Remote work is top of mind in the HR departments of many companies. The pandemic-that-just-won’t-end has spurred a record number of businesses to embrace remote-work policies for a large number of employees. What these companies have learned, as backed by numerous studies, is that working remotely is good for both employees and employers. When the blessed day comes that the world is no longer besieged by COVID-19 and its myriad of variants, the majority of companies will likely not return to the cubicle-farm configuration of the past. Employees who have been working remotely will not be asked to return to the brick-n-mortar office, and new employees will be hired specifically to work from home.
The media outlets that report on job trends are savvy to this shift in employment perspectives. For example, last week a single internet search on the keywords “remote work” resulted in over a Billion hits! The following three articles popped to the top of the list:
- Remote Working As The New Norm: Advantages and Disadvantages
- 19 Legitimate Work from Home Jobs
- 5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working from Home
Aside from the usual job boards, remote-work-specific sites appeared in the list of results:
And on and on. Every major news outlet from the New York Times to the Washington Post carried articles about remote work. Remote-working employees are no longer a fad or a trend, they are a fact.
The highly respected Harvard Business Review published an article in January, 2022, titled
“11 Trends that Will Shape Work in 2022 and Beyond”.
Below are highlights from five trends the Harvard authors projected specifically for remote work.
#1 – Equity and fairness will impact remote work policies
Questions of equity and fairness toward employees run the gamut of topics, from compensation, to benefits, to signing bonuses. At the top of the list, however, is the issue of remote work and other flexible work arrangements. Within a given company, some managers permit remote work while others do not. Employees are asking why workers in one department can work from home while they and their coworkers in a different department cannot. In some cases, the answer is obvious—touch-labor jobs, like assembly and quality control, cannot be performed offsite. Many job roles, however—knowledge workers in particular—can be performed literally from any location with an internet connection and a computer. Not that every person wants to work from home, but having the options of flexibility are becoming increasingly important to workers.
#2 – Remote work will fuel employee turnover
Flexibility in where, when, and how a person works is no longer a perk to be handed out to only the top performers. It is considered by many a standard benefit as ubiquitous as a 401K plan. Employers who refuse to yield on the demand for flexibility will fight an uphill battle to acquire and retain top talent.
Even those companies that promote remote work flexibility, however, will not be immune from the turnover plague. Remote workers have a weaker social link to their company and their coworkers. As the sense of loyalty to one’s team diminishes with distance, the lure of better employment options will draw people away.
The pool of potential employers will also grow as geographic constraints become less of a factor for where people work. Employment options will no longer be confined by the rigors of the commute or the housing market. Skilled workers will be able to consider opportunities across the country or even across borders without the challenge of pulling up stakes and moving to a new location.
#3 – Tools for remote work will measure and improve performance
When managers cannot work closely with remote employees, their perceptions of productivity decline. In a Gartner study in 2020, 64% of managers surveyed believed that their in-office employees were higher performers than their remote employees and were more likely to be promoted. Yet, other studies have shown just the opposite regarding actual remote productivity.
The very tools that remote workers use to perform their jobs away from the office can be put to use to enhance productivity. For example, virtual meeting systems can provide profile and background information on all meeting participants. No longer must a worker sit in a room of strangers and wonder what their roles are and what they are interested in. Meetings can be much more productive and meaningful through the facility of virtual systems.
Collaboration technologies can more accurately assess a participant’s engagement than simply having a “butt in seat”. Meeting coordinators, for instance, can measure the participation and attention of all participants and call on those who have been quiet or reticent to speak up. The participatory behavior of attendees will improve, and they will become better contributors.
#4 – Return-to-office mandates will backfire
The Harvard authors foresee a number of high-profile companies reverse course and require employees to return to the office. This shift will happen because of the aforementioned perception that remote workers are less productive and because companies see an increase in turnover among remote workers. These companies will quickly learn, however, that the real problems are not caused by remote work. Deeper underlying issues are affecting their workforce productivity and turnover. It will be interesting to watch how this shift away from remote work plays out in those companies that take a hard stance against their remote workforce.
#5 – Physical fitness programs will encompass remote-worker habits
When workers shifted from onsite to offsite locations, an interesting phenomenon occurred. While some workers used their flexible schedule and reduced commute time to build health-promoting habits into their routines, a large number went the other direction. Forty percent of remote workers reported becoming more sedentary and gaining weight. They cited less physical movement because they no longer had to walk to meetings, walk to the train station or bus stop, or simply walk through the parking lot from their cars to the office.
In response, some companies will devise plans to promote increased physical movement among their remote employees. Many companies already have wellness programs for their employees. These programs may be modified to accommodate the remote worker situations. As long as the companies don’t go overboard and become intrusive, their improved wellness programs can be a benefit to the sedentary workforce.
2022 is a prime time to think about pivoting to a remote career. It is an even better time to prepare for a remote career. Remote jobs are not just a dream available only to a select few. The rise of remote work spans the horizon of opportunities for those who are ready to venture forth. And in no sector is this more true than in IT. Tech jobs are ideal for remote work. The Help Wanted sign for skilled IT people is out in virtually every company in every industry. It’s a job seeker’s paradise—if you have the skills and qualifications.
RemoteMode’s full-service training program can give you the skills and knowledge you need to compete and win in the remote tech job market. We offer training in a dozen in-demand career tracks. Our training is totally online and self-paced. But we do far more than just send you a link to a video and wish you good luck. You will be assigned a professional mentor to oversee and guide your progress through the program. You will have access to hands-on projects in Virtual Lab that are evaluated by human industry experts to build your portfolio. Career advisor will help you build an effective social media network to connect with working professionals and hiring managers. Your advisors will guide you in creating an attention-getting CV, and they will help you rehearse for your first job interview.
At RemoteMode, you can jump from learning to earning in a few short months. Contact a RemoteMode career counselor today to find out how quickly you can be ready to conquer the remote tech job market and start the career of your dreams.
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