Dropbox, the San Francisco-based cloud storage company, has announced that it will allow all its employees to work from home permanently. There have been past predictions and speculations that employees would start remote work in the coming years, but Dropbox is one of the firsts to actually bring it to play.
The COVID-19 outbreak had caught every business and industry off-guard. Leaders and founders have had to come up with new ways to change their strategies and plans to continue their work without affecting their companies in some major way.
Dropbox initially ordered employees to work from, following the outbreak of COVID-19. Dropbox plans to change all its existing offices to Dropbox Studios, where employees can choose to go and work, in cases of utmost emergencies. There are existing offices in San Francisco, Seattle, Dublin, and Austin, but they plan to open more flexible Studios in other areas, possibly on lease. Dropbox will allow employees the freedom to chose their work hours, to allow them to work in different time zones together.
In recent months, the landscape has changed a lot, with COVID-19 affecting various markets with different intensities. Amidst such uncertain times, the ideas of opening and reinvention remain unchanged, but companies have to work from a different angle, with different means and methods.
People and employees work on things they never imagined they would be doing. For example, many apparel companies like Brooks Brothers and New Balance are producing surgical masks and gowns. Similarly, automobile companies like Tesla, Ford, and General Motors have had to temporarily shut down a few factories due to decreasing demands. They have started producing ventilators and hospital hardware equipment using car parts.
Employers and companies have found that work efficiency increases when employers set up their workplace in the comfort of their homes. Organizations have taken various methods to fight, during these uncertain times, but their main aim remains the same.
The Bank of America, for example, has converted over 3000 employees from across the bank into positions where they have to face calls from customers and small businesses. This can match the right talent with work and solve the ever-growing challenges of businesses in real-time. Allianz Global Investors and Cisco, have already set up internal project marketplaces that break down work into tasks and projects that can be matched with people from anywhere in the organization with relevant skills and availability. Such marketplaces enable organizations to quickly backfill a sick employee, add extra team members to mission-critical projects, and cope with sudden hiring freezes.
In some industries, automation can increase reliability and productivity at such times. Especially with the social distancing norms, the use of automation software to allow workers to operate, monitor, and control systems remotely, reduces the risk of human exposure to the virus and enables utilities to run smoothly. The use of automation in call centers has helped speed up response time, and handle greater traffic at the same time.
Although the pandemic is difficult, it can open our eyes to unprecedented creativity. Reimagining jobs around the constraints of today’s challenging business environment may accelerate the future of work and open up new and innovative ways of getting work done. This can help us build greater resilience and efficiency in our organizations, and help people live healthier, more sustainable lives.