Is Remote Work the New Normal for 2021? 1

Technology is changing many workplace norms. Some in the long term and others quite faster. The global pandemic is rapidly driving these changes, and will leave a significant impact in the way we work. Although it’s hard to make definite predictions of the end, one thing is sure—some activities will return to the way they were. However, there will be a new normal for many other activities and processes in work environments. As companies explore the benefits of remote work, it is becoming valuable in the future of workplaces.

How COVID-19 Transformed the Way We Work

As people are figuring out how to work remotely, work-from-home is becoming popular among professionals. In fact, 54% of U.S workers would prefer to leave their current jobs for one that allows them to work from home. Companies are reporting significant increases in employee productivity, and the future of work looks to be a more flexible one.

Many employers may decide to implement flexible remote policies to have more employees work from home, and cut down on real estate costs. Moreover, as teams become geographically distributed, workplaces will grow to be cross-functional with diverse talents. This will significantly change how teams interact and collaborate in the future of work.

How Technology Simplified the Transition to Remote Work

Remote work tools are contributing to the rise of digital workplaces. They’re all trying to match the in-office experience for workflow, communication, collaboration, productivity, time tracking, and more. Most teams are able to work from wherever, as long as they have an Internet connection. Companies are utilizing tools like Zoom and Meet for meetings; Google drive for file sharing; and Trello for task management.

As teams work from home, many employers are using time trackers with screenshots to monitor remote employee productivity, and reduce wasted time. However, companies have to be careful with the way they adopt some of these tools. Teams must use the right apps in order to stay productive, and deliver desired output.

What’s Next After the Pandemic?

Companies may overhaul office spaces to reduce costs, and allow focused work to happen remotely. For corporations that will not fully operate virtually, work stations could be spaced, sanitary stations will be installed, and privacy booths as well. In all, face-to-face interactions will become reduced throughout workplaces, and remote tools will still be essential.

Is Remote Work the Future of Companies?

If companies want to increase employee retention and satisfaction, they must give attention to the 99% of existing remote workers who want to continue working from home. As the pandemic began to spread, major tech companies were among the first corporations to give employees work-from-home options. Now, they are also allowing their employees to work remotely till 2021, and some forever. Twitter has rolled out a remote policy that allows employees to work from home going forward. On the other hand, Google and Facebook employees will continue the setup until December. However, this may be able to extend into working remote policies.

Employers may be willing to explore remote work as a better option to build cross-functional teams of people with diverse ideas, and backgrounds. It’s becoming clear that companies can tap into global talent pools without having to worry about relocation, or other common barriers. Remote work is enabling decision makers to focus on employees; their strengths, motivations, interests etc.

Is Flexible Working the ‘New Normal’?

According to a Facebook employee survey, the greater number of workers want to be able to work from home, and the office. 20% of workers were ‘extremely interested’ in working from home full time, and another 20% are only somewhat interested. In all, they want flexibility.

On a long-term basis, this can be the preferred choice of all employees. Some professionals may actually enjoy commuting to the office, and the feeling that comes with being around colleagues. People want to be given the freedom to choose what suits their location and time preferences. If this is the case, flexibility will become the new normal.

Conclusion

Remote work has a critical role in the future of workplaces. It offers the opportunity for companies to become collaborative, empathetic, and innovative. Employers will be able to empower workers with the right tools to become more productive, thoughtful, and creative. The absence of physical interactions grooms every employee to be a natural problem solver.

Importantly, for a team to be efficient, it must include members that are satisfied. Even a day of work outside the office allows employees to look at their job from a different perspective. If decision makers are willing to experiment remote working policies, employee retention and engagement will be on the rise. Companies have to adopt the right tools, workflows, and culture. They must also drive inclusivity and pay close attention to worker feedback.