What Is The Future of Remote Work?
Blown open by the lockdown & Covid-19 in 2020, the ‘work from home’ remote work-style window is now becoming the order of the day. Companies are now downsizing, not their number of staff, but the number of staff that actually come to the office. Why not?
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First, the new strategy is necessary due to Covid-19 social distancing. When it became obvious that the style is more cost efficient, companies began to keep staff at home while they work out of their private workspace remotely. Cost of running the office is drastically reduced, and staff don’t get to leave their bed. Win-Win.
Nevertheless, this new trend has birthed a boom in the remote work space. Skilled workers all over the world have now realized that working with anyone from anywhere is totally doable, but what are the prospects of remote jobs? Is this a sustainable trend?
Reasons People Move To Remote Jobs
To get a full view of the discourse, one must view the subject from all sides. Why, in the first place, are people taking up remote jobs?
Here are some of the reasons people take up remote jobs:
- To avoid the stress of commuting to work daily
- The in-person jobs in their environment aren’t that great
- To avoid toxic office spaces
- Fewer unnecessary meetings
- To avoid the security issues that come with commuting to/from work
- To get a good work-life balance
- Get more time for hobbies
- Get quality family time
- Get flexible timing, and so on
From the look of this, people choose to take on remote jobs for a plethora of reasons. However, one thing is consistent, remote jobs allow employees to have things on their own terms.
The Rise of Remote Work
Owl Labs, in a report they called Remote Work Report in 2021, suggests that 2020 was the ‘turning point’ year for remote work. About 90% of the 2,050 full-time office-going employees that responded said that they were more productive, even better than when they struggled to go to their offices before the pandemic.
In the two and half years that have followed, employees have now fully grown into the realization that full remote work does not only make them more productive, it also gives them the opportunity to balance their work and life outside the job.
Industry watchers can now only agree that the percentage of remote work involved in a job role is now a major factor to consider when people pick up jobs.
For instance, a professional who’s well versed in their craft will not pick a job that offers 50% remote role over another that offers 100% remote option, even if they both offer similar salaries/wages.
Surprisingly, many companies, especially banks, still believe that remote work is not orthordox or proper. Most of them believe that there is a lot to lose from having their staff stay home, even if profit is increasing.
They consider issues like cybersecurity, team bonding, walk-in customers, complaints resolution, and so on. They forget that what they must find is a way around every downside of remote work that’s peculiar to them, the world has already moved on from where they are.
What is the future of remote work?
Is remote a sustainable concept or it’s a mere temporary trend? These are very important questions in the grand scheme of things. For sure, this has to go beyond what it means only for the employee.
For a phenomenon to go beyond flashes of good prospects or ability to surpass expectations, it must first add value to even be considered sustainable.
How does remote work impact us as a society? Here are a few ways remote work impacts us as a society:
Immediate communities benefit
Employees are freed from being stuck in the major cities that house their office complexes, and stay back to grow their small towns and cities. Knowing that they are now true residents of their communities, cities, and towns, they tend to invest more in its growth while still keeping their productivity high.
Barriers of location/proximities removed
Location and proximity of the office complex is now removed as a barrier in getting job opportunities. You can sit in your home in faraway Nigeria, and apply for a full-time job in the US – this does not deter you from becoming employee of the month.
Workplace discrimination lessens
Workplace discrimination lessens in the workplaces. As the workplace becomes continually virtual, it becomes increasingly difficult to pick on employees based on beliefs, skin colour, hygiene, ability to tell great jokes, and all other stuff irrelevant to the actual work. Remote work allows everyone to focus on the job at hand, and only that.
Quality family time
Remote work allows people who wish to spend more time with family do that with unfettered access. Moreso, dog/cat moms and dads have a lot to be thankful for – sometimes, having these pets around while working could be therapeutic.
This is how to harness the best of people.
General health of the employee
The cutback on the hustle and bustle involved with going to work and coming back home definitely has its positive impacts on the general health of the employee.
A remote worker can get distracted by family, friends, or even pets while working from home.
This, however, can be mitigated by assisting affected employees with resources to help them stay isolated during the duration of the day’s work. This could be in the form of setting up a private office space in the attic, or sending the lovely ‘distractions’ on a vacation – whichever is cheaper.
Cost of internet
With the increase in remote work, comes the unprecedented cost of the internet used to complete the work now. For communication, meetings, and the actual work, remote workers now require high internet bandwidth.
Remote employers are being creative with this, they make sure they don’t foot the entire internet bill. Most times, the remote worker gracefully switches on their WiFi to complete the jobs at hand once the company’s internet is exhausted. It’s all convenient.
Lack of supervision
Then, not all employees have the capability to work without supervision. This is the biggest challenge of the remote work trend. Some staff simply require a senior partner to manage their time, priorities, or job expectations for them.
Re-training these sections of workers may prove productive, but ultimately, it’s always more beneficial to replace them with people who can handle themselves better.
Remote work definitely adds a lot of value to us as humans and as a group of people striving for better lives. The results of a recent survey conducted by Intuition reveals that about 62% of employees now expect their employers to allow them to move their roles to full remote style.
The significant jump in the remote work statistics between pre-covid and post-covid eras is extremely wide in all demographics it’s been measured. You did not hear it first here, but the earlier you become adept at working remotely, the better for your career.