateboards are on the rise in Malta. Many people believe that these mobility options do not provide a solution for their day-to-day lives due to typical inability to use them to get to work which may be further away, which they are likely correct about. However, COVID-19 imposed quarantine periods and workplace closures should have demonstrated for many who work in desk-based jobs, that future work need not revolve around a physical office.
Could and should companies shift towards more remote work and less office work? A number of companies around the globe have already expressed their intention to do so, and more will likely follow. Advantages for companies include lowering overheads and broadening recruitment to beyond local areas (and even countries).
Companies may be concerned that employees cannot be trusted to work from home, and in some sectors this may be well founded. This concern though, raises issues that require further thought. Why employ staff that cannot be trusted? Can staff not avoid doing work at the office as well? A company’s main aim is to make profit; which should be in a legal, moral and ethical manner; therefore should a company be more concerned with the number of hours an employee is working within a week, or how productive an employee is within a week? Surely, the latter. Yet, even for those who may still have doubts, more and more team and productivity software is being developed and used by the industry for teams that work together across the globe. If this works for them, why not your company? And it is not just about productivity, but it should also be about employee job satisfaction, which also does as well lead to increased productivity. Many employees feel that a flexible remote working option would be ideal for them. In a market where the demand for skilled individuals is more than the supply, employers will need to accommodate such requests for remote work (and not because this may likely lead to more profitability) but because staff will find other jobs that accommodate remote working.
Now, what about you? You drive to work every weekday. It takes you 30 minutes to and from work. That’s 1 hour a day. 1 hour a day that you could have spent catching up on chores – the chores that you typically have no time to do when you get home or are too tired to do so. Chores like washing clothes only take a few minutes of actual work, but require you to be on stand-by for the washing machine to finish in order to hang clothes – something which you often do not have the time for when you get back from work.
A few minutes break from work could allow you to get this done, so that you can have more time on the weekend to relax, or even to catch up on work that you wanted to finish before the week. You might ask yourself, why are you not doing this already? Perhaps your situation at home does not allow you to concentrate, and you would prefer working from somewhere quiet. In various cities around the world, and in various areas in Malta, you could just hop on an electric scooter and in a few minutes, start working in a co-working space or a quiet cafe – and perhaps the company, since having lowered their operating costs, would pay for it.
Around the globe over the past decade we’ve heard ever increasing messages encouraging greener lifestyles, to focus on quality of life rather than standard of living – and through a technology enabled remote office, we can get closer to these goals.