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Remote Work is Here to Stay

By Lisa Cohn, PHR

Since reacting to and pivoting for the pandemic, businesses have adopted and supported remote work, potentially making it the new norm. According to Upwork’s Future of Workforce Pulse Report, which surveyed 1,000 business owners, human resource managers, and leaders nationwide, 1 in 4 Americans will be working remotely in 2021 and 36.2 million Americans will be remote by 2025, an 87% increase since COVID hit.

In 2020, there were a record number of prominent companies such as Shopify and Twitter announcing they will be staying remote post-COVID. Facebook announced it will become hybrid, offering more flexible schedules and permanently shifting a high share of its workforce to remote work. “Half of employees could work remotely within five to 10 years,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

While not every company is going fully remote, many companies that were not remote before the pandemic are considering remote, or at least transitioning to a hybrid model. This is beneficial for companies of all sizes to improve their bottom lines by cutting operating costs simply by offering employees more flexibility to manage their own schedules and priorities.

Here are some trends related to remote work that the Ignite Career Center is seeing:

Office Space, Schedules, & Flexibility

  • The 9-5 schedule is no longer the norm, potentially “a thing of the past”
  • Employees are more productive by being able to work a customized (individualized) schedule, such as weekends and nights (working around other responsibilities)
  • Employees save time and money by not commuting to and from work
  • More trust is put into employees to take responsibility for managing their workload effectively
  • Focus has shifted from time-driven to deliverable-driven project timelines and work objectives
  • Less non-essential meetings are being held and less distractions are occurring than when in the office

Pivoting for Success

  • Adaptation is an essential skill to have for both employees and employers to thrive in this new environment (The Ignite Career Center recently hosted an Employer Panel on the changing employment landscape related to the pandemic and pivoting was the major theme employers referenced related to reacting and being open to changes.)
  • More exposure to new kinds of work areas and potentially vertical employee movement opportunities
  • Becoming flexible to changing circumstances and being able to adjust to benefit the company and its employees

Non-Traditional Remote Benefits

  • Virtual team coffee breaks and happy hours
  • Virtual exercise breaks, yoga classes, and self-care time during work hours
  • Office stipends for supplies such as office chairs, extra monitors, web cameras, headphones, etc.
  • Retreats and team meetings post-COVID to reconnect, even if staying remote or shifting to hybrid, to help employees stay connected to team

Future of Remote or Hybrid Work

  • Continued focus on succinct and effective written communication as email will remain a primary medium due to flexible, out-of-office work arrangements
  • Combination of video and audio meetings depending on employer and employee needs
  • Gradual, slow return to work for those employees that will need to return in person by the end of 2021
  • More online remote training courses available online to excel in the remote workplace

COVID triggered a significant shift in how many employers and employees operate day-in and day-out. Before the pandemic, employees were letting their job dictate where they live, but that has changed during the pandemic and will likely be the norm post-pandemic as employers strongly consider keeping the remote work option available in some fashion. People will likely be able to make work-life decisions based on other things such as proximity to family, desired living location, cost of living, etc., all while keeping career aspirations on track.

Lisa Cohn, PHR is an Employer Account Representative at the Ignite Career Center.

Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go further and get there faster. Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition. To learn more, visit ignitecareercenter.com or call 410-466-9200.  

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