The Future of Remote Work
By necessity, most businesses moved to a hybrid or fully remote work model in the pandemic, which brought about many challenges. However, remote work is here to stay.
The pandemic has radically changed the way we work in nearly every industry. For starters, we’ve all shifted to remote work. But what about after the pandemic? Researchers and reporters, like Jon Reed, seem to agree that “remote work is here to stay,” whether by employers’ mandates or employees’ personal choices. Work life as we used to know it will never be the same as it was before. We know one thing we can expect to stay consistent is change, and it’s impossible to determine all the twists and turns work life can throw at us. Luckily, we are able to adapt quickly to remote work trends.
What is remote work?
Remote work is the practice of employees doing their jobs from a location (home or third workspace) other than an office operated by an employer. It allows people to work from home and alleviates the need to commute. You may have heard it referred to as “telecommuting.” There are two main ways to work remotely: hybrid or fully remote.
Many businesses are adopting the hybrid work model that enables employees to combine the structure of a traditional office with the flexibility of remote working. Per The Enterprisers Project, this model encourages:
- Improved mental health
- Better Collaboration
- More opportunities for professional development
- Improved team satisfaction
- Increased productivity
Remote work also improves diversity and inclusion primarily for people with physical disabilities, people with housing limitations and people with family care responsibilities, most of whom are women. The hybrid work system takes into account both the employee’s responsibilities at home as well as the employer’s staggered work schedules and socially distanced offices. In a national panel survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review, nearly 20% of working parents had to leave work or reduce their work hours due to lack of childcare. With a hybrid work environment, working parents can benefit from increased flexibility in the workplace.
Not only can employees benefit from this work model, employers can too. It’s clear from an economic standpoint that the fewer people there are in the office means less demand for deskspace, reducing the need for expensive offices.
Fully Remote Work
The fully remote work system allows employees to work from anywhere that’s not based out of a central location. This means that no employee attends an in-person office. Businesses that are adopting the fully remote work model include Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Dropbox, Slack and REI. This model allows companies to:
- Save on overhead costs
- Access a wider talent pool
- Make themselves more competitive
- Trust their teams
For businesses, the most compelling argument for fully remote teams is the lowered costs. According to Bloomberg, Google has saved more than $1 billion by implementing a fully remote work model. The same cost savings could be applied to small businesses who have the capacity to work remotely.
What are the disadvantages?
Yes, work-from-home sounds great, but there are some challenges that employees and employers have to overcome in both hybrid and full remote work models. Since the pandemic, organizations had to quickly create remote work policies in order to ensure security and stability. While there are many challenges that may arise, there are plenty of creative solutions that can keep your organization running smoothly.
Being geographically dispersed can be challenging when one team member is just starting their day while another is logging off. Ensuring effective remote collaboration is extremely important in the work-from-home world. A great way to combat this is to use project management software to plan projects and streamline tasks ahead of time.
Studies show that, in the pandemic, managers have put more emphasis on work output than on work hours. This has put more stress on many employees and created problems for how employers manage their teams. However, companies can maximize employee efficiency and oversee their team with the help of task management tools such as Brightpod, which we use here at Elevate My Brand. Businesses are also adopting ongoing performance reviews so employees can share when their output versus their hours worked become unbalanced.
As remote work becomes a more significant part of work culture, cybersecurity has become a major cause of concern. Industries such as finance, energy and manufacturing are among those targeted most. The main concern is around the transfer of data from various servers and devices, some more secure than others. To combat this, organizations need to think more strategically about cybersecurity investments to best protect workers, data and equipment.
What does the future hold for remote workers?
We could spend all day speculating what the future workplace will look like, but studying the trends from the past year gives us a good idea of what we can expect. It’s clear that the flexibility remote work offers employees has left a lasting impression on whether or not workers would like to return to the good ol’ office. According to Forbes, 58% of employees want remote work post-pandemic and would absolutely look for a new job if they weren’t allowed to continue working remotely. The current state of remote work is forcing companies to rethink traditional work styles.
The future of remote work will require many changes, including increased project management software and freeing the office space. Only time will tell whether or not working from home will continue to grow!
Shirley Chui, Account Manager
Elevate My Brand