The future of remote work brings the proliferation of remote work policies brought about by the pandemic, several organizations are already adopting the work from home trend into their corporate culture. Now more than ever, there’s a booming demand for remote work tools, and businesses worldwide are embracing this societal shift.
Expectations on remote work continue to rise as businesses, large and small, leverages remote work software and collaboration tools to lay the groundwork for effective remote team management. But this isn’t enough; remote work best practices are still required if these organizations are to scale and build a high-performance culture.
With that in mind, let’s see what to expect from the rapidly growing work from home trend.
1. Life-work balance, not work-life balance
Everyone admits (at least to themselves) that they have struggled at some point to keep up with the work-life balance: a clichéd phrase common in the modern workplace.
Remote work is redefining what people actually long for when they talk of work-life balance – i.e., having a flexible work schedule, uninterrupted family moments, and self-time (i.e., time to exercise, unplug, meditate, etc.)
Instead of the endless chase for work-life balance, remote work helps people re-prioritize what’s important to them, not necessarily what’s urgent. This means employees will put their life before work and have better control over their time.
2. The future is hybrid
As much as everyone is talking about remote work and companies are willing to go fully remote, the traditional in-office work model will remain an integral part of the transition. A wholesale shift to virtual work is on the horizon, but not every company is ready for this paradigm shift, at least for the next couple of years.
Better yet, remote work is increasingly becoming popular, and major companies have already shifted part of their operations to remote. A 2020 Gartner survey shows that 82% (4 in every 5) of company leaders plan to allow their employees to work remotely. But even before the pandemic, a BlueFace Survey predicted that remote working would rival in office work by 2025.
However, the hybrid model requires a well-thought-out process that ensures remote employees are engaged and connected to their in-office counterparts.
Several research studies and surveys have linked remote working with increased productivity, and a keen look at this from an employee perspective assures us of the same.
Flexible working hours means employees work when they feel fresh and productive. There’s no more Monday dread or that longing for Friday evenings. Employees take control of their time, they become empowered, and fewer distractions from colleagues mean increased concentration.
According to Flexjobs 2018 annual survey, 65% of respondents said they were more productive in their home or home office than in a traditional office space.
Quieter noise levels, less frequent meetings, a more personalized office environment, and minimal office politics are factors driving high productivity.
Moving forward, several companies are keen to maximize remote work to drive business productivity and profitability.
4. Cost-Savings and Flexibility for Businesses
Over the last couple of years, several businesses have been experimenting with remote work by shifting part of their departments (e.g., HR and marketing) to either partial or fully remote positions. Since AT&T reported saving $30 million a year in real estate alone, major companies have adopted the hybrid work model.
According to a Global Workplace Analytics (GWA) Survey, businesses can save up to $11,000 per employee every year by allowing them to work from home. This cost-saving advantage also benefits the employees. A summary of telecommuting stats shows that on-site employees spend an average of 11 days in traffic every year while those working from home save between $2,500 and $6,000 over the same period – on several expenses related to showing up at a physical office.
Another state of remote work survey found that organizations that have remote workers see a 25% less employee turnover. And considering it takes 6-9 months of salary to hire and onboard a new employee, businesses are doing what it takes to keep their best employees. Remote work is also helping businesses rethink growth and sustainability. What the pandemic did was prove the point that decoupling geography and your business can help lower risk.
- Several London-based businesses have been altered by Brexit, which had nothing to do with their business fundamentals.
- Companies based in Milan, Italy, one of the COVID hotspots, were more negatively affected than a company based in Houston, TX, due to global crises they couldn’t see coming.
Due to these unprecedented trends, businesses are looking for ways to remove risk from how they operate, and one obvious way is to reduce the amount of real-estate they own. Empowering employees to work from anywhere will not only make them more flexible as a business but will also help them create a more inclusive work environment that attracts and retains top talent.
5. Culture Shift and Innovation
Remote work is more than simply allowing your HR or marketing department to work from home. Looking forward, organizations are keen to embrace a remote-first culture that will empower their workforce and seal the remote loopholes.
As employees continue to crave flexible work schedules and businesses continue to benefit from remote work, there will be a need to develop an agile system that will enable these organizations to leverage remote work tools to boost productivity and ensure business success.
But cultural shift requires more than remote work software and sophisticated technologies. Employee responsibility and corporate trust are the two most in-demand aspects.
“Technology itself isn’t the silver bullet, rather an enabler. Organizations must give people the confidence, transparency, and information needed to be empowered. Tools alone don’t solve that. When we work with our clients, we look at the question of “Do people understand the context of what it means to work remotely?” Once we have that, then we integrate remote tools so that they can be effective.”
Mark Mader, CEO of Smartsheet
So as much as the future of remote work is dependent on customized, highly-effective work from home tools; there’s a greater need to define a strategy – that will make all these innovations relevant to the critical components of every job description.
6. Closing Comments
The future of remote work is promising, and both employees and employers are looking to benefit from this massive shift that’s being witnessed across all industries. And while the challenges are inevitable, there are a couple of remote work tips and guides you can pick to ensure effective collaboration.
In the remote world, your people come first, but they can only be as good as their tools. Lack of effective communication is also a key barrier to remote working, but if you get started with an agile remote collaboration tool, you’ll be solving most of the challenges faced in this fast-paced work environment.