The Future of Remote Working

  • As of October 2020, remote work has completely transformed into a new normal seven months later, with a 42% increase in individuals who work from home.
  • 25% of companies surveyed on remote work plan to keep 10% of their total workforce working from home.
  • Studies show that many employees find themselves more productive while working at home.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work around the world was at an increase in recent years. Prior to the initial lockdowns and quarantines in March 2020, 1.47 million Americans were already working from home. As of October 2020, remote work has completely transformed into a new normal seven months later, with a 42% increase in individuals who work from home. Furthermore, companies do not plan to go straight back to non-remote work after the pandemic is over; in fact, 25% of companies surveyed on remote work plan to keep 10% of their total workforce working from home. The statistics tell us that the remote work revolution is here, and it is here to say. What does that say about the future of remote work?

Additionally, distractions that may have decreased their productivity in the workplace (water cooler conversations with colleagues and similar office distractions) have disappeared, enabling them to dedicate more time to their work.

1) An Increase in Productivity

While the initial shift period to remote work may have been difficult for some, especially those with limited access to online tools or resources, studies show that many employees find themselves more productive while working at home, with a whopping 77% reporting greater productivity overall. This high percentage comes from several different factors. Without the stress and extra time of commuting, getting dressed and hurrying to get to work in the morning, employees are getting better rest and, as a result, achieving higher levels of focus on their workload. Additionally, distractions that may have decreased their productivity in the workplace (water cooler conversations with colleagues and similar office distractions) have disappeared, enabling them to dedicate more time to their work.

2) Lower Turnover Rates

Besides an increase in productivity, remote workers are reporting increases in well-being due to spending more time with their loved ones. Factors that have influenced this growth in well-being include having more chances to get some physical exercise and the ability to eat healthier at home than go out for lunch every day. As a result, the employee turnover rate has decreased by 25%. Those who now work from home are more likely to stay with their company due to overall work satisfaction.

3) Enhanced Security Risks

Remote work has its disadvantages as well as its advantages. One of the bigger cons of remote work is the potential for security breaches or invasions of privacy. While cybersecurity has been a concern since the invention of the Internet, it has increased due to remote work prominence. As a result, companies are finding better ways to control their company’s security, such as access management processes. With access management, companies work to authenticate employees to make sure no outsiders are attempting to breach their systems. Other benefits of access management include enforcing strong passwords and mitigating any outside attacks from hackers.

22% of remote workers report struggling between mentally separating work life from home life, as the two have become combined.

4) Risk of Isolated Feelings

Another con to remote work has been the negative emotions that come from remote work. 22% of remote workers report struggling between mentally separating work life from home life, as the two have become combined. 19% reported having greater feelings of isolation and loneliness due to less face time with friends and colleagues. 17% of workers also miss the natural collaboration that comes with working with others, leading to a decrease in motivation for some. As such, the mental health of remote work has come into question as much as the subject of physical health during the pandemic.

5) More Limited Global Opportunities, but More Local Opportunities

44% of global workplaces don’t allow remote work in any shape or form. In 2020, this is considered by many to be a pretty high statistic, considering the COVID-19 pandemic has hit just about every corner of the globe. This statistic has both positive and negative connations. As a result of a more limited work scope globally, employees are likely to seek remote work in their home country, boosting the local economy and workforce. At the same time, limiting global remote work can discourage individuals from seeking out international opportunities or lessening their desire to travel.

Remote work has had an enormous development in 2020, thanks to COVID-19. With that fact comes both advantages and disadvantages. The future remains unclear, but one thing is for sure: now, more than ever, employees and employers all over the world must adapt to and redefine their workplace at a time unlike any other.

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Abby Drexler

Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a major in Public Relations.

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