For the vast majority of employees, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a new reality corresponding to their workplaces. During the height of the intense lockdown measures across cities, most employees simply waited for the worst to get over and their workplaces to become normal again. But soon enough, the subsequent waves of the contagion and death toll convinced both the employees and the employees that there is only a grim hope for the situation to get normal very soon. So, across the industries, remote work became the new normal.
To be honest, remote work before the pandemic in most sectors was only viewed as experimental or an irregular mode of work that only a few companies afford to permit only sparingly. As the pandemic made its full presence, remote work’s advantages became more evident than ever before. For an IT company with experience in managing a remote development team, these benefits are not new. Still, the changed scenario is an eye-opener to remote work opportunities for many others.
Although people are slowly returning to their regular work across the industries k as situations begin to be many normal employees, at least in a few sectors, continue to work from home. Many companies even permitted their employees to work remotely for the rest of their working tenure. In some companies, a balanced mix of remote and in-office work became the new normal.
Until the conclusion of this blog post, we will explain the evolving trends corresponding to remote workplaces and several crucial industry insights.
Where Does Remote Work Stand?
Before we explain the remote work trends, it is crucial to know where we stand in the post-pandemic era corresponding to the popularity and acceptance of remote workplaces among employees and employers.
36% of employees in the UK worked to a certain extent from home in 2020, which is a sharp rise from 9% in 2019. Similarly, in the US, only 7% of staff before the pandemic could work remotely, and now 36% of staff confirmed working from home when they were locked inside the house after the pandemic.
In this respect, we must remember that not all industries and sectors can enforce remote work processes so smoothly. Many sectors such as retail supermarkets and departmental stores, hairdressing and beauty parlors, service sectors involving professionals like plumbers, electricians, gardeners, etc., have no option for remote working.
On the other hand, sectors and industries that have been benefited from remote work are likely to continue with their remote employees in the years to come. According to a survey, executives across Fortune 500 companies say that remote work is expected to continue in the years to come.
According to the same survey, around 40% of IT staff and 15% of healthcare staff are likely to continue working remotely full time after the pandemic is entirely over. So, even when people are slowly returning to offices, remote work can continue as favored by many employees and employers.
Remote Or Non-Remote: The Divider Is Shaking
Now, as the vaccinations are going in full force, making a large portion of the population immune to the contagion, normalcy in workplaces is quickly restored. But this so-called normalcy is getting back with a new normal on its back. Even when the offices are fully operational, many employees will be in several industries.
Remote hiring and outsourcing projects have been age-old practices in the IT sector. There is nothing new that companies hire remote developers to fulfill the talent requirements and avail resources at a competitive or favorable rate. Now, this same non-committal approach to hiring remote workers for different projects is likely to gain ground.
On the one hand, remote work is creating more flexibility for the workforce, and on the other hand, remote work is paving the ground for non-committed hiring for many jobs. The impact of remote work on the economy and social life is worth considering. The majority of employees began working remotely, the pressure on the urban commute and the pollution level could be reduced to a great extent. This prompted administrations and authorities in many countries to encourage remote work.
As the immediate fallout, remote work by reducing outdoor movement of people negatively impacted consumer spending. The remote work in many industries also prompted serious concerns corresponding to data security. Since employees work from home on their devices, business data and processes can easily expose security risks.
While you cannot embrace remote work across all sectors and job positions, there is increased awareness of the enormous advantages remote work can provide to a business process. The flexibility induced happiness and well-being apart, remote work, when monitored and streamlined well, can boost employee productivity.
Considering the possibilities and challenges on both sides of the divide, it would be better to say that remote work will significantly contribute to many industries, though still, remote work cannot overwhelm the entire business operation. The hybrid work environment balancing office work and remote work will be the most dominant work process.
Hybrid Work Process
As we have already explained, remote work will always be a part of the work process across many industries. But of course, there will be variations instead of the tough choice between remote or non-remote. In terms of where we work, there will be three principal models such as centralized workplace, decentralized workplace with a remote workforce, and the hybrid approach of facilitating both remote and centralized office spaces in a balanced way. The last one offering a hybrid approach with flexible choices for the employees to opt for remote or in-office work happens to be the most popular.
Hybrid work processes will allow companies to have permanent centralized workplaces as usual while accommodating the employees to work remotely as and when they prefer it. This approach will bring the best of both worlds to the table. On the one hand, there will still be coworking spaces to advance the bonding and cultural integration of the staff. On the other hand, employees will do away with the stress of mandatory workplace attendance and regular commute.
Most survey reports agree that employees are now happier with this increased freedom and flexibility thanks to the “work from home” protocol. At the same time, it has been found by the surveys that mothers do not mind attending offices or working from there a couple of days in a week just for a change. This flexible hybrid workplace approach is likely to be more prevalent in the days to come.
Expanding The Contingent Workforce
It is well known that the pandemic caused tremendous uncertainty on economic grounds for companies across all niches. This is one reason why many workers across all industries lost their jobs. This economic crisis also made companies embrace nonstandard work models to meet the budget constraints. To reduce the economic impact to the minimum, now happier with this increase, many companies brought down the budget for their contractors.
According to Gartner, in the post-pandemic era, many. Companies will continue to rely on contingent workforce instead of permanent hiring for job positions. The contingent workforce model, already popular to cut down the talent acquisition cost, will also lead to other actions. Talent sharing by two or more companies will gain more traction. Similarly, paying in proportion to work output will be more relevant.
According to some researchers, almost one-third of companies have already started replacing their full-time staff with contingent workers for cost-saving. Since increased flexibility with remote work is becoming common, HR professionals are also keen on finding appropriate metrics and measures to keep track of performance and output.
Automation Will Take The Lead
Another crucial value proposition propelling the remote work bandwagon forward comes from automation technologies. Many organizations that faced human capital crunch during the pandemic started to utilize automation tools and technologies to address the talent shortfall. The use of robots and automation will help complete manual tasks and play a significant role in orchestrating or organizing the remote workforce.
In the coming years, we will see an enhanced focus in the area commonly referred to as hyper-automation. Hyper automation refers to orchestrating a wide range of automation technologies for a more streamlined work process. According to the prediction by Gartner, the market value for hyper-automation technologies is going to cross $600 billion by 2022. According to the same study, organizations will reduce their budget by embracing hyper-automation by at least 30% or more.
Process automation technologies play a crucial role in today's hybrid workplace consisting of remote and in-premise work. Mainly, collaboration tools and technologies are now playing a pivotal role. Real-time location tracking, remote screen sharing, video conferencing, intelligent chat support, contact tracing, and other technologies will continue to deliver a seamless employee experience. The so-called remote work process will not have the traditional remoteness thanks to these automation technologies.
Which Industries Are Going To Have The Highest Impact From Remote Work?
Now that we have a fair idea of how the remote work process will be embraced by industries in the days to come, we need a comprehensive idea of various industries and sectors that are at the forefront of adopting remote work processes. According to the latest survey by LinkedIn, software development and IT services are leading for allowing remote workers. A whopping 48% of respondents from the IT sector agreed to give their employees a full-time remote work option.
In other sectors also there is increasing interest and enthusiasm for embracing remote work processes. There is increased interest in remote work among essential finance, transportation, and logistics players. A whopping 40% of respondents from these sectors in the survey gave an approving nod to the possibility of allowing full-time remote work.
In contrast to the sectors mentioned above, the other industries have a more cautious approach to remote work thanks to these automation technologies. In public administration, merely 25% of respondents said they had been offered full-time remote jobs. There is very little enthusiasm and interest in public administration for remote work.
In the very recent past, some companies have set examples for embracing remote work for their companies. Jack Dorsey, the Twitter CEO, actually permitted all the employees to work from their respective homes forever. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook soon followed this example and made a similar announcement. The tech companies have already shown interest in continuing remote work protocols forever. We can expect the trend to become mainstream across other industries.
So, remote work emerging as a lifesaver for the companies and organizations during the pandemic will stay in practice. The hi-tech collaboration and automation further pushed the adoption of remote work protocols. The remote tracking technologies made it easier for the companies to keep vigilant on productivity. All these factors have made remote work irreplaceable from the Human Resource strategies of companies.