What the Future of Remote Work Looks Like
While there’s no crystal ball to foretell what the future of remote work will look like, some trends will guide the way. Before 2020, remote work gained acceptance and was something that employers and workers were beginning to adopt. For employers, it provided them with a larger talent pool and reduced overhead costs. Workers saw it as a way to have a better balance, eliminate grueling commutes, and have more flexibility.
However, the status quo was this belief that people had to be in an office to be productive and engaged. Now, most everyone has realized those were misconceptions. And there’s data to back it up.
How Employees Feel About Remote Work
Since the shift to remote work occurred in early 2020, there have been numerous studies on its impact. A survey from GoodHire included responses from over 3,000 workers. Some of the key findings included:
- 68 percent prefer remote work.
- 61 percent would take a pay cut to continue working from home.
- 45 percent would quit their job if forced to return to the office.
These data points indicate that employees don’t want to be bound to a place. Apparently, no one was that crazy about the office in the first place. With technology and connectivity available, being in the same place doesn’t matter anymore.
Those surveyed also provided opinions on companies that don’t adapt to remote work, with 74 percent believing those businesses would lose talent.
Another survey from Gallup indicated that employees are okay with a hybrid structure, with 54 percent saying they’d be okay to split time. For those who prefer remote, the top reasons were no commutes, better well-being, flexibility, greater productivity, and fewer distractions.
The Employer Perspective
Employers overall feel remote work has been a success. A PwC poll found 83 percent think so, and only one in five executives wants to return to pre-pandemic structures. Companies haven’t seen a negative impact on productivity or engagement overall. It can be a consequence of remote work. Still, many businesses are making key moves to mitigate this by investing in virtual collaboration tools, IT infrastructure, training, and other programs.
Some organizations are slowly phasing in a return to the office. However, many don’t require it and only see it as necessary for specific events where there’s a benefit.
Predictions for the Future
Looking toward how this new way of work will trend, there’s a prediction that 70 percent of the workforce will be working remotely by 2025. That’s a substantial amount, and not every job can be remote, of course. Those best suited for remote or hybrid structures are mostly white-collar jobs.
As you look to the future of remote work for your organization, you have concerns and questions. So many factors play into how to reimagine your workforce. Employees prefer to work from wherever and have autonomy. But they still need the tools, structure, and support to thrive.
As you carve your path toward the next evolution in business, there are some key things to consider for success.
What You Need for a Bright Remote Work Future
Keep these things in mind to ensure that your people and business can find success now and beyond with remote work.
Long-Term Communication and Collaboration Solutions
Many companies hurriedly threw together some widgets and applications to send their people home. Now years later, many are seeing the cracks from this. It could impact efficiency, cost more, or isn’t sustainable.
You need an integrated unified communications (UC) platform that delivers communication and collaboration tools for the long term. They should be accessible and consistent no matter where someone is working. You’ll want to choose a solution built on modern architecture, is secure by design, and offers flexibility.
At a minimum, you’ll need voice, video conferencing, chat, file sharing and backup, and screen sharing. Additionally, it would be nice to have integration capabilities, call analytics, and call center features if that’s a need for your business.
Another consideration is how accessible the solution is. For example, having an app for mobile is much easier to configure and more secure than someone using a browser-based system.
As you’re looking at the long term, you want to pick a solution that can scale as you grow and allows you to be the administrator. Further, you want a system that’s reliable and supported by a robust IT infrastructure.
To prepare for the workforce’s expectations, you’ll also need to develop a new way to recruit. If you’re going to accept full-time remote people, you now have a larger talent pool. Also, consider that as younger generations become your employees, they are digital natives that probably aren’t a generation that wants to sit in cubicles. If you give them the right tools and training, they can be great assets for your company.
Communication Is Critical
Since you aren’t in one building anymore, communication looks different. You can be screen to screen, and many feel this is even better than sitting in a conference room. Often, people pay more attention when on camera. You can also have more frequent communication using chat since it’s as instant as texting. Having regular video meetings and keeping all channels of communication open can bridge any distance.
The Way You Manage Will Need to Change
One of the hardest parts of being a leader is managing people. They’re much more complex than spreadsheets. Each person has their own motivations, goals, and feelings. Managing people before the pandemic was more in-person. Now, leaders must rethink how they connect with people, evaluate them, and coach them.
You have a chance to refine this in a new paradigm where feedback happens in different channels. Most managers have greater empathy, too, which is a good thing for all.
What Are Your Predictions for the Future of Remote Work?
The future of remote work isn’t set. Employers and employees will shape it. By preparing for it, your company can not just survive but thrive. We’d love to hear your predictions on what’s next for the work ecosystem.