Originally, many people chose to work from home in order to spend more time with their families while still earning an income. Others chose it for the anonymity and to avoid a crowded workplace.
Others, still, worked from home in order to save on expenses while starting a new business. Today, more people than ever are working remotely from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so much of the workforce working from home – and enjoying it – what does the future of remote work look like?
Face-to-face careers are changing
The remote workforce will also start to include careers that were once confined to face-to-face interaction. As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, future remote workers can include medical doctors, mental health workers, lawyers, judges, and teachers. In addition, in-house corporate careers will become almost exclusively remote careers including graphic designers, copywriters, accountants, and more.
As these professionals start to embrace their value and welcome the opportunity to work remotely and at their own pace, they also embrace the concept of the gig economy. The gig economy lets a single accountant work for several companies at one time. Each company becomes a client versus the accountant becoming an employee. This trend will continue to grow into the future because:
- Freelancers will have the ability to control their client load, workload, income and most importantly their time.
Like remote work, the gig economy is here to stay. In its strictest terms, remote work doesn’t only mean working from a home office – it means working from any location that is not the traditional corporate office setting. Many people who work in the gig economy do so because they want to travel while earning an income, and a laptop and portable office mean they can do so from anywhere.
Small businesses will embrace hybrid work
In the future, remote work will play an ever-increasing role in the freelance, small business, and corporate arenas. Many companies will allow team members to work exclusively from home while others will embrace the hybrid work model. Many corporations are locked into leases for corporate space, so will want to make use of it while still moving in the direction of the future.
Professionals in high demand will start having a greater say in how and where they work. As they negotiate job descriptions and salaries, remote work in the setting of their choosing will be part of the negotiation and hiring process. In addition, technology will start to move in the direction of remote work – it already has. Some of the tech advantages that make remote work easier include:
- Cloud storage
- Laptops and tablets
- Ergonomic seating
- Headsets and earbuds
- Printers and scanners
Even travel and mobility options like sturdy laptop bags and protective sleeves will continue to evolve as part of the future of remote work and lead to new businesses and to industries borne solely to make remote work easier.
Creating comfortable, well-appointed home and travel workstations will give rise to even more innovation. Standing desks, ergonomic chairs, adjustable desks, even glasses that reduce computer eye strain – these are all modern inventions that support the remote workforce.
Remote technology tools with change business culture
Additionally, small businesses, mid-size companies, and huge corporations will start to adjust their training methods to accommodate distance workers. Trainings will be conducted remotely via webinars and other online learning models. At the same time that new training modalities are being developed, new tools are being developed.
Company culture will have to be redefined to include remote workers in the future. That means businesses will have to learn new things about inclusiveness, planning, and goal sharing. Outdated tech tools, old machinery, and dated equipment that make working remotely a challenge will receive updates and upgrades.
Small businesses will change how they hire talent
New virtual meeting spaces will start to crop up. Online video conferencing options will expand as will the ways information is shared, and files are exchanged. These advances will mean more companies explore which jobs can be done remotely and which must remain in-office.
- Security will also need an overhaul to meet the needs of remote work. Unscrupulous hackers and creators of malware will look for opportunities to wreak havoc on remote workers
- Tech innovations like online workboards, audio and video conference calls, file and photo sharing, and performance management solutions will introduce increasingly innovative options and solutions
- 5G and other technologies will take over the online world as more people are logging onto the internet to provide faster, more reliable connectivity for increasing numbers of online workers
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools like online scheduling, chatbots, and other administrative tools lean more toward automation rather than human interaction will continue to have an increased presence among the remote workforces
- Cloud-based technology will keep growing and expanding to include more than mere file and photo storage
Workers will improve their knowledge of remote tools
Time tracking, team collaboration, and project management apps will help far distant teams connect and collaborate without confusion. Imagine five different remote workers for a single company each working in different word processing software.
One on Word, one on Google Docs, one in OpenOffice, and etc. Now imagine the confusion, frustration, and slow-down that can lead to. A single online workboard app and shared software subscriptions can eliminate potential confusion and annoyance.
As team members learn to work remotely, they must also learn to work together in a new way. Team building retreats for corporations and small businesses will help remote teams learn the tools and techniques that foster camaraderie.
These events can be done virtually or live and in person. Their goal is to help remote workers learn to connect in many of the same ways in-office workers do – to create a new type of water cooler.
When people are allowed the kind of flexibility that lets them fully embrace their chosen careers while also luxuriating in the chosen lifestyle, they will be happier, more productive staff members. They might also be more focused during work hours as more and more companies embrace the reality that where their team members work is not as important as the caliber of work they produce.