Even though the concept of remote work has been around for a while, it was still relatively new pre-pandemic, and most importantly, frowned upon. Employers feared that working remotely would jeopardize their supervision and lead to a lack of productivity.
Telecommuting was limited to salespeople, company representatives, or anyone that had to travel or work remotely as part of their job description.
However, 2020 changed all of that when companies were forced to transfer most of their workforce remotely. They not only needed to adapt to this change but they had to find a way to make it work successfully. Interestingly, surveys showed that the productivity of remote employees was actually higher than those that commute to the office.
The trend was carried out in 2021, as many companies chose to continue working remotely like Dropbox, Twitter, and Shopify, while other companies, like Facebook, chose a more hybrid approach where they’d allow employees to work from home or the office.
Forbes stated that by 2025, 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least 5 days a month.
What is the future of remote work after COVID?
It’s Becoming a Permanent Outlet
Enterprise Technology Research ran a survey before 2021, expecting the remote workforce to double this year because of how well it was working for companies. Not only has the productivity level heightened but so has employee morale. Expectedly, people like to work on their own schedule and being location independent.
Tech companies have started the trend since most of the work can be done online but other industries are following and have altered their opinions on remote work since COVID.
Big companies like Trello, Basecamp, and Doist, have become permanently remote companies while others, like Wells Fargo and Dell, are starting to understand the benefits that come with remote work and are even listing remote job positions.
Working Remotely Is Accessible and Easier Now
Emphasizing the previous point, working remotely is easier than it used to be and now assures employers that work is being done efficiently. Besides the help of multiple online and virtual tools, the easy accessibility to high-speed internet is also a huge factor in making telecommuting successful.
Co-working space is available all over the world with a designated mission to be a professional workspace for freelancers or remote workers; they offer great Wi-Fi, conference space if needed, and even tools like computers, projectors, and stationery.
Some of these companies even offer a virtual mailbox, virtual phone number, and fax service for your business. This gives employees flexibility and allows them to change their environment to where they believe they’d be most productive. Working remotely can be done anywhere today, whether it is at home, a café, a co-working space, or a different country entirely.
Using Different Performance Metrics
Before remote work was popular, employers used to track shifts and work progress by using a timesheet, punch card, or calculate how long they’ve been in the office. However, with remote work, this isn’t the case since it isn’t an efficient metric of measuring an employee’s work progress.
The employer can still track how long the employee’s been working using online time tracking tools like Time Doctor, ClockIn Portal, etc.
but without supervision, this isn’t enough. And so, to maximize an employee’s efficiency and productivity, you can ask for shift reports where employees record their daily work progress or you can use project management tools, like Asana, to track and supervise projects.
Thanks to technology, employees can collaborate on tasks, report on productivity, conduct meetings, and more. Remote work has encouraged employers to use new performance metrics that weren’t widely available before.
Managers should give feedback to their employees on ways to improve productivity, set goals, and even conduct regular performance evaluations instead of annual ones to help them manage their responsibilities.
Less Physical Office Space Needed
Many large companies are selling their office space or are opting for a hybrid solution, which is a mix between working from the office and from home while many remote companies were established within these last few years that don’t have physical headquarters.
Reducing office space will save on costs and it’s a bonus for small businesses and startups that are looking to lessen their spending or redirect that money into the business itself.
Having a fancy big office is no longer needed for a business to be successful; if you’re looking for a commercial business address, you can sign up for a virtual business address. This address can be a local or international address, depending on your needs.
Many addresses are based in major cities like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, and plans start at only $10 per month. This way you’ll build a professional image while keeping costs at the minimum. There are many fully remote companies that found success without a physical office, like Toggl, Zapier, Buffer, Time Doctor, and more.
Putting More Effort in Engagement
Working in an office makes it easier to engage with people, build relationships, and collaborate on projects. This leads to employees standing out; it highlights their skills and encourages promotions and more responsibility.
Engagement can be difficult when working remotely, where people mostly communicate through email or an online chat. Thankfully, communicative technology has evolved to include video conferencing and collaborative tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams, where you can share a screen, collaborate, and have video or call meetings.
Employers can also hold in-office meetings for new projects or set up team-building activities to increase engagement. More effort is needed, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Attract Key Talent without Location Restrictions
Another benefit of a flexible remote work policy is that you’re no longer restricted to hiring within the same region or need to go through the trouble of relocating people. Commuting, especially if you live far away, can be a waste of time and expensive for both employers and employees.
Remote work allows you to attract key talent from around the world without being tied to a physical location. Not only are large companies benefiting from this but it’s a great opportunity for home-based businesses or startups as well to dive into freelance and find the best talents for lower costs.
Some businesses are starting to reopen with things improving or they’re applying a work-from-home policy for a few days of the week but remote work isn’t going anywhere. It has proven to work successfully and is becoming more common in various industries. The future of remote work, although needing a few adjustments and reinventing, is very bright.
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