Remote Work; A Permanent Part of Every Industry
Doug Fisher | March 18, 2021
As we all know, 2020 turned the economy on its head and created an unparalleled demand for remote work across nearly every industry. Now that we’ve gotten through that initial, quick-fire change, the question is: “Is remote work here to stay?” We at GeorgiaOakPartners believe the answer is yes. Not only do we believe remote work is going to remain as relevant as it was in 2020, but we believe it’s going to grow exponentially, too.
If you want to stay competitive and maintain a well-oiled staff, there are a few things you should know about remote work and its permanent place in any industry.
A Growing Acceptance of Remote Work
At the beginning of 2020, many companies of various sizes had no idea whether remote work was possible within their company’s structure.
Over the last year, that uncertainty has changed across the board, and companies like Google, Zillow, REI, and a multitude of others are now embracing remote work as the next step toward their company’s success. Many of these companies, along with countless unlisted ones, used 2020 as an opportunity to work out the kinks involved with transitioning their workforce to a remote setting, and they were able to experience firsthand the benefits of having work-from-home employees.
Remote Work by the Numbers
Recent statistics show that not only is remote work growing, but it’s also growing at an astounding rate. The majority of companies surveyed plan to implement remote work further into their business model. Below you will find are some statistics to show you just how much of a boom remote work is seeing in 2021:
- At least 80% of companies plan to keep remote work in some capacity.
- 47% of those companies will allow full-time remote work for applicable positions.
- 78% will continue to implement remote settings for collaboration, which will reduce costs and streamline the process.
- 96% of workers state that they want some degree of remote work available to them, and the majority prefer full-time remote work over traditional work environments. This means that remote work will be key to employee satisfaction.
How to Support Remote Employees
The biggest factor in whether or not remote work will benefit your company is how well you support your remote employees.
First and foremost, distractions and a lack of supervision are major pitfalls for remote workers. They’re suddenly expected to stay focused in their own households without supervision.
The use of small-step, in-depth goals and organized processes can help them remain focused even when their environment is at its most distracting.
A large percentage of workers simply don’t have the tech necessary to cover every IT solution you put in place. There are two main ways to solve this issue for your employees.
First, some companies have decided to reimburse employees for setting up their own home office with all the technology necessary to complete work tasks. That’s not a practical solution for smaller, less financially empowered companies. Luckily, diversifying tech solutions can make a huge difference. For example, ensure that you’re offering multiple avenues of communication.
Finally, employees lose the ability to form or maintain at-work relationships when they work remotely, and this takes its toll on almost everyone. The primary way of addressing this challenge has to do with the methods of communication your company utilizes.
Providing opportunities for casual conversation can help a lot now that their co-workers aren’t available, and you can also help by asking for their input on how the job can be made easier. When you ask for input – empathize, sympathize, listen, and act. Don’t just go through the motions.
Security Issues to Acknowledge and Address
Security issues present themselves when employees work from home via computers and smart devices. You can combat these issues through company policy and tech solutions.
Company policy solutions:
- Encourage VPN usage on private devices
- Develop an internal policy about leaving devices unattended or in vehicles
- Only encourage the use of company devices for official work
- Discourage public Wi-Fi or unsecured hotspots
- Provide IT services remotely for work devices (virus scans, updates, malware protection, etc.)
- Limit work devices to relevant usage
Benefits of Remote Work
Besides lower overhead costs, there are multiple benefits to implementing remote work.
First, your potential employee pool is vastly larger since you don’t have to recruit employees from your local area. Anyone in the country, or even around the globe, can become a vital part of your workforce.
Secondly, you gain the ability to foster a long-term team without the hassle of maintaining an office. Since work is produced individually, and from a remote location, you can more easily identify areas needing improvement and immediately address them.
Finally, remote work makes collaboration an easy endeavor. With programs such as Zoom, Dropbox, and even some industry-specific options, your employees can collaborate even more effectively than they did in the office.
How to Get It Done
Regardless of your business’ size, you can implement remote work and experience the above benefits. However, there are a few ways you can make the transition easier, even if you’re not a Fortune 500 company.
Most of this has to do with your tech solutions and the challenge solutions presented earlier. For tech, try the following platforms:
- Google Workspace and Dropbox are prime file storage and collaboration platforms, and Google Workspace has built-in communication.
- Slack helps employees communicate with each other with ease.
- Zoom has been a reliable face-to-face alternative throughout the pandemic.
- Asana and Trello can be used to handle task management and project management remotely and efficiently.
- Upwork and similar freelancing sites are the perfect way to outsource less pressing work and focus your on-board employee efforts on the tasks they excel at.
Applying the solutions and policies we’ve presented throughout this article will help you build and maintain a remote workforce, allowing you to stay ahead of the curve as remote work becomes a permanent part of every industry.
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