In 2021, remote work will feel more natural as a large majority of us have been doing it for almost a year now. One important thing to acknowledge is that remote work is more than a covid trend. The office landscape has changed completely. Studies have shown that an overwhelming majority of the workforce wants to work from home at least once a week and believes everyone should have the opportunity to work remotely. As we’ve taken the last few months to settle into our remote work routines and lifestyles, we’ve been able to adjust and learn what works best for us, our partners, our roommates, and more importantly our pets. Working from home is only going to get easier.
We’ve done some research and gathered data to see what the effects of virtual work has been this year. The percentage of workers permanently working from home is expected to double in 2021, according to a survey from Enterprise Technology Research (ETR). Another recent Gartner CFO survey revealed that over two-thirds (74%) plan to permanently shift employees to remote work after the Covid-19 crisis ends. Companies like Facebook, Twitter and Square are leading the way as they have already announced plans for permanent remote work.
When teams were forced to work remotely this year, the main concern for many companies was productivity. No one knew how virtual meetings and messaging was going to affect productivity. Can we be more productive with a flexible schedule and no coworkers around to watch us? Can we turn our video off during a meeting and still pay attention? Well the results are in and remote work can be more productive. Of the more than 1,000 CIOs interviewed for the ETR survey, 48.6% reported that productivity has improved since workers began working remotely, with only 28.7% of respondents indicating a decline in productivity. For the workforce, the biggest benefit of remote work is having a flexible schedule. This has helped increase productivity as individuals can now work when they feel most productive rather than confined to a schedule that is not one size fits all. Schedules can differ significantly between early birds and night owls, and yet this can work as long as there are a few designated overlap hours for meetings and live time collaboration. This opens the door for companies to hire teams from all over the world and diversify their talent. The next big question will be if and how pay should be decided based on location...but that’s a discussion for another day.
Though productivity is on the incline, we’re going to need a lot more than video/audio conferencing for the future of remote work. Just seeing and hearing our teammates on a call is not a sustainable form of collaboration. We need to be able to pull up notes, a virtual whiteboard, share files, use a remote browser, jump from different meeting rooms etc all in one place. Old school platforms like Zoom and Webex are not going to cut it. New remote team collaboration tools like RemoteHQ are coming up with unique solutions to working from home. These platforms will be around even as teams start going back into the office as we were spending a large percentage of our time working with our coworkers online even when we were in the office - there’s always going to be remote collaboration. By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels, according to Upwork’s “Future of Workforce Pulse Report”. It’s time to start thinking about how to optimize your remote work experience!