Remote work has been frowned upon in the past by most organizations in the GICS sectors and industries. Before COVID-19, only about 6% of the global workforce worked remotely. However, the pandemic reshaped “business as usual” beyond recognition as months of lockdowns, and business closures forced companies and workers to change how and when they work. Moreover, it prompted them to digitize some or all of their operations and adopt different remote technologies to ensure continuity and profitability.
Switching to this model has proven to be a blessing in disguise. Thousands of organizations have reported an increase in productivity, collaboration, an d workplace satisfaction following this major overhaul.
However, in 2021, the world entered a new chapter as millions of employees returned to the office following the successful vaccine drive. This massive transition left plenty of question marks regarding the future of remote work and overall workforce sentiment.
As expected, the business world required a viable solution to offer employees some semblance of normalcy without forcing them to give up the flexibility and freedom that working from anywhere provided.
Many forward-thinking organizations have combined in-office and remote work to bridge the gap between the two models and meet the needs of all their employees – giving rise to hybrid work. As a result, there’s been an unprecedented rise in the hybrid workforce.
Plus, McKinsey reports that nearly 90% of organizations will adopt a hybrid business model in the future.
Therefore, in this post, we’ll share a quick peek into the current state of remote and hybrid working and what’s in store for the future hybrid workforce.
The Current State of Remote Work
The global work-from-home/anywhere experiment that kicked off during the pandemic has proven to be a massive success. As of 2022, nearly 16% of businesses worldwide have become 100% remote, according to Squaretalk. Moreover, nearly a quarter of US-based jobs are set to become remote by the end of the year.
Moreover, in a 2021 study by Buildd, a whopping 64% of respondents said they enjoyed working remotely and would love to stick to this model indefinitely. Meanwhile, around 25% of respondents claimed that they’d like to visit the office occasionally. Only 8.8% claimed that they missed working from the office.
As a result, many organizations that don’t support or facilitate remote work are facing higher turnover compared to organizations that do. The modern workforce wants to work in their preferred location. Employees that aren’t allowed this are less productive, especially if they know their work can be done remotely.
These individuals have a constant desire for remote flexibility, and therefore, they’re ready to quit for options offering their working terms and environments. From an employer’s viewpoint, remote work has been shown to offer several lucrative benefits.
For instance, a survey by Airtasker shows that remote workers work around 1.4 more days a month (or 17 days a year) than full-time in-office workers. The study also shows that remote workers are more willing to work overtime since they don’t have to worry about the commute to and from their workplace or trade off other aspects of their lives for work.
Finally, since 2020, there’s been a rapid influx of remote technologies and digital solutions designed to facilitate remote operations.
Popular solutions include video conferencing software, eLearning authoring tools for corporate training, virtual private networks for enhanced security, and cloud apps for project/task management, data entry, and other functions. These solutions have become more advanced and powerful with time as they help organizations and employees replicate an in-person synchronous experience more seamlessly.
Current and Future of Hybrid Work
The return to the office kick-started a new experiment for organizations – one that blended on-site and remote operations. After months of COVID-infused lockdowns and remote working, it was clear that workers won’t be returning to the same workplace they left months ago.
According to a study by Gallop, around 56% of returning workers are anticipating a hybrid workplace setting going forward so they can continue to enjoy the benefits of remote work while working from the office for a pre-specified number of days per week.
Moreover, Google Workspace collaborated with Economist Impact in 2021 to determine the state of hybrid work in its infancy through a survey. Nearly 75% of respondents claimed that hybrid work was the future of work and would become the global standard by 2025.
However, many organizations and employees are still faced with one question – What’s in store for the hybrid workforce in the coming years? To answer this question, here are some hybrid work trends shaping the business landscape:
Remote Work is a Must
According to a study by Work Place Less, many job hunters and workers no longer see remote work as a perk but as part of their model. This goes especially for organizations where remote work is possible. This trend became popular during mid-2022 amid The Great Resignation, as millions of workers resigned from their workplaces just because they didn’t want to return to work.
Generational Divide of the Workforce
According to a report by Accenture, the remote, in-office, and hybrid workforce could be divided based on workforce generation. The study shows that Gen Z employees are more likely to want to work from the office. Despite growing up with technologies, they want more in-person experiences.
Similarly, Baby Boomers, who grew up without technology, also prefer in-person interactions and work experiences. They’re more willing to work from the office. In contrast, Millennials are regarded as the most stressed-out generation.
As a result, they’re most likely to opt for full-time remote options and prioritize their work-life balance above anything else.
Thousands of organizations are still shifting to hybrid work models. Therefore, there’s a lot of uncertainty looming in this space, especially in companies with brick-and-mortar models. For many, managing a hybrid work model may be too high-maintenance. In short, this transitional phase will be different for every organization.
Some will find the right balance, while others will stick to either remote or in-person operations.
Finally, the most anticipated trend shaping the remote/hybrid work industry is the influx of more digital technologies designed to facilitate, centralize, automate, secure, and enhance different business functions. As a result, the hybrid workforce has to become more digital-literate and tech-savvy to remain relevant for future employers.
The enforced adoption of remote work during the pandemic has reshaped the business landscape beyond recognition. Thousands of organizations have accelerated their digital transformation drives to revamp their business strategy and upgrade their infrastructure to support digitized operations. The practice is set to dominate every major industry in the future.
Marc-Roger Gagné MAPP