50% of US employees are operating under some sort of remote work, and experts expect that to increase even more in the coming 2020s decade. Once seen as a luxury or day off, remote work is becoming the norm and proving to drive more efficiency and ROI in multiple areas.
The increased payoff for executives and management will only drive more remote work, and managers and CEOs need to be aware of some of the more significant trends and shift in this space.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important changes in the remote work world, how they’re affecting all businesses and what owners and management need to be prepared for.
Advanced Digital Skills Training Requirements Are Growing
While basic digital skills, such as Microsoft Office or email experience, have always been a part of most workplace requirements, the shift to remote work has not only made these skills absolutely necessary but has widened the range for what skills are needed and to what degree.
A basic word processor and web skills are no longer enough to manage a remote work team or be a part of a remote work department. Chat tools like Slack, Google Calendar, live document tools like Google Docs, project management and video meeting software like Skype or Zoom are now basic requirements for completing remote work with a team or even a small business.
Employees will need to have some beginner skills in these areas in order to make an impact in their roles.
Digital Security and Cybersecurity More Important Than Ever
With employees and their connected devices moving further away from the office and the watchful eye of the secured company web servers, security is becoming more of an issue for companies that have never had to consider data or hacking at that level.
Companies will need to address these changes by investing in security equipped to handle lots of different entry points and new surface areas for hacking attacks and other potential problems created by employees using everything from public WiFi networks to unsecured devices.
New B2B Remote Business Trends
Many of the challenges raised in this piece will need addressing by companies in order to fully take advantage of the remote work revolution. Naturally, an entire industry has popped up to cater to these problems and help find solutions.
Think WeWork — a business created specifically to cater to remote work and the problem of businesses needing quick, easy, managed office space. There will be hundreds of new businesses in this vein that will create tools, software, devices and management services for remote workers and businesses to use to increase ROI for their new remote setup.
In-Person Meetup Space
As employees move further apart, companies will need to do more to keep them together figuratively. Social and team-building events like the annual Christmas party will likely need to become a more consistent part of the work-life. Monthly or weekly meetups or meeting space will be more and more important to maintain close working relationships.
Solutions can involve meetings outside the office, or planned in-office visits on a timely basis or for certain projects. For remote workers that cannot meet face-to-face due to time or scheduling constraints, web meetings and other cyberspace get-togethers can have similar effects and allow for building trust and rapport between colleagues.
Building Trust With Employees
As employees move further from each other, they’re also moving further from central management or their supervisors, and the business center as a whole. One of the defining factors of 21st Century work has been an erosion of trust between employee and employer, possibly due to many factors such as declining pay, overseas shifts and lack of internal promotion or leadership.
A global survey by E&Y showed that less than 50% of employers trust the companies they work for, and remote workers are going to be even more susceptible to these trends, which can lead to lower retention rates and talent acquisition for businesses. Companies will need to find solutions for building trust with their employees as they see them less and less face to face or in person.