While an estimated one million South Africans are returning to work, at least as many are still working from home – and might continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This gives employers a double challenge: on the one hand, they need to ensure a safe return to work for those venturing back into the workplace; on the other, they should not lose sight of the employees still at home.
The question employers should be asking is whether remote working should be a permanent part of their arrangements. If so, how will they ensure they comply with employment and health and safety laws from a distance? And how will they manage the legal implications of a ‘mixed-mode’ model, where some employees work at home and others in an office?
Many businesses have been able to survive during these trying times by successfully adapting to remote working (some with surprisingly few teething glitches). But does this mean that employers will be willing to embrace a more flexible outlook to the world of work post-pandemic?
Until we reach that point, this question will remain unanswered, but in the meantime, one thing is becoming more obvious: the world of work will never be the same. It is therefore important for businesses to start contemplating how best to operate in the future in order to remain relevant, competitive and profitable.
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