That said, remote work today isn’t the same as it was 10 or even five years ago. New trends in remote work are transforming the business world, and those who take advantage of them are seeing greater benefits than ever before.
Whether you’re a remote worker or a business owner who’s thinking of taking things out of the workplace for some of your employees, it’s important that you understand how the remote work landscape is changing.
Here are just a few of the trends that you’re likely to encounter while looking into the modern remote work situation:
More Remote Opportunities
This is probably the biggest difference from years past: There’s simply more opportunities to work remotely now than there used to be. More and more employers are realizing that allowing employees to work remotely is good for both morale and the company’s bottom line.
Remote workers are often more loyal to their employers and tend to be more productive as well, both of which are good for employee retention. Add in the reduced costs that come from having fewer employees physically present in the office and you’ve got a perfect storm of reasons why employers are letting more and more employees switch to remote work.
As more employers embrace remote work, they’re also loosening the strings a bit and giving remote employees greater freedom than ever before. A number of companies that allowed remote work before tried to keep remote employees on roughly the same schedule as those who were working from the office.
These days, though, employers are more likely to give remote workers much greater control over when and where they work. Scheduled meetings are often still required, but aside from that many remote workers simply need to check in and touch base with management on a regular basis. So long as they’re getting everything completed on time and up to par, those managers are much less likely to care about when and where the work is being done.
Improved Remote Communication Tools
It used to be that email and the phone were the top communication tools at a remote worker’s disposal.
These days, however, there are a lot more toys to play with. Video chat, instant messaging and collaboration platforms such as Slack have made remote communication easier and more productive than ever before. Between a smartphone and a computer, tools exist to make sure that remote workers can easily organize their work, get approval for plans and review tasks that still need to be complete… all without having to wait for an email response or navigate a phone tree.
Key Work Locations
It used to be that “remote work” largely meant working from a home office (or a laptop and a recliner). While a good number of remote employees still opt to work from home, there are other options available as well.
Coworking spaces are increasingly popular, letting remote workers share creative space with entrepreneurs and other remote employees. Coffee shops and restaurants are popular options as well. Some remote employees even take the idea of the “home office” to a new level by installing sheds or similar structures on their property to serve as a “shedquarters” that separates them from the distractions of the home. The number of options available for remote workers seems to grow every year.
Isolation Is Still a Problem
One unfortunate trend that’s been around for years is that remote workers still feel isolated.
Social interaction is one of the big advantages of working from the office, and working remotely typically cuts the employee off from that interaction. Improved communication tools help with this to an extent, but a lot of work sometimes has to go into fighting these feelings of isolation. This potential is one of the big reasons that working remotely doesn’t sit well with everybody… unless you’re part of a full remote team, it can be kind of lonely.