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Transforming Workplaces: The Rise of Remote Work Environments

Assessment task part A
Literature review

Remote workplaces have been emerging as a change in the conventional workplace setting while replacing the physical offices by virtual and internet collected work from home facilities. According to Yu, Burke and Raad (2019), the change in the workplace setting has been adopted and implemented by most of the businesses with the purpose of reducing their operational expenses while multiplying their productivity while operating on crisis situations. In several occasions, including the sudden outbreak of the Covid situation around the world, it was observed that businesses sustained through an efficient functioning remote workplace facility while enabling the employees to work from their homes while contributing towards the productivity of the businesses.

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Philip and Williams (2019) reflected in a research that the emergence of the remote workplace facilities and the wider adoption of the same through the businesses has been a part of a revolutionary disruption in the traditional setting of organizational operations. As per a research report, around 69% of the businesses all around the world has taken to the adoption of the remote workplace facilities other than the heavy manufacturing industries. The shift from the physical office floors to convenient home based operations has mostly empowered the businesses in maintaining continuity of their operations in- spite of the government legislations related to social distancing and lockdowns, in the midst of the pandemic situation. Ferraris et al. (2019) stated that the implementation of the remote workplace facilities has been crucial towards the continuity and growth of the businesses in the middle of all important restrictions that limited the scope of trade.

On the other hand, Galbusera, Cardarilli and Giannopoulos (2021) observed in a research that businesses usually encountered significant amount of expenses while operating through the physical offices in the form of rents, taxation and the like which are being curbed by businesses through the implementation of remote workplace facilities. Moreover, Close et al. (2020) defined remote workplace as a way of maintaining a steady and available workforce without losing time on travelling and transportation expenses in and out of the physical offices. Therefore, remote workplaces have become the most suited strategic intervention that are used by the business leaders and the organizational owners with the purpose of reducing their expenses while maintaining continuity of their business operations.

However, in the later years of the remote workplace implementation, in most of the companies, it was observed that certain concerns and issues were encountered by the workforce, which significantly reduced their performance. The concerns due to the transitions in the setting of the workplace based operations drastically limited the performance of the workforce, impacting on the organizational performance as well. According to Tripathi and Bagga (2020) , the increased tensions and anxiety has been affecting the mental stability of the people and their commitment towards work. Anxiety and tensions among the workforce is generally characterized by the job security and the sudden change in the workplace conditions which has drastically limited the scope of their operations while addressing the strategic needs of the business.

Kamal (2020) stated that increased job security related tensions has led most of the employees to search for more secured jobs which has resulted to an increase in the job turnovers. On the other hand, Prasad, Vaidya and Mangipudi (2020)observed that the insufficiency of change from the same mechanical schedule of the employees, while working from home has been affecting their mental health and wellbeing. In an employee survey that was conducted by Felstead and Henseke (2017), it was found that most of the employees within the organization are frustrated with their mechanical work culture and they fear to get terminated due to not achieving their targets. The fears, anxiety, frustration and tensions has created a major impact on the mindset and commitment of the workforce which has significantly limited their scope of operations while addressing to the changing needs of the business.

On the other hand, Beland et al. (2020) observed that the extended working hours while working through remote workplaces has been one of the major contributors towards the stress. The increase in the work stress while working from home is the resultant of the relaxed environment at home which creates a restlessness among the employees and forces the same to stretch their working hours to fulfill their daily targets. Employees follow a strict schedule while working from their physical office environments. However, the unavailability of the strict schedule affects the capability of the employees or the entire workforce to address their daily targets within their shift hours, resulting to stretched shifts.

The stretched shift timings, increased workload and anxiety towards fulfilling their targets or receiving their monthly payments have thereby created a situation of increased stress and tension among the workforce. Wu et al. (2020) stated that work related stress and anxiety affects the capability of the employees to stick on to their commitment along with a reduction in job satisfaction levels. The reduction in the degree of job satisfaction among the employees is more likely to increase the rate of turnovers in business enterprises, affecting their productivity and performance.

Moreover, the insufficiency of inter and intra team communication or collaboration has largely limited the scope of the employees to perform as per the organizational expectations. According to Goldfarb, Gal and Golan (2021), inter and intra team communication and collaboration supports the workforce in resolving wicked concerns while developing their capability on achieving the organizational goals and attributes. In a physical workplace scenario, the efficiency of communication and collaboration between the employees from different teams increases the ability of the workforce in achieving the strategic common goals or objectives.

However, it has been observed that the insufficiency of communication and personalized communication has been creating mental and communicational barriers between the employees in a remote working workplace. The mental and communicational barriers curbed the ability of the employees in developing efficient collaborative relations which significantly limited their scope of performing as per the organizational needs. Choudhury, Foroughi\ and Larson (2021) opined that collaborative functioning of the employees is an important aspect that drives the overall efficiency of the business functions. However, through the implementation of the remote workplace facility, the employees faced significant concerns in developing efficient communication while reducing the mental and psychological barrier, limiting their scope of operating as per the organizational strategic objectives.

The employees are often observed to resist over a change that is being planned and implemented by an organization out of fears of unknown threats or uncertainties. In this connection, Onnis (2019) opined that the resistances over a change by the employees limits their proactive engagement in the change processes. The insufficiency of proactive engagement of the stakeholders is one of the primary concerns that are being encountered by the businesses through the implementation of remote workplace facilities. According to Kaushik and Guleria (2020), some of the employees has been resisting to the change of their traditional workplace to remote workplace out of the fear that they might not be compatible with the technological shifts.

On the other hand, Tanpipat, Lim and Deng (2021) opined that people mostly resisted over the change to the remote workplace because they believed that home is not actually a place to work with family members around and different distractions. It has been witnessed in a research that working from home is troublesome for married people, with several distractions and household responsibilities, while working from office is believed to provide the people with a systematic design of work. In this connection, more than two thirds of the population who has resisted over the decision of implementing a remote workforce is married people in the workplace.

The resistance from the workforce and the minimal engagement of the same in the remote workplace facilities that are offered by the businesses has significantly limited the capability of the businesses in improving performance (Andrasfay and Goldman 2021). The inability of the management to monitor and control over the different areas of operations that are undertaken by the employees while working from their remote workplaces have been identified as a major factor that limited the scope of improving the workforce performance. Butterworth et al. (2018) stated that the identification of the different milestones that are attained by the workforce and thereby motivating the same to develop capabilities in improving the business functions are curbed through the implementation of the remote working facility.

The managers faced significant concerns in measuring the hours of work and the progression that are made by the employees towards achieving the corporate objectives which has limited the scope of planning and development activities towards the future growth of the ventures (Venkatesh et al. 2020). The nature of change in the organizational operations is based on the proactive functioning of the workforce while addressing to the changing business objectives. However, it has been observed that the minimal engagement of the workforce and the lack of commitment among the people might significantly affect the interests of growth and development of businesses through the implementation of the remote workplace facility.

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Therefore, from the above literatures it might be stated that the implementation of the remote working facility in the businesses are beneficial towards reducing the costs of operations. However, it was also observed that the workforce of different businesses has been encountering significant concerns in adopting the change from the traditional physical offices to the remote work from home facilities. The managers and leaders of the businesses must take the initiative of developing strategic interventions towards reducing the challenges that are being encountered by the workforce and facilitate proactive engagement of the workforce while operating through remote working facility.

References

Andrasfay, T. and Goldman, N., 2021. Reductions in 2020 US life expectancy due to COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact on the Black and Latino populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(5).

Beland, L.P., Brodeur, A., Haddad, J. and Mikola, D., 2020. Covid-19, family stress and domestic violence: Remote work, isolation and bargaining power.

Belzunegui-Eraso, A. and Erro-Garcés, A., 2020. Teleworking in the Context of the Covid-19 Crisis. Sustainability, 12(9), p.3662.

Butterworth, P., Kelly, B.J., Handley, T.E., Inder, K.J. and Lewin, T.J., 2018. Does living in remote Australia lessen the impact of hardship on psychological distress?. Epidemiology and psychiatric sciences, 27(5), p.500.

Choudhury, P., Foroughi, C. and Larson, B., 2021. Work‐from‐anywhere: The productivity effects of geographic flexibility. Strategic Management Journal, 42(4), pp.655-683.

Close, K., Grebe, M., Andersen, P., Khurana, V., Franke, M. and Kalthof, R., 2020. The digital path to business resilience. Boston Consulting Group. Retrieved July, 18, p.2020.

Dwivedi, Y.K., Hughes, D.L., Coombs, C., Constantiou, I., Duan, Y., Edwards, J.S., Gupta, B., Lal, B., Misra, S., Prashant, P. and Raman, R., 2020. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on information management research and practice: Transforming education, work and life. International Journal of Information Management, 55, p.102211.

Felstead, A. and Henseke, G., 2017. Assessing the growth of remote working and its consequences for effort, well‐being and work‐life balance. New Technology, Work and Employment, 32(3), pp.195-212.

Ferraris, A., Mazzoleni, A., Devalle, A. and Couturier, J., 2019. Big data analytics capabilities and knowledge management: impact on firm performance. Management Decision.

Galbusera, L., Cardarilli, M. and Giannopoulos, G., 2021. The ERNCIP Survey on COVID-19: Emergency & Business Continuity for fostering resilience in critical infrastructures. Safety Science, p.105161.

Goldfarb, Y., Gal, E. and Golan, O., 2021. Implications of Employment Changes Caused by COVID-19 on Mental Health and Work-Related Psychological Need Satisfaction of Autistic Employees: A Mixed-Methods Longitudinal Study. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, pp.1-14.

Kamal, M.M., 2020. The triple-edged sword of COVID-19: understanding the use of digital technologies and the impact of productive, disruptive, and destructive nature of the pandemic. Information Systems Management, 37(4), pp.310-317.

Kaushik, M. and Guleria, N., 2020. The impact of pandemic COVID-19 in workplace. European Journal of Business and Management, 12(15), pp.1-10.

Malecki, F., 2020. Overcoming the security risks of remote working. Computer Fraud & Security, 2020(7), pp.10-12.

Onnis, L.A., 2019. Human resource management policy choices, management practices and health workforce sustainability: Remote Australian perspectives. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 57(1), pp.3-23.

Philip, L. and Williams, F., 2019. Remote rural home based businesses and digital inequalities: Understanding needs and expectations in a digitally underserved community. Journal of Rural Studies, 68, pp.306-318.

Pinzaru, F., Zbuchea, A. and Anghel, L., 2020. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Business. A preliminary overview. Strategica. Preparing for Tomorrow, Today, pp.721-730.

Prasad, K.D.V., Vaidya, R.W. and Mangipudi, M.R., 2020. Effect of Occupational Stress and Remote Working on Psychological Wellbeing of Employees: An Empirical Study during Covid-19 Pandemic with Reference to Information Technology Industry around Hyderabad. Indian J. Commer. Manag. Stud, 2, pp.1-13.

Tanpipat, W., Lim, H.W. and Deng, X., 2021. Implementing Remote Working Policy in Corporate Offices in Thailand: Strategic Facility Management Perspective. Sustainability, 13(3), p.1284.

Tripathi, A.N.U.J. and Bagga, T.E.E.N.A., 2020. Leveraging work from home for business continuity during COVID-19 pandemic-with reference to Bi solution adoption. Indian Journal of Economics and Business, 19(1), pp.19-34.

Venkatesh, N., Paldus, B., Lee, M.H., MacIsaac, R.J., Jenkins, A.J. and O’Neal, D.N., 2020. COVID-19, type 1 diabetes clinical practice, research, and remote medical care: a view from the land down-under. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 14(4), pp.803-804.

Wu, Y., Wang, J., Luo, C., Hu, S., Lin, X., Anderson, A.E., Bruera, E., Yang, X., Wei, S. and Qian, Y., 2020. A comparison of burnout frequency among oncology physicians and nurses working on the frontline and usual wards during the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, China. Journal of pain and symptom management, 60(1), pp.e60-e65.

Yu, R., Burke, M. and Raad, N., 2019. Exploring impact of future flexible working model evolution on urban environment, economy and planning. Journal of Urban Management, 8(3), pp.447-457.


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