A world run by remote workers has been on the horizon for a long time, and the struggles of 2021 have only propelled it closer to reality. As we become wise to the perks of remote working, and start-ups grow to facilitate these location-independent workers, we can only assume that this new remote workforce is here to stay.
But what does the future of working remotely look like, and who are the brains behind its growth? Let’s discuss some of the emerging remote work trends that will shape the future of work, and new technologies and companies making them possible.
Will the workplace change?
To cut a long story short, the workplace has to change. There are no two ways about it.
Not just because of the elephant in the room (*cough* COVID-19), but because the world of work was already changing before the pandemic made big news. Companies with the technology, foresight, and open-minded employees made the transition from the office to this new COVID-centric world without too much interruption. Those who have struggled to adapt have unfortunately seen lots of bumps along the way, and some even met their end.
With more companies pandering to remote workers, there’s been a huge rush to help them out. This huge influx of temporary remote workers has given us incredible foresight of what the world could look like with a higher proportion of remote workers, and opened even more companies to the possibility of a remote workforce.
Which remote working trends are thriving at the moment?
Each new year comes with its challenges, and there’s no doubt that 2021 has been a tricky one for everyone involved. Despite its trials and tribulations, there are some clear trends emerging from communities of location-independent workers, many that are likely to continue in the near future.
Exodus from cities
With nation-wide lockdowns taking place across the globe, the appeal of big cities appear to be on a downwards spiral. The thriving social scenes, cultural hotspots, and stunning cityscapes that we all know and love have come to a standstill. Instead, we are left with over-priced rentals, empty streets, and a lack of green space.
COVID-19 has had lots of us reevaluating our priorities. The search for fresh air, green space, and affordable living seem to be at the top of the list while many of us make a bee-line away from the city streets and out into the open countryside.
Innovative remote-working software
We’re not exaggerating when we say that the world of remote working wouldn’t be anywhere without the help of technology. Productivity apps, video conferencing software, secure messaging systems, and everything else that comes along with it, make it easy to run a remote company without a hiccup. The need for permanent office space, those good old traditional brick, and mortars, is becoming increasingly obsolete.
What’s supporting the growth of remote working?
Advances in technology and future-thinking companies are both huge contributors as to why remote working has become so widespread in the world, allowing remote workers to transcend borders so easily. A while ago, the idea of remote working was considered to be absurd.
But, who could blame them? Back then, there were no virtual private networks, group conferencing software, or remote working tools to help you stay connected.
Nowadays, opening a company completely online is a simple and straightforward process with programs such as the Estonian e-Residency. There are several companies helping you hire, onboard, and pay employees wherever they are in the world. Managing teams is easier than ever thanks to ClickUp’s productivity platform; team meetings can be organized at the click of a button with Zoom, and you can even have a virtual watercooler in online offices such as TeamFlow.
Remote employee benefits
Since the idea of digital nomads and remote working came to life around the Millenium, smart thinkers have pooled their resources and pandered to the market. Nowadays, it’s never been easier to get everything you need with just a laptop in hand, and a reliable internet connection.
Companies are realizing the benefits of a global talent pool, but so do the remote workers: options for employment don’t have geographic boundaries anymore. You don’t have to choose between companies hiring in your area, you are free to choose from companies worldwide.
Because of this, companies realized that simply offering remote positions is not enough: employees expect certain benefits, such as a more flexible work schedule, healthcare, paid leave, and more. There are companies building the best possible future of remote work with products such as SafetyWing’s Remote Health: global health insurance for the whole team, no matter where they live. As opposed to traditional companies hiring locally, remote companies have a wider talent pool to choose from, making health insurance a huge challenge. With SafetyWing’s unique product, it doesn’t matter where your employees are based, they simply cover everyone worldwide under the same, easily customizable plan.
With the tools to do the job, companies that were originally stuck in their ways, are becoming a lot more open-minded to the possibility of remote working. In turn, this generates more remote workers, encouraging more businesses to cater to this arising industry. Creating a beautiful cycle of ever-lasting growth. Or, so we hope!
What are the remote working trends of the future?
With two-thirds of companies around the world planning to stick to the remote working policies that they’ve adopted during the pandemic, it’s looking like these remote working trends are here to stay.
The emergence of the ‘hybrid-workplace’
While we don’t expect every single company to turn to a solely remote workforce, there is a chance that many will choose to adopt a hybrid system. This is where a part of the core team works on company premises and the others work from home. The benefit of this hybrid system is that it gives a company the best of both worlds: access to the most talented global employees and more flexibility while still maintaining a strong company culture.
Start-ups will continue to focus on remote-working services
Self-employed remote workers and companies looking to go remote are continually on the lookout to streamline their day-to-day operations. In fact, according to the 2020 Future Workforce Report by Upwork, 77% of freelancers say technology has improved their chances of finding work. Moving away from the traditional workplace to a virtual workplace requires a completely different approach and a whole new set of tools. As millennials and Gen-Z employees start to take over the market, we’ll definitely see a lot more innovation on this side of things.
Focus on mental well-being and ‘real-life’ communication
A huge problem a lot of remote workers face is loneliness, mainly because of a lack of connection with co-workers. Human beings are sociable by nature, and working remotely can be incredibly isolating.
As much as it is the worker’s responsibility to keep sociable, it is equally the responsibility of their manager to facilitate real-time connectivity amongst teams. Employees need to know that they are a valuable part of the company, whether they’re in an office or on a beach in Barbados. Regular video calls are just one part of the solution. But as teams become even further spread across the globe, managers need to be more imaginative with their bonding activities.
Shorter working weeks
According to a recent CoSo Cloud survey, 77% of remote workers say that they’re much more productive when they’re working at home. In theory, this increase in productivity allows workers to shorten their working week while still earning the same income. Beyond the remote working world, lots of companies are going against the norm to introduce a four-day working week. They are keen to prove that four days a week at maximum productivity will amount to the same amount of work as a five day week at a reduced productivity level.
There’s no doubt that remote work still has its issues.
Things can be lonely, it’s far too easy to get distracted on those days that you just don’t feel like it, and there are no co-workers around you to give you that boost you might need. That’s not to mention the hurdles we have to overcome with effective and real-time communication.
Luckily, with the speed that technology is advancing and the investment that is going into remote working by both companies and individuals, it’s soon looking like none of this will matter.
Some of the brightest brains in the world are coming together to create novel tools, smart software and even virtual villages that could remedy all of our remote working problems.
With a strong team of innovative thinkers backing the remote working world, the possibilities for its future are limitless. It’s on us to make the world of remote better and available to everyone: through collaboration and knowledge sharing, holding companies up to a higher standard and asking for global health care and benefits, and not being afraid to create something that doesn’t exist yet.
So, if you are a remote worker or manage a remote team, reach out and let us know: What do you need to make your company a great place to work?
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