The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to re-evaluate their remote work policies. And while some companies are planning to return to the office full-time, others are realizing that a hybrid or fully remote model may be the way of the future.
So what does the future of remote working seem like? Will more businesses embrace it, or will the pandemic be the death of remote work? Only time will tell, but there are several factors to consider when predicting the future of remote working.
Will employees return to the office once the pandemic is over? How will businesses manage remote workers?
In this article, we will explore these questions and offer some insights into the future of remote working.
The Changing Landscape of Work
The way we work is changing. With the advent of newer technologies, the rise of the gig economy, and the ever-changing needs of businesses, the landscape of work is constantly in flux. This can be both exciting and daunting, as it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends.
“Ten years ago, remote positions essentially meant a telemarketing or customer service role at a salary below minimum wage,” Samantha Lambert, director of Human Resources at Blue Fountain Media, explained.
“It was rarely linked with a full-time job. Technology allows us to complete the same job no matter where we are in the world. It has allowed us to communicate with coworkers or customers at any time.”
And let’s face it, remote jobs have facilitated both employers and employees in many ways, and the benefits they reap are hard to miss. Primarily, it lets businesses tap into a diversified pool of talent. Second, it can save money on office space and other overhead costs for businesses.
And last, but not least, it’s more flexible and accommodating for employees, who may appreciate the ability to work from home or from any location that suits them.
Remote Work Today
Well, it looks a lot different than it did even just a few months ago. With more companies embracing remote work, new tools and technologies are emerging that are making it easier to stay connected and productive.
Teleworking has become a practice in many offices, both in the United States and around the world. This sort of job isn’t always done from home. Some remote employees use coffee shops or co-working spaces, while some travel around the globe while pursuing their career goals.
However, as pandemic constraints have eased, we’re seeing the rise of a new trend: hybrid work. Long-term expectations about where and how people work have shifted as a result of the pandemic. Many employees prefer to work entirely from home.
The Pew Research Center reported in early 2022 that 60% of the workforce wants to work remotely all or most of the time. This represents a 6% increase since 2020.
However, many businesses are uneasy with this setup. Such as, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has demanded that staff must return to the office for in-person work for a minimum of 40 hours per week or face dismissal. “They should pretend to work somewhere else,” Musk tweeted later.
Goldman Sachs is also demanding employees return to work 5 days (or more) per week in CEO David Solomon’s quest to eliminate hybrid work. While the expectation of employees to work remotely grows year after year, companies are slowly adopting remote-friendly policies.
The Future of Remote Work
The future of remote work is both uncertain and promising. In addition to many benefits and advantages, there are also some challenges that employees and employers alike might face soon.
VR as a Medium of Corporate Training
VR training has already reached millions of people, and this figure is expected to rise in the next 2-3 years.
Employees will growingly access corporate training through the Metaverse, benefiting from unique capabilities within interactive virtual training, including team learning, which will lead to a fresh tide of workforce skills.
According to Fast Company, telecommuting software like mobile work tools and virtual reality conferencing will eventually replace face-to-face meetings as the ideal mode of communication. AI certainly plays a significant role in order to manage remote employees.
These advancements may put businesses at an advantage. The move to manage a remote workforce may be disconcerting, but with the right technology and honest hard-working employees, it can be a smooth process.
Flexibility Will Overshadow Compensation
According to a 2022 Henley Business School report, workers are ready to give up compensation in order to work from home. According to the research, about a quarter of workers (27%) will be willing to accept a pay cut to work remotely.
Because of this growing trend, often employees refuse to accept onsite jobs because they know they can find a much more flexible and convenient job elsewhere. Also, these statistics help us conclude that flexibility has taken precedence over pay for employees.
Hence, the new labor market presents employers with a significant opportunity since they can hire qualified workers for cheaper than onsite workers their way forward. But they must evolve themselves and be open to hybrid or completely remote positions to attract diversified employees.
The Increasing Importance of Mental Health
Employers will be held more accountable if they fail to provide their employees with reactive and proactive mental health care.
The expense of mental illness in the workplace extends beyond productivity. Individuals are affected by psychological problems, but so are their families, organizations, and communities.
Employers must do more than simply react when it is clear that an employee is mentally ill. Proactive mental health education and initiatives can help to avoid problems by creating an atmosphere of resilience, connection, and support, as well as striving to improve organizational culture overall.
Change Must Be Accepted
In the long haul, resisting change may cause more harm than good. Most employees now consider work-from-home positions. According to Buffer, 97% of existing telecommuters prefer to work remotely for the rest of their professional lives.
Companies now must work on improving their remote work policies and functionality rather than resisting change.
Lambert recommends developing standard key performance indicators (KPIs) for management and employees both if your organization is worried about productivity and output issues as a result of a companywide capability to work from home.
In a Nutshell
“In 10 Years, ‘Remote Work’ Will Simply Be ‘Work,'” said Prithwiraj Choudhury in an interview, a professor at Harvard Business School who has expertise in the future of work and has researched organizations that went completely remote way before the pandemic.
While this phrase has already summarized it all, remote working looks very bright in the future.
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