While some organizations are continuing to thumb their noses at the loss of the best talent during the Great Resignation period, others insist that the writing is on the wall. Remote work culture brought into the scene during the pandemic is here to stay. The past few years have been quite transformative for remote work and those expecting the flexibility to work remotely.
Before the pandemic happened, merely 6% of employees worked in remote environments primarily. But with the sudden shift in work culture, the remote working future expects 25% of professionals to work remotely by the end of 2023 (Source).
It doesn’t end here as there are more prominent trends around remote work options, including:
1. Only 13% of the executives are supportive of a fully-remote work model – PWC
Remote work flexibility, which was mostly a Silicon Valley perk, became a necessity for many organizations because of the pandemic. Now that the situation is back to normal, the hybrid work trend has emerged considerably. It was reported that 60% of the workforce wants to work from home most of the time or always. However, not every employer is comfortable with this setup.
The PWC Survey found that only 13% of executives support a fully-remote working future. In such a scenario, the hybrid work model is no more than a compromise between the demand and supply side of talent.
2. Employee well-being has become one of the six key themes for the HR leadership agenda
While organizations have long recognized the importance of well-being, the pandemic further emphasized the same. As a result, employee well-being has risen as an organizational agenda, being the top-ranked trend for importance in the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends study.
Similar other reports cited it to be one of the top themes on the agenda for HR leadership. The lack of social connection and sense of belonging at work often makes both new and long-serving remote workers deal with stress, which requires corporate wellness efforts to take the center stage.
3. Individuals that freelanced in 2021 increased to 59 million – an 11.3% rise since 2014
This could be quite obvious. As employers become more comfortable with the hybrid workforce, they increasingly turned to freelance platforms to find the best talent. As per Upwork data, the number of Americans who freelanced rose from 53 million (2014) to 59 million (2021). Alongside, around half of senior corporate executives expect to use digital talent platforms substantially as a part of the remote working future, said HBR research.
All these numbers defining the remote work trends might have made you think of the following:
Have Employers’ and Employees’ Perspectives on Remote Work Changed Post-Pandemic?
With a few years of remote work experience under their belts, more organizations are becoming comfortable with the new work environment. Admittedly, certain industries and countries are better placed for remote work. There are many sides and stats that confirm it’s time to embrace the remote working future and make them work for your organization. Here’s what the change in perspective of both employees looks like (as per Pew Research Center):
- 59% of U.S. workers say their work can be done from home most of the time.
- 61% of the workers now say they choose not to go to their workplace, while 38% of them confirm their workplace is unavailable to them.
- Preference to work from home is one of the major reasons behind this behavioral shift (76% now in comparison to 60% in 2020).
- Remote work environment has been a relatively new experience for a majority (57%) of workers having jobs that can be done remotely. They had never or rarely worked from home prior to the shift brought forward by the pandemic.
- 60% of U.S. workers do not have jobs that can be done from home.
Other than the employee side of remote work opportunities, here’s how employers think of it:
- As per Gartner survey, 82% of employers expect to allow remote work options in the post-pandemic environment.
- Only 5% of executives believed that a fully-removed work environment can help build a strong organizational culture, as per PwC report.
- 82% of executives believe that their employees have the know-how to make the required transition to remote work tools (Source).
As you can see here, there has been mixed opinion around the remote working future and its adoption across industries. Companies who feel they can benefit from providing the flexibility to work remotely are accepting on one side. On the other, many others feel it hampers productivity and overall output and hence, are voicing against the same.
Let’s look at the list of perks for employers accepting the remote working model.
How Do Employers Save Money with the Remote Work Model?
Amidst the concerns related to rising inflation and expected recession, many organizations think of remote working future and present as a part of being in the cost-cutting mode. While doing so, they save money in several different ways as defined below:
- Replacing the in-person work environment with a fully remote or hybrid culture allows them to save on real estate costs. Before the pandemic happened, real estate costs ranged from 3-9% of S&P 500 Budgets across industries. This comes from the fact that companies do not use office space efficiently. Switching to the remote or hybrid work model can help then cut real estate costs by 50%. On a granular level, companies can save up to $11,000 per employee by allowing the workforce to work remotely for 2-3 days a week (Source).
- With the drop in real estate possession, there are cost savings related to other utilities like energy consumption, Internet services, and others. On the same line of thought, you will need lesser staff for office cleaning, which again saves on cost.
- If your organization also offers food and drinks as an employment perk in the office cafeteria, transitioning to the remote work model will reduce these costs as well.
- Another result of embracing fully remote or hybrid work models is the reduced tax burden on an organizational level, a part of which is based on payroll and property in use.
Other than these common highlights of employer’s savings with remote work, you know what works for you. But what about the challenges that come forward when you think of switching for the better?
Significant Challenges Against Adoption of Remote Work Culture
When you allow the workforce to access confidential information for remote work, ensuring adequate security measures are in place becomes a high priority. After all, it becomes a matter of who can access what, how, and where. Besides this, it has also been found that a remote or hybrid work environment is a significant passage for data security threats to pass through.
If you look at the numbers, 85% of cyber attacks begin with a human factor (Source). It can be because it is easy to manipulate employees and gain unauthorized access to intrinsic data. Hence, it is quite important to improve cyber security resilience for your organization.
2. Employee Compliance
As said above, insider threats become a significant part of data breaches. This is where framing an iron-clad remote working policy for your employees is crucial. This should be aimed at capitalizing on the trends related to remote or hybrid work models and outlines various protocols to be followed on the employees’ side.
Employee compliance to the policies in place will prevent unnecessary exposure to an external threat. Also, it will help define an effective hiring process to find the best talent that stays for a long tenure.
3. Productivity challenges
Allowing your employees to work from home has been a constant fear for plenty of organizations. They believe the workforce will be less productive as it is easy to get distracted and put in less work than in the case of regular in-person visits to the office.
For a major proportion of the employees in the U.S. working remotely, there has been a 14% productivity drop than those working in the office environment. Many of them are now keen to look for a job that allows hybrid if not fully remote work flexibility where they can work at least some days from home.
4. Communication Gap
On Monday’s team conference call, the team manager is confused about whether some of his team members are really on mute or are not paying any attention to the team agenda.
If you can relate to this, you know how difficult it can be to manage team communication and collaboration in a remote work environment. While some employers look at the positives related to remote working, others consider the least use of verbal communication. In fact, even 20% of employees feel that communication and efficient collaboration are their biggest struggles.
5. Job burnout and stress
Remote work opportunities have leaped from less than four percent of all highly-paid jobs before the pandemic to more than 15% in 2022 (Source). But there is a parallel rise in job burnout to an all-time high. Three in five workers experienced work-related stress that has resulted in a lack of interest and motivation.
With all these negative sides of switching to a remote environment, where’s the positive one? What does the remote working future have in store for your organization? Let’s find out.
What Does The Future of Remote Work Look Like?
- The percentage of fully remote organizations will stay under 30% of the total count, and some roles will never be remote.
- 10% of the workforce in the U.S. will most likely be fully remote.
- Clear performance metrics that can be verified with quantitative data are important to make remote work models a success for most organizations.
- Companies also need to invest in better ways to hire new employees and streamline the overall hiring process.
Start Hiring for Remote Workforce with Connect Tech & Talent
The pandemic era has introduced both advantages and challenges related to the remote work environment to millions of businesses and customers. Want to hire the best talent to build a world-class organization that is either fully or partially remote? Hire Connect Tech & Talent to streamline your recruitment process. For more information, click here.