The COVID-19 pandemic increased the adoption of remote work. A recent survey showed remote workers tripled from 9 million to over 27 million from 2019 to 2021. Many organizations now have work settings and programs that support remote working.
Adopting the work-at-home business model has created many job opportunities for people living with disabilities and those in rural areas. Similarly, remote working provides an opportunity for people to operate at their own pace. And, people can move to new places, without having to look for a new job in that location. The ultimate result is overall job satisfaction and increased productivity.
However, adopting remote working created a social gap as employees rarely met and interacted physically. It is challenging for companies to sustain their work culture when operating remotely.
Read on to discover the massive impact of remote work on jobs and organizations.
Factors Driving Remote Work Adoption
COVID-19 is not the only force that has accelerated remote work adoption. Many other factors are at play, including those related to sustainability, cost savings, and employee satisfaction:
- Remote working cuts overhead costs such as office space rentals and utilities.
- Employees operating from home have fewer distractions.
- They have more power and a say in how they want their work-life balance to be.
- Reducing commuting activities and office operations helps companies cut their footprint.
Impact on Jobs
Transitioning to working remotely has drastically affected the distribution of responsibilities and roles. Employers must get the best training programs for employees to learn industry specifics and perform better in their remote roles.
Changes in Job Responsibilities and Roles
Working remotely changes the way roles and responsibilities are distributed to different workers. Remote workers need to be organized and self-directed as they lack face-to-face support from colleagues. Similarly, they should advance their technology-use skills, as they will be using them to collaborate and communicate.
Job Satisfaction in Remote Work Environments
In a recent study, remote workers claimed to be extremely satisfied with their work. At home, workers have more control over their schedules and work-life balance. They can choose how and when to work.
Skills and Training Needs for Remote Work
When transitioning to online work, people need to learn and perfect their communication, time management, technology, and self-management skills.
Impact on Organizations
When an organization transitions to remote working, a lot changes. This includes organizational structures, technological infrastructure, and more.
Adaptation of Organizational Structures
An organization adopting a remote mode of operation has to adjust its organizational structures. For instance, you need to decentralize your organization to support out-of-office working schedules. The organizational operations should be more flexible to adapt to the unique needs of remote workers.
Technology and Infrastructure for Remote Work
When going remote, organizations must secure and install the ideal infrastructure and technology. The most basic technology and infrastructure for remote work include video conferencing software, webcams, laptops, cloud-based collaboration tools, and headsets. You should also invest in high-end data storage and sharing systems and a stable internet connection.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Remote Work Settings
Remote work significantly affects diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). Organizations that adopt a remote work culture offer more inclusive work environments, in part by accommodating a disabled workforce. It also provides an environment for workers from varying cultures and backgrounds to contribute effectively. On the other hand, remote work can leave room for discrimination and isolation.
Future of Work: Hybrid Models and Sustainability
As it is now, many organizations are leaning towards systems that blend in-office and remote work for optimized employee performance and productivity. Although remote work is beneficial, it has its share of challenges. Hybrid models provide a solution to those challenges, while capitalizing on their many benefits.
Remote work is offering a long-term solution to the issue of sustainability. Workers will no longer commute and operate from offices. In that way, the environmental impact of such activities can be drastically reduced.
Challenges and Consideration
Every organization should understand and weigh the challenges and considerations of remote work. Although adopting remote work cuts operation costs, it has higher upfront implementation costs. There are many challenges to transitioning to remote work, but the following considerations are important learning points.
- The company culture: It is not easy to transition to remote work, and many companies are not ready for such discussions. Only companies with strong communication and collaboration cultures can easily transition to remote work.
- The type of work: Some jobs cannot be done remotely. Any job requiring face-to-face interaction will be impossible to complete remotely.
- The personalities of the employees: Not everyone can perform well when alone. Only organized and self-motivated workers can guarantee success when working remotely.
Strategies for Successful Remote Work Implementation
Remote work implementation has its challenges, but knowing the right strategies to use can save you a great deal. Take note of the following important strategies to successfully implement remote work.
- Be clear on your goals and expectations: Ensure your team know what you expect from them.
- Supply everyone with necessary resources and tools: Remote work arrangements need a new set of technologies and tools. Ensure everyone in your organization has the resources and tools they need to be productive and successful.
- Provide room for teamwork and collaboration: Create a culture of effective communication and feedback and provide the right project management tools. This enables your team to virtually collaborate and work together.
- Establish effective channels of communication: Get your workers to communicate effectively and regularly on instant messaging, video conferencing, and emailing tools.
- Measure and track progress: You must set the right structures and tools in motion to effectively measure and track the progress of people working remotely.
Why I Wrote This:
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- The Number of People Primarily Working From Home Tripled Between 2019 and 2021 (by United State Consensus Bureau)
- Where Are People Moving To In 2023 (by OZ Moving)
- Remote workers are happier and healthier than in-office counterparts, survey finds (by Preston Wickersham)