The Year of Remote Work: Remote Work Statistics and Future Trends for 2021
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, companies have been forced to close down their offices and remote work has taken the spotlight. In the coming years, it is expected to remarkably change the way people work
Here are some important remote work statistics and future trends that companies need to consider before creating their remote working strategy:
- 77 percent of the workforce wants to continue working from home, at least once a week even after the pandemic is over
- Over 23-30 percent of employees will end up working from home multiple days in a week even by the end of 2021
- If employees had a choice, 99 percent of them would choose to work remotely for the rest of their careers
- For 83 percent of employees, the ability to work remotely, at least in some capacity, is a deciding factor while considering a job offer
- 90 percent of employees believe that flexibility in their work arrangements helps improve their morale
- Remote workers can be 20-25 percent more productive than their colleagues who work from offices
- Employees who work remotely at least one day a month are 24 percent more likely to be productive and happy
- 76 percent of employees prefer to avoid their office altogether when they need to concentrate on a project
Will remote work become the new normal?
Advancements in technology have made it clear that employees can work smoothly from their homes with little to no interruptions. In fact, 77 percent of employees claim that they are more productive when working from home
While companies are able to save up on the real estate and infrastructure costs when employees work remotely, employees appreciate the chance to avoid long morning office commutes and looking after their homebound kids (now that the schools are closed too).
As the coronavirus curve continues to flatten in many countries around the world, people are now going back to work with a whole new perspective about how offices should be. Most employees hope to work remotely at least for a few weeks every month now that they know they don’t have to be physically present in offices every day just to manage their work or collaborate with their team.
The many benefits of remote work, include:
Better work-life balance for employees
When employees get to save time on their daily commute and excessive coffee breaks, they are able to improve productivity, finish their work faster, and save time. As a result, employees can achieve a better balance between their work and personal life–spend more time with their family, pick up hobbies, and get back to work with more motivation and inspiration.
Increase in productivity
Over 75 percent of employees who work remotely agree they have fewer distractions when working out of office.
When employees work remotely, they feel more accountable and responsible for the work they are handling. Not to mention, when employees skip long commutes, pointless meetings that could have been emails, and other distractions, they are able to get more work done in less time.
Cost savings for the company
Most countries are now enforcing social distancing norms because of the fear of a second wave. For organizations, that means, changing the layout of their workplaces to ensure there is proper distance between employees’ desks. This can only happen if companies rent out bigger office space or reduce the total number of employees attending the office every day, the latter being the more effective, cost-friendly, and obvious choice.
Fewer employees in the office means organizations need a smaller office space and fewer desks to accommodate everyone. In fact, according to a report, companies can save up to $2,000 per employee by just allowing more people to work remotely from their homes.
How have organizations come to see remote work as the new normal?
In the last few months, many companies around the world have been forced to go remote without any well-planned strategy. While some employees are heading off to work as lockdown measures in their countries ease down, most organizations are now embracing remote work as the new normal.
Here is how some of the biggest companies in the world are supporting their employees through remote work:
Google has allowed its employees to continue working remotely until the end of the year. Additionally, Google is also offering its employees an allowance of over $1,000 to buy all the required equipment they need to set up their home offices. By September, employees will be allowed to come back to the office voluntarily. In the long run, Google will create a rotation program and only allow up to 30 percent of its workforce to come to the office.
Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, announced in a company-wide email that all employees will be able to work from home permanently even after the COVID-19 situation is sorted.
Square, which is also headed by Dorsey, has implemented a similar permanent work from home policy.
Facebook will also allow its employees to work from home until the end of 2020. The company will start reopening some of its offices by July, but the employees who want to work from home can continue to do so until the end of the year.
All Microsoft employees can work remotely till October unless they are in an essential role which requires them to go to the office or the local authorities mandate otherwise.
The middle way — A hybrid approach to workplaces
Seeing how the top companies around the world are responding to the pandemic, it is clear that the future of the workplace will be hybrid.
As employees begin to return back to the workplace, many offices will limit the capacity of the total workforce attending offices or have employees come into the office on specific days or shifts. This will result in a hybrid workforce structure where some employees will work remotely, while others will work form the office itself.
With hybrid teams, it becomes possible for employees to have more control over their work hours. They can also decide when, where, and how they want to work to optimize their productivity.
When implemented properly, it can force companies to become more serious about documentation, more aware of thoughtful messaging, and more focused on improving the work-life balance of employees. For a company to follow a hybrid approach successfully, it is important to give equal importance to employees working from offices and the ones who work remotely.
The hybrid approach is also the easiest step for organizations to evaluate if they are even ready to go fully remote. It helps them understand the problems in their remote policy and rectify them with minimal impact.
Ideally, the hybrid approach in an organization should include the following:
- The main form of communication should be asynchronous and it should be independent of the time zones so that everyone can be included in the conversation
- All the decisions and actions should be documented and they should also be accessible to the whole team
- All the benefits that the company offers should be available to all employees — whether they are working remotely or from the office
- The leadership should also work remotely or have a lot of work from home days so that the other remote employees don’t feel left out
- Meetings should happen virtually even if there is just one team member who is working from home
Kissflow’s approach to hybrid work
At Kissflow, we have announced an industry-first move towards a new hybrid work model called Remote+ for our employees. Under the hybrid approach, employees will only be required to work from the office one week in a month.
The company is headquartered in Chennai, India which is one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the country. Since employees only have to come to the office for one week in a month, they are encouraged to move back to their hometowns or suburbs to reduce living expenses, strengthen family bonds, and contribute to the local community.
Moreover, the decision to choose between hybrid or in-office work has been left to the teams since some departments need more face-to-face meetings than the others. During the three-month lockdown implemented in India when employees had to suddenly start working remotely, the organization already saw a 30 percent increase in productivity.
By implementing a hybrid approach, the company wants to make sure employees are able to build a good rapport with their team members and manage their work seamlessly without feeling burned out.
2020 is definitely the breakout year for remote work, but the long term solutions are not as obvious. As we move to the future, we will continue to monitor the best practices regarding distributed teams and achieve a better digital workplace.