Remote work has been a key focus for keeping business productivity while improving work-life balance over the past decade, a trend that does not show any signs of slowing down. The State of Remote Work 2019 found that more than 40 percent of remote workers plan to work remotely more frequently in the future, and more than half of on-site workers want to work remotely in the future. Whilst remote work is not new, in 2020, the adoption of remote work has been further accelerated in a way that is least expected by many: a global pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has made all of us go through a period of confinement. With companies around the world being forced to work from home due to lockdowns, the biggest remote work shift in history started.
Remote work is growing across many sectors for which the location of workers is not relevant anymore, but their knowledge and experience is. It has also undergone a lot of changes ever since the first flexible telecommuting companies showed up, said Matthew Paulson, founder of MarketBeat.com and Startup SiouxFalls.com. New technologies have appeared and older ones have faded away – the trends of remote work will be more “all-remote” as workers embrace asynchronous workflows in their own native time zones.
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Companies are testing remote work in a hybrid environment, meaning instead of switching completely to a remote-based environment, they will start by working a few days per week from home. This hybrid setting helps business leaders tackle isolation or communication challenges in a remote setting, as well as potential concerns with productivity, allowing employers to gain profit from remote work advantages.
Although there have been a few remote-friendly communication and collaboration software, many of them are not designed to be used by team members across different locations, time zones, or connection types. Businesses will require tools that can be used in such diverse conditions to promote an on-going, in-person like experience to mitigate the isolation challenges of remote working individuals.
As more of the workforce moves online, there should be focused on the improvements in cyber-security systems within organisations. Development of new better protection focused on a remote working organisation can also be expected. There will also be a more important rise of services targeted to digital nomads and remote working professionals that travel often, such as cheap, prepaid sim cards or mobile hotspots to be able to have a reliable and fast internet connection anywhere in the world.
Moreover, remote-based professionals and organisations who have experiences of working remotely and managing remote teams should share their insights even further, giving more guides, handbooks, and references that will facilitate the transition of those who are just starting.
It can be more difficult for remote-based teams to feel important or connected with the company they work for. Teams rarely interact physically with each other, which might potentially lead to less cohesiveness within the group. This is a common problem that employers have to face as their jobs become more and more remote. The solution to this problem would lie beyond the implementation of video conference or in-company chat tools. Many will have the need to start reviewing their workflows, communication protocols and collaboration frameworks, to integrate remote work within a team and update them to become more easily used in a hybrid all-remote work environment.