What Does the Future of Remote Work Look Like?

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With much of the world still in limbo reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, some in-person activities and businesses have returned to business as usual (as it can be), but many companies are still offering and functioning with remote workers. Some are hybrid operations, while others operate completely remotely even after vaccines have become widely available. This is because a remote work environment has actually opened up a lot of doors both for employers and employees. For employees, this offers a greater chance for a work life balance. Parents can provide child care and workers can live in areas that don’t cost as much. For employers, this opens up the hiring pool to a wider range of qualified candidates who have their own work ethic and valuable skills for jobs that we’re learning can be outsourced quite easily. There many things like company culture that while not lost have taken on a different form, and for some this can be difficult. Looking to the future, it’s reasonable to expect that remote jobs will be here to stay for the foreseeable future. The convenience for employees combined with the demand of the workforce for companies to offer remote work will keep this model around indefinitely. We spoke to several business leaders asking to share their thoughts on remote work, and their response predicted just that: remote work is here to stay.

Tools Have Become More Advanced

The pandemic forced the hand of many technological ideas that were already being used in smaller groups. We already knew that this added flexibility, there was just no reason to adopt it as the norm. “Because of the pandemic, technological and cultural barriers have been broken down to allow more people to work from home. It has become apparent that the majority of people can work remotely and still be highly productive,” said Nathalie Walton, Co-founder and CEO of Expectful. “With that, many employees are finding that they prefer the flexibility and ease of working from home rather than having to commute to an office every day. It’s becoming apparent that employees are even willing to leave on-site positions they otherwise enjoy to pursue other opportunities that will allow them to work from home as more companies begin bringing employees back in the office. One thing is clear, remote work is highly desirable among employees and, to some extent, is here to stay.”

As these tools become more established, we are developing even stronger methods for working remotely. The easier it becomes, the more of a cultural staple it will become. “It’s highly unlikely that remote work is going anywhere. Tools for remote operations are becoming more and more advanced, and more employees are striving to maintain a better work life balance and have more time for their families and themselves,” said Jae Pak, Founder of Jae Pak M.D. Medical.

More Options for Companies

For companies and business owners, there are benefits to continuing to offer remote positions. Alex Czarnecki, Founder and CEO of Cottage tells us “Companies are discovering that there is a wider pool of potential talent if they can provide remote positions within their business. There are certainly going to be benefits to having a core team of on the ground team members, but companies are realizing that outsourcing remote employees creates more diversity and brings in better talent overall.” This is a resounding thought from many business leaders. Jean Gregoire, Founder & CEO of Lovebox seconds this sentiment, “After the pandemic is over, companies will most likely move to a hybrid model for employees that live in the area. But, many companies have started to hire remote-only employees, and I believe that practice is here to stay. It opens your candidate pool immensely if you’re able to hire from anywhere. We have top-notch employees that work for us from all over the world.”

As we said, remote positions and the technology enabling it isn’t new. Many tech companies have hired remote coders for years, but now we are seeing that these jobs aren’t just for the tech industry. “Remote positions were largely seen in the tech industry prior to the pandemic. This is no longer the case and more companies are looking for remote administrators and human resource managers. These jobs are still essential, and many can indeed be done outside of the office such as accounting and time management,” said Brandon Amoroso, Founder and CEO of electrIQ marketing.

Work/Life Balance

At the end of the day, the workforce ultimately controls the types of jobs available. The pandemic is the first time we’ve seen the power of workers by demanding more remote jobs. These jobs offer a greater work/life balance, something that has become extremely important for potential hires. “The pandemic forced many companies to adopt new views of the work week, and while at first, they were thought to be temporary, the hybrid model is now seen as a viable option,” Woody Sears, Founder of HearHere. “With over 70% of Millennials stating that having work/life balance is an important factor in job consideration, companies looking to attract the best talent, have seen the advantages of offering remote work options. In addition, as businesses become more comfortable with remote work technology platforms, this trend will continue well into the future.”

The millennial generation has helped change the conversation around work and what role it plays in our lives. “The modern workforce has started to realize that while work is a necessity, it shouldn’t take up so much of our lives,” said Jonathan Simkin of Swiftly. “We need to feel free to nurture our daily lives, or we will end up burnt out like we’ve seen in past generations.” There’s no mistake that it’s time for such a change and employees deserve ample options to keep their work lives and home lives balanced and healthy.

Lower Overhead Costs

For businesses, remote offices have benefits other than keeping your employees happy and having more hiring opportunities. It can also greatly reduce your overhead costs by saving on office rentals and supplies. “Remote work has a few benefits for companies offering these positions. Looking to the future, businesses can operate with less overhead costs of renting expensive offices and pair down for a smaller headquarters for their businesses. It also creates a greater amount of flexibility for operating hours, allowing people to negotiate their schedules so you have a more extensive period of time where business can take place,” said Kashish Gupta, Founder and CEO of Hightouch.

This has created a vast amount of flexibility for businesses. With potentially lower costs on physical space, there are more options to conduct interviews and meetings. “Mass lockdowns left many companies scrambling to find the best ways to operate remotely. Now, as we slowly make our way into a more sustainable structure to deal with the pandemic, we’re finding that many operations are still tending to make sense in a remote fashion. Interviews, meetings and communications normally done in person are streamlined and more convenient for employees and company leaders alike,” said James Shalhoub, Co-founder of Finn. It’s likely that in years to come, we will see smaller and smaller offices and more remotely operated businesses start to pop up. “The future of remote work is likely to change in some ways, although it is pretty clear that it is here to stay as a foundational work model. It’s likely that we will see smaller offices with more remote employees become the norm in years to come,” said Dr. Payel Gupta, CMO and Co-Founder of Cleared.

A Small Social Step

One of the reasons remote and hybrid work is likely to stay is because it isn’t actually a big step from how we live our lives in the first place. Most interactions happen online or through our devices, including shopping. “It makes sense that remote work would stick around as most of the interaction between customers and business happens online. In many ways, the need for the office is largely disappearing,” said Jeff Meeks, VP of Sales and Marketing of EnergyFit.

We’re used to adapting new tools and models, and a virtual structure around work is extremely translatable to most types of business. “There are many things that require some form of in-person interaction, but prior to the pandemic many young entrepreneurs were already looking at the digital space as an long-term option for sustainability,” said Derrick Emsley of Tentree. “Online stores and digital spaces have become the hub for new and exciting ideas. It only makes sense that businesses would continue to benefit from the flexibility it offers.”

Remote work, for the time being, is here to stay. This is great news for businesses and employees alike who are seeking a more flexible and viable method to sustain themselves financially and live full, happy and healthy lives. It turns out that most employees are self driven when given the tools to be communicative with their coworkers and supervisors, and it provides a greater sense of balance between work and life.

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