What Is the Future of Remote Work and Digital Nomadism?
Many people were forced to adjust to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic. While we thought it would be a temporary situation lasting just a few weeks, it turns out that many people forced to work remotely prefer working outside of a traditional office setting.
A number of businesses have adapted by shutting down large office buildings and providing their remote employees with the support and technology they need to succeed while working from home.
As the challenges related to COVID change and the world begins to reopen, the future of remote work looks a lot different than we anticipated it would two years ago.
And what about those digital nomads and U.S. expats who were traveling and working remotely long before the pandemic? The business environment may look a little differently than you’d imagined!
The Number of Remote Workers Is Expected to Increase
Tech companies are leading the way and have offered their employees the option to continue working remotely. Shopify, Facebook, Dropbox, Spotify and Twitter are a few of the major players who actively support employees who prefer to work remotely. Other companies are following in their footsteps.
REI recently announced that they would not open their new Washington campus. They plan to sell it in favor or remote work.
According to a recent Forbes survey, 70% of the workforce will work remotely at least five days per month by 2025.
Remote Work is a Better Fit for Some Industries Than Others
Many frontline workers can’t do their jobs remotely, but for those in the finance, insurance, business services, management and information technology sectors, returning to in-person work may not make sense.
Industries that rely on specialized machinery, collaboration, physical care and labor may never be a good fit for remote work.
Remote Work Can Boost Productivity
Workers thrown into remote work have proven that even though the change was abrupt, productivity remained high in spite of common challenges.
Many workers report that they feel more productive when they don’t have to come into the office on a daily basis. Working outside of an office setting is motivating for many people. As the popularity of remote work increases, employers become more confident that their staff members can use technology to make up for in-person work experiences. Virtual platforms and smart meetings are crucial to many remote workers’ ongoing success.
Remote Work May Require More Communication and Different Performance Management
Many companies have implemented policies and processes to support remote workers. A lack of work planning creates anxiety among remote workers leading to lower productivity and employee satisfaction.
Companies that clearly articulate expectations may also have an easier time retaining workers.
Performance management may require more frequent one-on-one virtual meetings and scheduled feedback so employees feel engaged and supported even though they aren’t working from an office.
Managing remote workers is the new normal inside many companies, and reconsidering goal-setting tactics can help boost employee engagement and support performance.
Companies Rejecting Remote Work Options May Benefit From Offering a Hybrid Work Model
The ability to work remotely is one of the biggest draws for top talent. Employees who are ready to change careers or explore new job opportunities consider remote work to be important. Companies that offer a remote option may benefit from mentioning that they are open to hiring people who prefer to work from home. And some companies are now even offering in-house remote gigs for willing freelancers.
Hybrid work can help balance employees’ desire to work remotely and a company’s need to have workers come into the office. Amazon, Ford, Target and Microsoft are using hybrid work models to keep business costs low and motivate employees.
Investing in Technology Is Crucial for the Success of Remote Work
Digital solutions allow staff to collaborate and work remotely without sacrificing productivity. Businesses that invest in digital solutions make it easy for employees to stay engaged.
For example, smart meetings allow workers to improve productivity by tagging important discussions, create highlight reels and assign action items to help staff who work remotely meet benchmarks and sustain productivity.
Opportunities to Work Remotely Are Plentiful for Some Workers
An average of four million people quit their jobs each month throughout 2021. Just 3% of workers who were forced into remote work by the pandemic say they are ready to go back to the office full-time as soon as possible. The other 97% prefer a work-from-home or hybrid work solution that allows flexibility.
Workers who don’t want to return to an office setting may consider leaving their job if their employer isn’t willing to allow them to continue to work remotely if they find the right opportunity.
For employers, choosing a hybrid model of work will be crucial to retaining and attracting top talent in the future. As workers evaluate their options, they may be more inclined to choose companies that don’t require employees to be in the office during 100% of working hours.
Finding a New Job is Easier With Help From Social Media
Employees who prefer to work remotely but are facing pressure to return to the office may choose to make a lateral move to a different company or change careers. Worker shortages are difficult for companies, but job-seekers have numerous opportunities to find a job that’s a better fit if they prefer not to work on-site.
Finding professional opportunities on social media allows job seekers to express themselves authentically and connect with people who can help them find a job that’s a good fit. Many workers have discovered how to use Twitter for job searches.
After working remotely for two years, many workers are comfortable with video interviews and other technology that makes meeting in person unnecessary. Employers are discovering that by allowing remote work, they eliminate geographic restrictions and widen their potential pool of applicants.
Remote Work Is Here To Stay
Even as the pandemic subsides, it’s obvious that remote work and digital nomadism are both here to stay for many industries. It’s important to be sure that employees are used to working with diverse people is imperative. So, consider some cross-cultural training!
Employers that are willing to be flexible and provide employees with the technology they need to remain productive as they work remotely can take advantage of new opportunities in the marketplace.