Why Remote Work Options Are Crucial in Times of Crisis

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The United States has declared the COVID-19 a national emergency. Many college universities have begun distance instruction. Elementary and high schools have either switched to distance learning or will be.

Businesses are at a crossroads right now. Many have given their employees the option to work from home while others have put procedures in place to keep business going.

Despite a businesses best effort — employees will come to work sick

Photo by Brittany Colette on Unsplash

Organizations are trying to carry on with a “business as usual” approach while they pay close attention to the outbreak. They are following practices recommended by the CDC.

One recommendation businesses are asking their employees to abide by is, “If you’re sick, stay home.” The reality is — many will not follow this instruction. If you pay close attention to the symptoms of COVID-19, they are mild, mimicking a cold or sinus infection. The virus has a greater chance of risk for the elderly population with worse symptoms. Even death.

Another reason employees will not stay home is because of a lack of sick days or paid time off. Families who live pay-check to pay-check can’t afford to take any unpaid time off. This forces them to work sick — infecting others.

If there is a case of COVID-19 in an organization, this will cause a business to come to a halt. This will also lead to a significant loss in revenue for a business in the event their workforce is out ill.

Here’s why remote work options are crucial in times of crisis.

Contain and end the virus

One of the most important reasons employers should be giving employees the option to work from home is to help contain and end COVID-19.

Employees are not always honest with whether they’ve traveled or unaware if they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19. This puts all employees coming to work at risk, along with their families at home.

It’s crucial for employers to keep a healthy workforce, especially if they want their business to continue to function. If we want to eliminate a virus then we need to limit its chance to thrive and continue to infect others.

By containing the illness we can help control it’s spread, which will help end it.

Assists healthcare providers

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Unfortunately, doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers do not have the luxury of remote options. Their roles are crucial in helping in times of a health crisis.

Many in the field are also hit with personal challenges during this time with children being home since schools are closed. This overwhelms the healthcare system since it’s times like these where hospitals will be flooded with ill patients.

By self-quarantining, we can contain or limit illness, which helps prevent a flood of patients in the hospital. This will help reduce burnout or illness for our healthcare providers.

This has a domino effect on emergency responders as well. Having a flooded system impacts our police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders. We depend on them to protect our safety and since it’s impossible for them to have a remote option. We need them healthy during times of crisis.

Keeps businesses going

The fact is if remote work is available businesses will be up and running. That will keep the world as we know it functioning.

If employees can work from home, they can take care of their families, which is crucial for child-care reasons since schools will be closed. There will be no pressure for families with losing time off from work, especially if they’re sick with the virus.

This will also keep businesses going, which will help either eliminate or reduce any lost revenue.

The COVID-19 epidemic could change the landscape of the workforce

It takes a crisis for the world to wake up and develop a plan in the event this ever happens again.

This will impact businesses who were not ready as many workers across the country prepare to take time off or work remotely. Organizations who lost money with an imminent shutdown will have to address this for the future.

Businesses will need to look into making investments in technology. It will be an investment that allows their businesses to continue to function in times of crisis.

This change will be for the better going forward. It doesn’t have to be a health epidemic that results in the need for remote work. Various areas across the world are prone to weather-related events which can have an impact on business.

Many organizations will also see the benefits of employee retention if remote work options are available. Proof that something good can come from something bad.

The story originally published on Medium.com.


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  4. Really informative post. Great. Kelley Ringgold

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