The pandemic may (or may not) about to end soon...but the trend for remote work won’t.
When the whole world shuttered its offices and points of physical contact at the height of the pandemic, the working world was reluctantly driven to work from home. With their laptops and a decent internet connection, workers made the best of the situation
But now that Covid is getting smaller from our collective rearview mirrors and it seems like we are finally coming out of the tunnel, how does remote work look from a long-term perspective?
Here we will talk about 4 reasons why remote work will solidly persist into the future and will be the way we do business.
#1 The nature of work has fundamentally changed.
Simply put, there is no going back to the old ways of doing things. Covid has not only killed our old precepts of what it means to be working or running a business, but it has also spawned new ways of delivering service.
Covid made the various digital transformations happen at a faster clip. Paper documents have gone digital, and what used to be face-to-face interactions in personal space are now captured as smart apps.
The nature of the jobs has changed, so the requisite skills for them also did. More and more jobs are now computer-based.
Change becomes even more apparent when we realise that during the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of medical checkups around the world have been performed remotely, without ever setting foot in a doctor’s office. Businessmen have been meeting virtually and appreciated more time with their families rather than sitting in airport lounges. Activities and interactions formerly thought could and should only be done personally became more acceptable virtually.
Geography used to be a big factor in hiring for one’s team, but it is now becoming lesser of an issue by the day.
A slew of societal shifts coincided with Covid. There were things like the “Great Resignation,” which upended the labour market, or interest rate moves by the Fed, which would echo economically for generations. Then the “Metaverse” entered the daily lexicon. These and their knock-on effects have instituted transformations that have fundamentally changed society.
The past two years have seen tremendous social, economic and political upheavals. The rise and the continued rise of remote work is just a symptom of it. There is no going back to pre-pandemic society.
#2 Remote work has proven cost-efficient.
Remote Work has long been trumpeted as a cost-effective measure. But in the early days of the pandemic, when businesses retreated to it, savings was not at the forefront of their motivations. Companies went virtual not for savings, but to save themselves. As they cannot continue to be non-operational for months on end, waiting for the coronavirus to make its way through the population.
So companies, reluctantly, were nudged to remote work.
And it seems like they are liking what they’re seeing. Having experienced the positives of a remote workforce, they expect to maintain the setup even when the pandemic has receded. And if you think it’s just the small businesses that are jumping to work-from-home permanently, the big names are in on it too.
Office space demand unlikely to return to pre-Covid level in 2022
— Real Estate Blog PH (@r_estateblogph) July 21, 2022
Cost is a big factor in adoption. Global Workplace Analytics estimates, conservatively, that every employee working remotely can save a company $22,000 a year. The bulk of the savings come from “increased productivity, lower real estate costs, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and better disaster preparedness.”
It’s a win-win scenario as employees themselves secure cost benefits from telecommuting. The average worker gains an extra $4,000 a year. By not having to commute every morning, one skips paying for public transportation, or in the case of car owners, having to pay for gas, parking, insurance and maintenance. A more casual dress code, cuts on spending for premium business suits as well as the costs of maintaining or cleaning them. Eating out and fueling on expensive lattes also become less of a risk.
Because cost is a potent driver for adoption, we can see that remote work will continue to grow every year. And it’s by choice this time, not by necessity.
#3 Remote work challenges have been addressed.
In the early days of pandemic-inspired work-from-home, people were overwhelmed with new types of work stress—like having to set up a home office, DIY-ing new-fangled tech, collaborating over a computer screen, even finding the privacy to work and not get jumped by one’s cat.
There was a dip in productivity.
As is the arrival of great opportunities, remote work had its share of birth pains.
Teams and organizations Zoomed so often, practically every day, in a bid to reclaim what typically happens in an office. There was Zoom fatigue. Leaders were wary of the new set-up and wanted to ensure that things were getting done.
But over the ensuing months, the groping and ad hoc practices have given way to a more stable way of working outside the office. People have figured out how to make things work for their business, and have since settled into nice daily routines.
Expectations have changed, and people have adapted to the novel ways of working. Leaders have since devolved more freedom, trusting their teams with newly established SOPs. Workers are given more leeway now.
The sticking points of a distributed workforce have been dealt with. And one of the biggest issues was that of collaborating virtually. It seemed impersonal and inefficient and took out the joy of interacting with a colleague. But instead of rushing back to the office as soon as restrictions are relaxed, society has doubled down and instead created vastly improved virtual collaboration tools.
Although these tools are still in their earliest incarnations, they have made online collaborations more human and more enjoyable, to the point of almost “gamifying” them. We have tools like Gather, for example, which allows teams and communities to customize spaces. You can re-create your office on this platform, make your avatar walk to a colleague’s cubicle and initiate a conversation.
With these innovative solutions, it will indeed be very hard to go back to the way things are.
#4 Employees want to work remotely.
Even before the pandemic, office workers yearn to be able to telecommute. Remote working was already a growing trend even before Covid.
As cloud computing and hardware & software technologies have improved, companies learned that they don’t need specialized on-site equipment to run the business. With today’s laptops vastly more powerful than the ones used to send a man to the moon, surely employees can track sales or perform marketing activities from home.
But more importantly, employees, having experienced remote working during the lockdowns, would like to continue with the set-up even after the pandemic. People have acclimated to the rigours of being remote.
- 90% said they are more productive than working in an office
- 74% said that working from home is better for their mental health
- 84% preferred working remotely after the pandemic, many even agreeing to pay cuts
With the “Great Resignation” proving that the labour force has woken to their collective bargaining power, companies have made remote work part of the enticement package to lure talents to the fold. Fifty-nine per cent (59%) expressed in a survey that they are more likely to choose an employer who offers remote work than one that doesn’t.
With the two sides, employers and employees, agreeing on the tremendous advantages of ditching the office and with all the technological innovations assisting its implementation, it is all but certain that remote work will be a permanent fixture in today’s business.
Remote work will be here to stay.
Kinetic Innovative Staffing recognizes remote work as a burgeoning business model. We believe it will be the future of work and how we collaborate as a society. Kinetic helps companies, big and small, hire the most skilled and qualified remote workers for their teams. Whether you’re looking for a graphic designer, a software developer, a writer, a social media coordinator etc., we will guide you, from start to finish, and help you land the best candidate...at the fraction of the cost.
Kinetic Innovative Staffing has been providing hundreds of companies in the Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East, and Europe with professionals working remotely from the Philippines since 2013. Get in touch to know more.