How some companies gained from work from home
The Straits Times|November 28, 2021
Mr Jon-Michial Carter was the biggest sceptic of remote work when one of his managers suggested they test the idea in 2019.

“We had a 100,000 sq ft facility full of clinicians delivering remote virtual care,” said the founder and chief executive of ChartSpan, a chronic-care provider based in South Carolina. “It seemed inconceivable that we could send them home.”

When Covid-19 arrived last year, that’s what the firm did. As a direct result, it’s making more money. Employees say they are happier, and the numbers say they are more productive.

The pandemic shock forced managers everywhere to try doing things differently, accelerating innovation.

It “opens the door to this radical newness in the way businesses are configured,” said Mr Jason Thomas, head of global research at Carlyle Group.

New equipment is one route to achieving this goal, enabling workers to lift their output. But new forms of corporate organisation can achieve the same effect.

That’s what happened at ChartSpan. When the pandemic hit, the company had little choice but to work from home, building off a small remote-work pilot programme. The early returns astounded managers.

Employees were doing more, with greater efficiency and flexibility, while the company’s bottom line was growing. “We had never seen numbers like that in our history,” Mr Carter said.

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