If we have one thing to thank the pandemic for, it’s the explosion in remote work. And here’s the deal: From 2018 to 2021, the number of full-time remote workers more than quadrupled. Now that the dust has settled and restrictions have been eased, what’s the future of remote work and remote jobs? We take a deep dive into the latest stats and trends to keep you up to date.
What Does Remote Work Mean
It’s a flexible arrangement allowing employees to work outside a traditional workplace. So, instead of commuting to the office and sitting at a desk, a remote worker completes tasks from wherever works for them. Think home, beach, café, or a co-working space. Thanks to technology, the options are almost endless.
What Are The Benefits Of Working Remotely?
There are a host of benefits for both employees and employers. Let’s run through the headlines.
Benefits For Employees
Freedom from commuting, better work-life balance – what’s not to like? It’s no wonder remote opportunities are popular with staff.
However, the benefits continue beyond there. Remote workers report feeling less stressed about their jobs. No doubt, ditching the stressful daily commute has plenty to do with it. But also important is the greater flexibility. Whether a night owl or a morning lark, you can work when it suits you best. In particular, those with caring responsibilities value the freedom. And whether at the beach or the home office, working in a more comfortable environment leads to fewer burnt-out employees.
Remote workers also save money. From commuting to lunches, or laundry expenses, home workers save on average $6,000 a year. And with the current cost-of-living crisis, that’s a massive bonus.
Furthermore, many report finding a renewed passion for their jobs. Fewer distractions, no commuting, and a better work-life balance reinvigorate their energies and passion for work. It can also motivate staff to give their best so they continue to enjoy living the lifestyle they have grown to love.
Benefits For Organizations
Companies stand to gain much from a shift to remote positions.
One obvious plus is reduced overheads. More staff working from home equals money saved on rent, utilities, and office furniture. One survey from FlexJobs estimated the savings could be as much as $22,000 per remote worker per year.
And on top of the cost savings is improved productivity. Now that the pandemic is in its fourth year, a stack of data confirms that working remotely increases productivity and performance. In one recent study, productivity was up 29% for fully flexible workers. It’s not rocket science. It stands to reason that workers who are happier, more motivated, and less distracted are more productive.
Another benefit for companies is improved retention. Staff value the flexibility going remote offers. So much so that in one survey, 75% said they would quit their job for one that offered flexibility. With the Great Resignation affecting businesses worldwide, remote work could give your company the edge in recruitment and retention. Furthermore, you can access a wider talent pool when jobs are no longer tied to a specific geographic area.
Benefits For The Environment
In our increasingly greener world, it’s also worth highlighting the wider environmental advantages. Taking all those commuters off the road significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Traffic congestion and air pollution are also improved, while switching to digital platforms reduces paper usage.
Remote Work Jobs
Thanks to digital technology, the number of roles that can be remote has exploded. And it’s not just the usual suspects like telecommunications, software development, or designers. Nowadays, more traditional companies like law, healthcare, and education are also embracing the trend. So, if you are looking for a full or part-time remote job, there’s never been a better time.
Finding remote jobs is much easier with dedicated websites and job boards. Here’s a list of the top generalist sites to kickstart your job search. Many of these sites also offer helpful tips and advice to help you find a remote job that’s a good fit for you.
What Is The Highest-Paid Remote Job?
Six-figure salary jobs are not uncommon. The sky really is the limit when it comes to the highest-paid remote jobs. Time magazine recently undertook an analysis of the best-paid remote jobs, and the top five may surprise you:
- Financial Manager
- Marketing Manager
- Software Developer
- Medical and Health Services Manager
- Human Resources Manager
Part-Time Remote Work (Hybrid Work)
If the thought of going fully remote is a step too far, then hybrid working is the next best thing.
Hybrid work is a flexible model that offers a blend of in-office and remote work.
There are several variations of hybrid working, including the following:
Flexible hybrid: Workers choose their location and hours based on their daily priorities. For example, they can work from home or another location if they want to focus on writing a report. And if they need to attend a project meeting, they can decide to come into the workplace.
Fixed hybrid: The company sets the days and times that employees work remotely or in the office. For example, Tuesdays and Thursdays are in-office days, so everyone is available for town halls or team meetings.
Office-first hybrid: With this option, staff are expected to be on-site mainly. However, there is flexibility for a few days from remote locations.
Remote-first hybrid: Under this variation, workers are remote most of the time, with only a few days in the office for team building, collaborating, or training.
Hybrid work has become more popular since the easing of Covid restrictions. It offers a best-of-both-worlds solution that addresses employees’ needs and operational demands. Big-name practitioners include Cisco and American Express.
Remote Work Solution
It’s clear remote work has much to offer both organizations and staff. However, it’s not all plain sailing. Remote work comes with a set of challenges, and success requires a lot of planning and preparation. Whether you are an employer or an employee, it’s crucial to understand the pros and cons before you make the leap. This section explores what’s needed for a remote work solution.
Pros Of Remote Work
We have touched on plenty of these already, but here for the record, are the advantages.
- More freedom and flexibility
- Better work-life balance
- Improved productivity
- Less stress and a healthier workforce
- Reduced carbon footprint
- Fewer overheads and cost savings
Cons Of Remote Work
As with anything in life, there are some potential pitfalls to consider.
- Communication gaps – keeping everyone in the loop is more challenging
- Motivation – without the boss or co-workers breathing down your neck, staying focused and on target can be harder
- Social interaction – with fewer opportunities for casual conversations, working by yourself all day long can be isolating and lonely
- Management challenges – for leaders, maintaining oversight of staff performance is often difficult. Furthermore, remote work involves having the right tech stack to make it work. And many employees fail to appreciate that when it comes to hardware and software issues – the buck stops with the remote worker. There’s no helpdesk on-site to resolve problems.
What Tools And Resources Do You Need To Be Successful At Remote Work?
Technology plays a massive part. You will need the right apps and tools so that you can connect and collaborate. Here are the must-haves that should be in every remote worker’s toolkit.
- Cloud storage
- Collaboration software
- Team chat or business IM apps
- Screen sharing software
- Video conferencing apps
- Office online suites such as M365 or Google Workspace
- Time tracking, workflow, and project management software
- Online security tools
However, it’s about more than just the proper hardware and software. Just as important is a quiet space to work. During the pandemic, many of us set up our laptops on the kitchen table, often sharing the space with partners or home-schooled children. While that may have worked in the short term, a dedicated space is essential if you want to be successful at remote work.
If a home office is not possible, set up your desk in a quiet area of your home. Alternatively, consider a co-working space or a secluded spot in your local café. It’s vital to have some separation from daily living and work. Doing so helps you create the mindset of ‘I’m at work’ now.
How Do You Stay Productive When Working From Home?
Routine: Home-working veterans say routine is essential for helping you stay productive. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it. Morning lovers prefer to be at their desks bright and early. In comparison, night owls or those with caring responsibilities schedule their working time for the afternoons or evenings. Make sure your employer signs off on your hours and let colleagues know your availability.
Keep regular hours: Sleeping late one morning or playing video games into the wee hours doesn’t just mess with your natural rhythms; it also impacts productivity. Maximize your productivity by keeping set hours. Get up at the same time and take your lunch breaks at set periods. And keep regular meeting schedules and calls with colleagues. Doing so stops you from getting distracted and helps maintain a typical workday.
Take a break: Taking time out during the working day is vital, whether in the office or a remote location. It helps you reenergize and refocus. Take a walk around the block, share a coffee with a fellow remote worker, or just down tools and relax with a book for a few minutes. Short breaks improve your mental clarity and productivity.
Listen to music: This tip may not be for everyone, but many find music helps keep the mind sharp and maintains productivity. So, whether your preference is for classical strings or classic rock, create a Spotify playlist and give it a try.
To-do lists: Keeping on top of your work can be difficult without supervision. To-do lists are one easily implemented way to stay on track. Jot down your daily and weekly tasks to manage your time and stay focused. Plus, ticking them off as you go along is very satisfying and motivating. At the end of the week, you can clearly see just how much you have achieved.
Keep socializing: Be sure to maintain social relationships with colleagues. Virtual lunches and coffee breaks are excellent ways to build those all-important personal bonds with your team. And stay connected with virtual water cooler conversations on messaging apps.
What Are Some Common Challenges Of Remote Work And How Can You Overcome Them?
When it comes to remote work, it’s vital to have your eyes wide open. Of course, the flexible and commute-free life is very appealing. However, you will also face some challenges and need to be prepared. Here we share some common challenges and ways to overcome them.
Technical problems: Technical hiccups in the workplace are quickly resolved. Usually, there’s expert help on hand. Not so when you are remote. So, if the printer jams, it’s down to you to fix it. You can avoid these to some extent by asking the technical team to run regular checks on your systems. However, be prepared to jump on YouTube or Google to resolve technical issues for yourself. The good news is that veteran remote workers report that it’s surprising how quickly you build up the knowledge and expertise to resolve common issues.
Productivity issues: It’s normal for newbies and even experienced veterans to experience productivity dips. It could be failing to complete all your tasks, problems with time management, or struggling to stay on task. The tips we shared on maintaining productivity will help you get back on track.
Distractions: Even the most minor thing can distract you when working from home. Social media, Netflix, and even housework can throw you off course. Regular breaks will help. Instead of being distracted by the sink full of washing up, resolve to tackle it when you next take some time out.
Isolation: Working alone can be isolating and can quickly lead to anxiety and depression. A co-working solution may be the answer if you are a social person who needs more people interaction. And if you are finding your home office claustrophobic, consider switching to a local coffee shop where others are around. Even if you prefer to work alone, the social disconnection gets to you after a while. So, it’s essential to maintain your social connections through virtual channels. Or set up a regular coffee meetup with a remote worker friend.
Burnout and stress: Social isolation and difficulties combining in-home and work responsibilities can lead to burnout. Furthermore, when the lines between home and work are blurred, many struggle to switch off and find themselves working much longer hours. Sticking to a regular schedule, taking frequent breaks, and prioritizing your well-being with exercise, healthy eating, and quality sleep will help you avoid stress. However, if you feel like things are getting on top of you, be sure to talk to your employer.
What Is The Effect Of Remote Work On Mental Health, Positive vs. Negative?
There’s no doubt that some remote workers struggle with their mental health. Several studies have shown that isolation, anxiety, and loneliness take their toll. Remote work isn’t for everyone. Some people thrive on social interaction and just can’t function without it. If you are one of those people who nonetheless still wants the flexibility and freedom of remote working, a hybrid arrangement may be a better fit.
However, for many other remote workers, it’s a different story. The freedom, flexibility, and better work-life balance have a positive mental impact. They report feeling happier, healthier, and less stressed. So much so that a whopping 97% of remote workers would recommend it to others in one study.
Are There Any Other Things To Consider Before Making The Switch To Remote Work?
A high-speed, reliable internet connection is a must-have for every remote job. A slow connection is more than just frustrating. It can hinder your output and ability to get the job done. You may not be able to enjoy the super-fact broadband you experienced in the office. However, there are some quick fixes to improve your connectivity. Try upgrading your router and modem or updating the router’s firmware. And be sure to select an internet package suitable for your home and work needs.
Remote Work Has A Future After The Pandemic
The worldwide pandemic forced businesses to move their operations online, creating an unprecedented surge in remote work. But now that the pandemic is slowly fading, will these changes become permanent? Will remote work survive post-pandemic? Let’s take a look at what some of the world’s top experts have to say about the future of this type of work.
- Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said in an interview with The Verge, “We will continue to work remotely and in the office in hybrid mode.” According to Nadella, working from home will remain part of the new normal. He also noted that Microsoft was looking into investing more money into their remote systems and tools and that they would be working on “building out experiences for people who are able to be productive and collaborate while not being physically co-located.”
- Julie Whelan, global head of occupier research at CBRE, said that the last few years have proven that people can work remotely. “Now, we are trying to mix a combination of in-person and remote work — that is where the challenges shine.”
- Meanwhile, an internal memo from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg reveals his thoughts: “I’ve found that working remotely has given me more space for long-term thinking and helped me spend more time with my family, which has made me happier and more productive at work.”
- Google CEO Sundar Pichai believes that remote work could benefit companies and their employees in the long run. During Google’s annual shareholder meeting, he said, “We’ve seen many benefits so far…It helps us reach talented individuals outside regions where we have offices today.” He also noted that Google was focused on giving its workers more freedom when it came to managing their schedules and hours worked.
As these quotes show, many big companies are embracing remote work after seeing how successful it can be during the pandemic. There will likely be a shift towards more flexible working arrangements as companies realize the potential benefits of allowing their workers more freedom while maintaining productivity. With such high-profile advocates, remote work is here to stay.
Remote Work Statistics
The recent shift to remote work has been a massive change for many businesses. With the rapid influx of remote workers, it’s crucial to stay current on the statistics behind this new way of working. Here are 100 remote work statistics sourced from credible research studies that will give you a better understanding of how remote work is impacting businesses today.
Remote Work Key Takeaways
The statistics show how dramatically our lives have changed as we adjusted from traditional office life into this new world where most business is done virtually from home offices and kitchen tables around the globe. It’s clear from these stats that both challenges and rewards are associated with this transition, making it essential for businesses and employers to understand the implications and adjust accordingly if they want success. While there’s still much progress left ahead, these numbers point towards a future where many aspects of business can be conducted remotely without sacrificing quality or efficiency.