The current state of remote work
The rapid changes and situations that occurred in 2020 changed the way employers and employees viewed remote work. Working from home became a necessity in most cases, but now that life has returned to normalcy in 2022, we are settling in. But what exactly does normalcy entail?
Though we don’t seem to be reverting back to the old system just yet, and some have even started to embrace working remotely in their businesses. Remote work can provide employees with more flexibility and freedom in terms of their schedule and working environment. And for employers, remote work can help to reduce overhead costs and increase productivity.
Employees Still want Remote Work
Remote work has always been something of an emergency or last-ditch option for employers to have their employees work remotely. But now that employees had the chance to work remotely for more than 2 years, a lot of them don’t want it to end.
Recent data from LinkedIn shows almost 98% of the respondents they contacted wished to have the option to do remote work, either full-time or a hybrid setup. There has also been a surge of searches on their job fields that let one work from home rather than on-site jobs.
Here are the major reasons why employees are still drawn to remote work.
When asked, employees would say that the ability to have a more flexible schedule is the biggest factor in why they want to continue working remotely. Some point out remote work has let them have more options for living conditions since they do not have to be close to their offices and rent expensive properties nearby. Working remotely also resulted in more time with family, on hobbies, or self-care.
Furthermore, remote employees save an average of 30 minutes to an hour per day on commuting, resulting in several extra hours in the week for other activities.
One of the major arguments against remote work by those who prefer the traditional office space is that remote work would lead to less productive employees due to distractions and procrastination at home.
While this might be the trend before 2020, it does not seem to be the situation nowadays. Rather, there has been a noted increase in productivity in certain jobs observed by those working from home. Some attribute it to the more relaxed and convenient settings at home. Also, there are fewer people to interact with compared to the office, which lets some individuals focus more on their work and get their jobs done faster.
A push toward improving workplace technology
Organizations scrambled to put the right tools in place to enable remote work when the pandemic began. Many companies were using outdated tools, forcing them to upgrade their systems. At the time, some businesses were already experimenting with telework and were better able to meet this challenge. But even they had difficulty scaling from a handful of employees with remote work privileges to an entire workforce. In the end, this technology investment helped organizations join the modern business world and put them on more equal footing.
The drawbacks of remote work
While the benefits mentioned before can definitely outweigh the issues of remote work, it’s still a good idea to look at the possible drawbacks of working from home. Here are just a few that are notable in this regard.
Working remotely can be expensive for the employee
While it is true that working remotely allows you to save more money on transportation and rent, there are some expenses that you must bear if you want to make it a full-time endeavor on your end.
First off, if you aim to shift to freelancing, or your company does not give any equipment subsidy, it means you have to buy your own equipment (laptops or desktops, desks, an ergonomic chair, etc.) for your own. While you may already have some of these at your home, it still bears noting that there is an initial investment on your end in doing so.
You’ll also need to have a fast internet connection in order to pull it off. Having a stable and reliable connection is the backbone of working remotely, you will be accessing most of your work over the web.
Remote work can have security concerns
Working over the internet exposes both you and the company to vulnerabilities such as hacking or malware.
If you’re dealing with sensitive client or company data, you’ll need to work with your company’s IT staff to set up various cybersecurity measures, such as using VPNs or controlling access to specific parts of the server to which you need to connect.
The overwhelming demand but the lessened supply of remote work
One of the things that came about in the past year was the Great Resignation, which was partially fueled by the employee’s desire to continue working remotely. Those who discovered that their companies would not continue the practice left their companies, and sometimes their established careers, to pursue other opportunities where they could work remotely. Others realized they were overworked at their current job and decided to look for work elsewhere, with remote work as a huge perk.
The issue is that, as time passes, businesses are finally deciding which jobs can be fully remote, have a hybrid setup, and which must return to the traditional workplace. This led to certain job fields being oversaturated with applicants competing for those few good spots that check all their requirements for a great working environment.
And with the higher demand, companies looking to hire are now free to be overly selective. The fact that they can also hire remotely also widened their candidate pool, which means there is even more competition for job seekers.
Remote work is here to stay
Although this remote work arrangement was initially viewed as a short-term solution, it is now clear that remote work is here to stay. Businesses have realized that allowing employees to work from home has numerous advantages, including lower overhead costs and increased productivity.
A number of factors indicate that the future of work is becoming increasingly remote. For one thing, as more businesses move online, physical office space will become less necessary. Furthermore, employers will be looking for ways to cut overhead costs as a possible recession looms over the economy. And as younger generations enter the workforce, they are more likely to value work-life balance, which is easier to achieve when working remotely.
Furthermore, workers are often more satisfied with remote arrangements because they have more flexibility and a better work-life balance. As a result of these factors, remote work is likely to become the new normal, even after the pandemic has ended.
The remote work trend isn’t going away; in fact, it’s only going to get stronger. Regarding working remotely, there are numerous advantages for both employers and employees, but there are also some drawbacks. Those obstacles, however, can be overcome with the right tools. If you want a more flexible work environment or to start telecommuting from home, now is the time. The future of remote work appears bright and full of opportunities!
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