Many of us expected the world to return to normalcy at the start of 2021. Vaccines were beginning to be distributed, and many executives believed that we would all be back at work in a matter of months.
However, 2021 was more volatile than anticipated, with the advent of new Covid variants, a massive war for talent, all-time high quit rates, and the highest inflation levels in a generation.
New variants will continue to emerge, potentially causing workplaces to go remote once more. Hybrid work will increase inconsistency in terms of where, when, and how much different employees work. As annual compensation raises lag behind inflation, resulting in several more employees facing real wage cuts.
Top 7 Key Remote Work Trends for the Future
According to a recent survey, nearly 90% of employees now prefer a role with remote options. If that’s the case, consider the labor market that brands that insist on a full-time return to work will miss out on.
So, what can we anticipate to see this year and beyond as many leaders continue to maneuver their office re-openings and flexible work models? Here are some forecasts and trends for the upcoming year.
1. Hybrid Work Model
While remote work is an umbrella term for work completed outside of the office, many businesses are turning to a hybrid model to strike a balance between business demands and employee desires.
Simply put, a hybrid work model combines remote work with office time. Target, Ford, Microsoft, and Amazon have all stated that they intend to implement a hybrid work model in the future.
A hybrid model may provide the best of both worlds by lowering business costs while keeping employees happy, healthy, and motivated.
However, as with any remote work, employees are at risk of burnout, so businesses must ensure that their digital communication plans are as solid as if their business were entirely remote.
2. Upsurge of Remote Work Visas
The first nations to provide remote work permits to professionals ready to relocate abroad were Estonia, Barbados, and Bermuda. Professionals who wish to relocate their homes but keep their current jobs have a lot of options thanks to this choice.
We may anticipate seeing more options with features like adaptable and inexpensive price ranges for housing, great and affordable internet coverage, all-inclusive medical insurances, and even opportunities for professionals migrating with their families to pursue an international education.
This makes the thought of working and going abroad quite conceivable and feasible. The inspiration you require for job advancement or even shift may be found in a change of environment.
3. Diverse Pools of Talent
Companies are now seeking to hire from more diversified talent pools as a result of the most recent trends in remote working, which have offered many employees the ability to work from anywhere.
Teams with members who live in remote locations are gradually becoming the norm. This development offers a significant opportunity to individuals everywhere, and as a professional, you should seek to take advantage of it.
4. Importance of Employee Well-Being
The additional stress, isolation, and disruption caused by the pandemic has aggravated many people’s mental health during both work and non-work hours. However, returning to office will not resolve these issues.
In fact, in a recent McKinsey study of over 2,900 people last year, one-third of those who had just returned to work said it had negatively impacted their mental health.
Developing a strong, resilient, and powerful business started with its employees’ well-being. As a result, more business leaders will prioritize mental health in the workplace.
Employers must prioritize ensuring their workforce is aided before they can truly move forward, whether that means implementing more mental health training and protocols for managers, providing more resources and tools, or encouraging more flexible work benefits such as additional breaks and time off to help combat burnout.
5. Popularity of Video-Based Communication
In any type of business, teamwork and communication are two of the best strategies. Now that you’re managing a remote one, they’re crucial. Companies should seriously consider creating a virtual water cooler because there are fewer possibilities for employees to engage in person. This will encourage communication, teamwork, and collaboration.
The current foundation of remote work arrangements is unified communications as a service (UCaaS), which includes Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype.
Many companies accomplish this by holding weekly all-hands meetings that are attended by the entire staff. This typically takes the form of a video conference call using a web conferencing tool or a cloud-based corporate phone system.
The objective is to foster mutual trust and confidence among remote employees so that they feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves.
6. Growing Cybersecurity Awareness
As the growth of remote work expands, businesses must continue to prioritize prevention, agility, and resiliency, as well as take a broader, more holistic approach to security management.
It is difficult to manage multiple tools and services across multiple cloud platforms and data centers.
Rethinking risks and ensuring that the right expertise is available in-house or through a partner will be critical to supporting a strong security ecosystem.
Companies are beginning to recognize this and are strengthening their cybersecurity protocols.
Even before the pandemic became the new normal in March 2020, analysts predict that the total value of cybersecurity products will exceed $1 trillion by the end of 2021.
Furthermore, recent studies indicate that global cybersecurity spending will rise by 10% as the economy recovers from the pandemic.
7. Rise of Virtual Collaboration and Team-building Tools
To support our new reality, software designed to facilitate distributed team collaboration is rapidly progressing.
From new solutions like Alibaba’s DingTalk and Cisco’s AR conferencing offering to professional and industry-specific Slack communities.
The virtual events industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 23.7 percent between 2021 and 2028.
Companies are running online team building activities, and new businesses are working hard to improve how we communicate and collaborate.
We anticipate new and exciting VR opportunities that will combine to create a surreal level that is almost impossible to imagine.
Much of the technology already exists; however, it has yet to become more widely available and affordable.
Final thoughts on Remote Work Trends
Even more so than in-person meetings, remote work software will replace mobile work tools and virtual reality conferencing as the primary method of communication. AI will probably play a significant part in managing remote employees as well.
These developments could make businesses feel more at ease. Although managing a remote workforce might be challenging, it is possible to make the shift smoothly with the correct technology and motivated staff.
Fighting the change might be detrimental in the long run. Today’s workforce has grown accustomed to working remotely. 99 percent of now working remotely would wish to continue doing so for the rest of their lives, according to Buffer. Nine points more than the result from the same survey last year, that is.