Workers and Employers Benefit Working from Home
If our recent pandemic has proven anything, it’s that we are resilient and innovative. With forced closures and social distancing rules in place, the upside has been that we’ve found workarounds that have proven not only to be stop-gap measures until normalcy returns, but a new workforce paradigm.
A two-year Stanford University study a few years back, based on 500 employees, found many benefits gained from working at home, including a 50 percent reduction in employee attrition, greater productivity, better concentration, shorter breaks, and fewer sick days. Additionally, companies saved almost $2,000 per employee on rent by reducing the amount of space needed, besides the obvious reduction in carbon emissions due to less driving.
Engaging Diverse Teams through Technology
Many businesses are “going remote” to stay in touch with their employees, vendors, and customers by setting up online meetings, workshops, podcasts, virtual events using teleconferencing web apps when they can’t do so in person. And to help companies learn how to connect, specifically within the framework of diversity and inclusion, tech specialists are reaching out to businesses to teach them.
One such specialist is Furkan Karayel of Diverse In, a global diversity and inclusion embassy. Karayel recently sponsored a workshop designed for execs, managers, team leaders, HR specialists, teaching them how to manage multi-cultural teams remotely.
Karayel also speaks at conferences and in webinars and podcasts about women in tech, women in leadership roles, and female entrepreneurship issues, as well as the power of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She is an entrepreneur, who previously worked as a software engineer for tech companies.
Remote Collaboration on Steroids
Our workspace is evolving. It is transforming from a finite space to an infinite workspace. When we work and make connections on a global level, we are tapping into the rich environment of diversity, and opportunity, expanding our communities exponentially. Our technology today can make that global jump through technology.
One tech company, Spatial, does just that. Spatial is a computing platform that enables productive and creative collaboration for organizations. Meetings are conducted with a lively spatial audio and 3D “telepresence” so it feels like you’re face to face.
Users remotely collaborate, search, brainstorm, and share content. With lifelike avatars and shared walls, users can feel like they are face to face with others. Using work tools, teams can fill the virtual and augmented reality workspace with ideas. All devices flow together, interfacing with your computer and phone to share documents, notes, 3D models, images, graphs, websites… on your screen or floating around you, all visible to your workgroup.
First, there were online courses, then online colleges. The number of online colleges is growing. Online Schools are the perfect opportunity for inclusive, global, remote education. The internet erases inequalities in access.
In higher education, 3.1 million higher education students were enrolled exclusively in online programs in fall 2017, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Education could be completely remote, inclusive, accessible and global, creating schools with no walls. There may come a day – perhaps very soon – when any student can access their classroom materials from any location in the world. Live anywhere and attend school from anywhere, on your schedule.
People with jobs can advance their knowledge and careers without having to leave their full-time jobs. Students with physical disabilities or long commutes can participate and complete classroom assignments with the rest of their non-handicapped classmates. A remote system is an education equalizer, giving opportunities to all.
Interactivity with a Splash
Jumping on the interactive education bandwagon is Splashtop Classroom, an interactive classroom access software, lets students use their own devices – laptops, tablets, or computers – on their turf.
A teacher can use Splashtop Classroom to share content directly to the students’ devices. Students can, in turn, take control over the lesson or annotate over it, giving them a chance to initiate, interact, and in other ways get involved.
People Who Give
The spirit of engagement is alive and well, especially in times of crisis. The coronavirus breakout and subsequent sheltering in place have generated many opportunities for giving and sharing. Here are some examples.
In the celebrity arena, Matthew McConaughey hosted virtual bingo for residents at a senior living home in Round Rock, Texas. The Texas actor called a bingo game by video conferencing.
Restaurant reviewer celebrity Guy Fieri and the National Restaurant Association created a relief fund, The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF) to raise financial relief for restaurant staff, including upper management, chefs, servers, and dishwashers. Fieri, TV host of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" wanted to do something on a large scale for the people in the restaurant industry who have lost their jobs. The team has raised close to raising $10 million as of last week. Their goal is $100 million.
Then there’s Senator Paul Rand, who, once he recovered from the coronavirus, began volunteering at TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital in Bowling Green, Kentucky, “lifting the spirits of patients and our colleagues,” says Rand’s office. The senator is no stranger to hospital settings. Besides his political career, Rad is a physician who used to work in hospital emergency rooms.
As employers furloughed or laid off their workers, leaving many people with a financial burden, essential services have picked up the slack. One example is in New York City, where some restaurants are giving free meals and acting as a distribution center for their community to those not working and children not in school. World Center Kitchen and Beatstro in the Bronx. These businesses, which offer deliveries and take-out, began opening their doors to those impacted by the coronavirus by offering free meals.
Living, working, and lending a hand didn’t stop when our world began facing a global outbreak. Our global communities have proven that we can perform these activities at a distance, with endless opportunities for bringing the physical realm into virtual reality to serve global diversity, technology and amenities.