It goes without saying that remote work has come a long way in the past decade. Especially in the last 3-5 years. It has evolved to the point where more businesses can now thrive with completely remote teams.
And with the world opening up after the onslaught of COVID-19, some businesses that shifted to remote operations during the pandemic are reverting back to in-office operations. How will remote work reconfigure in this post-pandemic environment? In order to address this question, it is important to first understand how remote work evolved in the past decade to where it is today.
How Remote Work Has Evolved
One key technology that has facilitated the rise of remote working as a viable work arrangement is teleconferencing. Live video feeds help out-of-office workers see and speak to one another in real-time from anywhere in the world via an internet connection. It became the next best thing to a face-to-face meeting.
There is also the rise of coworking spaces which provide the essential amenities and advanced technologies needed for mobile and remote workspaces. This allowed some companies to do away with traditional office spaces and the expensive costs such spaces incur.
The foundation of all these advances is the widespread adoption and increased speeds of broadband internet across the globe in the last 10 to 15 years.
The Current State of Remote Work
Given these advances in communication technology and internet access, the remote work setup has become an accepted practice in many offices across the globe. While it has proven to be invaluable for many businesses during the height of the pandemic as companies strived to continue operating in a remote environment, the need for a mobile workforce that has increased incrementally in the post-pandemic environment meant the further adoption of the remote work setup.
Still, there are many companies that continue to resist this work trend for various reasons. Some business owners may fear a lack of productivity in their employees, while others haven’t invested in teleconferencing and telework tech to support remote workers.
Regardless of these sentiments, some businesses are making the necessary investments to support remote work. In Buffer’s 2023 report, most companies paid for expenses such as hardware, office equipment, and supplies, with 64% having indicated that their company provided hardware and 40% reporting that items like a desk and chair were also offered. Internet service was given to 28% of remote employees.
Ensuring the Future of Remote Work
While the structure of remote work may continue to change, this flexible business model is here to stay. Remote options may continue to grow as technological advances such as AI are able to play a major role in managing and monitoring remote staff.
Adopting the remote work setup has not been easy for many businesses. But as the experience of the past three years has shown, having the right technologies in place has made the adoption and transition to remote work a seamless process.
Organizations should also work on improving their remote work policies and capabilities. Creating standard key performance indicators (KPIs) for both management and employees is critical in ensuring the optimal performance of team members across locations that will facilitate the growth of the organization. Every team member should be encouraged to do their part in order to achieve the organization’s remote work goals.