What is the Future of Remote Work After COVID-19?
Remote work is here to stay, whether mandated by employers or due to employees' personal choices. Work will probably never be the same as it was before. Even though we know work will change, it’s not possible to determine all the different ways. Luckily, remote work trends tell us the general direction of hiring, virtual event planning, and more.
COVID-19 forced small, medium, and large enterprises to adapt quickly. However, remote work after COVID is still uncertain. While this migration has proven successful for many organizations, challenges still exist, and business managers will need to be mindful of those challenges.
Remote work during the pandemic
While some companies quickly adopted remote work during the pandemic, others embraced it slowly and reluctantly. Going forward businesses will likely have remote working as a key tool to maintain business continuity. To propel this forward, they may offer strong company support for working remotely and a structured work from home policy.
Securing remote work infrastructure has been a critical challenge. Before, companies managed everything centrally. Now mass remote working often dictates a need for structural security changes and adjustments. Employees see data and network security as a priority — and it’s no wonder. In 2020, experts have seen a 667% increase in phishing scams.
On the other hand, while employees create a virtual workspace at home, they are also balancing their personal and professional lives. Their professional and personal life boundaries have been blurred, posing a threat to team and individual productivity. To help their remote teams navigate this, employers have actively invested in their employee's well-being.
Why remote work is the future
Employers may find that long term remote work is an option for their employees and business even after the pandemic. This is because of its positive impact on employee productivity, reduced real estate costs and a positive impact on the environment.
Many businesses may not continue their remote work policy after the pandemic ends, while quite a few may continue having flexible work options for their employees. Flexible work policies will give rise to a growing need for co-working or shared workspaces and hot desking office models.
The largest-ever global work from home experiment has helped remote teams learn new ways to communicate, set up varied productivity routines, and quickly adopt remote collaboration tools and technologies at work. Implementing remote work is not a one-time endeavor. Building up a functional remote work infrastructure across your company is a more significant undertaking than most companies realize. An understanding and robust corporate culture, coupled with a structured work from home approach, is essential.
Remote work trends: Looking to the future
Expect remote work to carry on
A recent survey confirmed that the rise of remote work is likely to continue, with 77% of people expecting to work at least three days a week remotely. Specific occupations where remote working levels were already high before the pandemic have an increased likelihood of continued remote work.
Employers will define remote working goals to match evolving business needs
The majority of newly-remote companies pivoted because of the Coronavirus pandemic. But a pandemic cannot be a goal. To continue remote work beyond the pandemic, companies will need to ask themselves, 'why are we doing this'?
Here are a few reasons why companies may choose to continue allowing employees to work remotely:
- To optimize company costs by reducing office rentals
- Increase individual and team productivity
- Make corporate culture more flexible and in tune with employee needs
- Adapt to changing business trends and evolving market needs
Some companies may also take steps to realign their workforce numbers with a changing business landscape. They may resort to more permanent workforce reductions, including furloughs, lay-offs, or increasing use of contract workers to match their business needs and maintain profitability.
Reimagining new work from home policies and practices
After business goals are clear and defined, the leadership team will need to set up a new work style and remote working practices. Some companies may choose to optimize work communication by holding weekly virtual team meetings and setting up remote productivity standards.
Once the 'why’ is clear, companies will need to define how remote work will be successfully supported on a long term basis. New remote work practices must be reflected in revised human resource policies and hiring practices. Since remote working is here to stay, short term solutions will not help. Companies will need to plan for the long term and reset their business plans, corporate culture, and strategies accordingly.
Many companies may even choose to implement a hybrid remote work culture where employees can decide to be based out of the office on some days and work from home on other days.
How Wrike helps remote teams succeed
Remote teams, both old and new, thrive when they have a virtual workspace where they are able to optimize workflows and work together seamlessly. Wrike's flexible work management platform allows teams to manage workloads, streamline processes and communicate seamlessly from anywhere on the globe. To learn how Wrike can help your remote teams collaborate from anywhere and get results, sign up for a free trial today.