remote work from home

How Remote Work is Changing the Game for Businesses

Remote work, like everything else, has its pros and cons. The advocates of remote work say it’s great for work-life balance, productivity, lowering costs, making your workforce flexible, reducing commuting, and helping the environment. The people against remote work say that it can’t be as good as office work because there’s nothing as good as good old-fashioned face-to-face interaction, in-person meetings, body language, and spontaneous interaction. Then there’s the problem of training new employees and getting them acquainted with the team properly.

Although I am a heavy advocate of remote work, I have to admit that a totally remote environment does have its limitations. Relationships do have to be built between colleagues to a certain extent, especially when there are new team members who need to be trained and introduced to other team members and to the company culture.

We can’t simply dismiss our long history of work and the fact that we are social beings. Not to mention that there are varying degrees to which people can be productive in solitary situations. Extroverts get energized when they are in contact with others, while introverts get drained when interacting with others for too long.

That’s why I think that some mix of remote work and in-office work is going to be the solution to most businesses that are able to operate remotely, reducing costs for the companies and the employees.

A new normal

Office space will get smaller, and shared desks will become common as employees come and go on certain days, rotating their presence to get certain tasks done and to attend team meetings. Workers will rush to book meeting rooms and shared desks for their use when they need to come in the office. Most meetings will happen virtually, but to keep up a basic level of human interaction, the teams will also get together informally at the office once a week to catch up, maintain relationships, and to integrate newcomers.

Co-working spaces will probably become more common, as companies will provide their employees with the option of working from a co-working space near their home. This will enable employees who are unable to work from home all or part of the time to have another option besides the office, which may be far.

Talent acquisition with no bounds

One thing I really like about this future work environment is that talent pools will expand geographically. Companies are less reliant than ever on having their team members localized within the same city. We’re already seeing this in front of our eyes. During the pandemic, tech employees, architects, engineers, and consultants have moved away from their cities to their home towns, their home countries, and to vacation destinations to work remotely.

Although the time of COVID-19 has been exceptional, allowing people to take such leaps due to the extended remote work and social distancing conditions, this trend will likely increase. These remote employees can attend monthly team meetings to meet with their colleagues at their headquarters, which would be more than enough for the experienced remote worker.

Remote freelancers and contract hires are definitely going to become a larger part of the equation as well. Freelancing has already been gaining ground in recent years, with 50% of the US workforce expected to become freelance by 2027. With rising online platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, my very own Handiss, and many others, it’s becoming easier to hire top freelance talent with less worry and pain across different industries, enabling companies to save more on costs with talent pools that are so wide that they break even international borders.

Change or lose in the long term

We’ve already gotten quite used to remote work over the last decade. We already had the phone and email before that, which were huge leaps forward on their own. And now with the empowering forces of laptops, smartphones, the internet, video calling, online conferencing, chatting and communications apps, all we needed was this nudge to realize that we could do so much remotely.

It’s not easy to let go of our long history and traditions, but companies will soon realize that if they don’t adopt remote work into their policies, they’ll lose their competitive edge, especially with their capital costs and talent acquisition. So get to it and start thinking how you can make your company more remote for the long term.