In the coming years, can every business expect to use a “remote telecommute model” for its workforce?
Given the major trends that are driving today’s economy, we can certainly expect the telecommuting trend to continue accelerating.
But it is difficult to predict exactly how this will affect businesses in the coming years.
In this article, we’ll examine some of the trends that are driving the remote working trend. After that, we’ll look at how telecommuting affects organizations and what workplace trends organizations can expect to see in the coming years.
Is the “Remote Telecommute Model” the New Norm for the 2020 Workforce?
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in 2020, businesses around the globe were forced to adopt remote working and telecommuting programs almost overnight.
However, even before this global disaster, telecommuting had been gaining in popularity for years.
There are countless trends that are fueling the digitalization and virtualization of the workforce, including:
- Digital innovation, disruption, and transformation. Digital technology continues to evolve unabated. Every day, there are new technological breakthroughs, new software programs, new workflows, and new opportunities that fuel digital transformation. And a great many of these breakthroughs make it easier to work and collaborate remotely.
- Ongoing improvements in virtualization and telecommuting technology. A few decades ago, virtual teams, virtual businesses, and virtual workplaces were all figments of the imagination. Today, however, all of these are possible thanks to digital innovation, as mentioned above.
- The competitive advantages offered by remote working. Remote working ultimately helps organizations improve performance and increase their competitive position. As we will discover below, these benefits alone are enough to compel many organizations to implement telecommuting policies.
Of course, many businesses hesitate to adopt telecommuting programs because they are uncertain of how it may impact their business.
According to certain outdated perceptions, for instance, workers are less productive and more difficult to manage when working from home.
Though teleworking does have its downsides, these are not among them. In fact, employees tend to be more productive and just as manageable, as we’ll find out next.
How Remote Working and Telecommuting Impact Organizations
There are quite a few benefits in store for organizations that choose to implement teleworking arrangements with their employees.
- Reduced costs. Organizations save and even make money from remote workers: not only do remote workers work more hours, organizations don’t have to pay for office space or commuting-related costs.
- Improved employee productivity. Studies have shown that telecommuters are more productive than their in-office counterparts (or themselves when working from the office). There are several reasons for this. Among them: the lack of a commute and the lack of office-related distractions.
- Increased flexibility and resilience. Organizations themselves can become more flexible and agile, which is good protection against natural disasters. The coronavirus outbreak, for instance, showed how important it can be to have a virtual workforce during such massive disasters.
- A more digitally savvy workforce. Also, since remote working requires more digital skills, employees will be compelled to improve their digital capabilities. Since the digital workplace continues to evolve and become even more digital, those extra skills can add significant value to employees’ performance – and, as a consequence, organizational performance.
Given these benefits, it is no surprise that many business leaders are reevaluating their stance on teleworking.
However, is telecommuting attractive enough to completely transform the way we work?
In other words…
Is Remote Working the Future?
Just how big a role will remote working play in tomorrow’s workplace?
Is it “the future,” as some suggest?
We can certainly expect the remote working trend to escalate. After all, in recent years, remote working has only continued to increase in popularity – there is no reason to suspect that this trend will abate any time soon.
Telecommuting and remote working will undoubtedly become one of many workplace trends to impact tomorrow’s digital economy.
In the coming years, we can expect:
- The continued popularity of telecommuting and remote working. Remote workers love remote working and that fact is unlikely to change anytime soon. In the coming years, we can fully expect to see a strong interest in remote working, both from organizations and from employees.
- A dispersed, multi-faceted workforce. The workforce of the future will be more fragmented, according to consultancies such as Deloitte. Some workers will be fully remote, some will be fully on-site, some will be contractors, and so forth. Though remote working can offer advantages when it comes to productivity, it also challenges businesses that want to maintain a consistent and strong workplace culture.
- More innovations and disruptions from technology. Technology itself will keep evolving, and each new innovation will fuel more changes in remote working and the virtual workplace. AI, AR, VR, virtual learning environment software, and countless other technologies will all give rise to a virtual workplace that will most likely look completely different from the workplace of today.
Though some believe that remote working could even become the norm – and on-site employment the exception – what is certain is that we are facing a future that looks very different from today’s work world.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.