CoAdvantage- With the COVID-19 pandemic making physical workplaces high-risk avenues of disease transmission, a vast number of workers were forced to transition to a work-from-home program in 2020. Now, with new vaccines now in distribution, the new year brings with it hope for an end to the pandemic. Even so, however, remote working and work-from-home situations are likely to continue playing a big role in the workplace for the foreseeable future.
“I think 2021 has the makings of being an important year in terms of the foundation of the next level of remote work,” Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist at FlexJobs, tells Fast Company. “More employers have a stake in it now, so I think we’ll see the foundation for what remote work will look like for the next five or ten years being laid in 2021.”
Realize that remote work likely hasn’t peaked.
Job van der Voort, the CEO and co-founder of Remote, a hiring platform for remote workers, tells Fast Company that circumstances for work-from-home-situations in 2020 weren’t ideal. “As someone who has advocated for remote work for a long time, this is the worst way to go about it, where you’re forced to work from home and you can’t leave or do anything outside of that,” he explains. In other words, remote workers haven’t experienced the true freedom and flexibility that remote work options entail, like the ability to truly work from anywhere. In short, remote working has more to offer than most workers have realized yet. That means even employers may not have realized its full potential in terms of labor productivity and attracting new workers.
A hybrid solution is likely to become a permanent fixture of many workplaces.
Although permanent and total remote working is unlikely on a large scale, a hybrid solution – a mixture of remote and in-office working – may well become the new normal. A report from Verizon found that 86% of companies expect that digital work scenarios will co-exist with physical workspaces in the future.
A digital strategy is key to success with remote working.
The Verizon report also looked at where work-from-home programs were successful. They found that over half of employers saw increased productivity if they had a digital workplace strategy in place. Productivity improved for only 40% of those without such a strategy. In other words, a hybrid solution will likely require clear policies and guidelines to facilitate effective collaboration and communication, however. For example, HR leaders and team managers need to figure out ways to ensure everyone is available for meetings when needed.
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