Remote Working Trends 2021
Working Remotely in 2021
For the past 16 months or more, since March 2020, many of us have been working remotely. No matter the convenience, there are a lot of downsides too! We have compiled these articles to show you the current trends of working remotely in 2021.
This past year was one of the monumental shifts. While every aspect of our personal lives underwent a significant change, the professional side also saw a massive shake-up. Remote work is one of those new trends. According to a recent Upwork survey, about 1 in 4 Americans (26.7%) will be working remotely in 2021. This was a significant change from 2018, when only 7% of civilian employees in the U.S. had an option to work from home.
I believe this is prepping to be the year of significant remote work shifts, and work-from-home policies across companies and industries will change massively. For example, Twitter, Shopify, and Dropbox have already announced that they will be moving to permanent work-from-home setups. In addition, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced that half of the company’s employees could work remotely for 5 to 10 years.
Let’s look at the top remote workplace trends that I believe will take place in 2021.
Hybrid Models Taking Center Stage
In 2021, a combination of remote work and onsite work will start becoming the norm. Commuting is already tough on many employees, and more people will start skipping it entirely to be more productive and flexible in their work patterns. At the same time, others would like to return to their workplaces, citing better peer interactions and face-to-face solves. As a result, many organizations will start adopting a hybrid model.
Reduced Conference Calls
Companies are now spending 20% of their meeting room budgets on collaborative conference call technologies to expand their remote work capabilities to support global meetings. But as more people get used to working from home, the intrusive nature of video conferencing calls starts taking shape. During the pandemic, I observed that many businesses realized that trying to compensate for the lack of “human interaction” with conference calls can reduce team productivity, especially when most people spend time only on calls. In 2021, expect more people to cut down on conference calls and focus on the work at hand.
Flexible work is here to stay
Employees want the best of both worlds: over 70 percent of workers with flexible remote work options to continue, while over 65 percent crave more in-person time with their teams. To prepare, 66 percent of business decision-makers consider redesigning physical spaces to accommodate hybrid work environments better. The data is clear: extreme flexibility and mixed work will define the post-pandemic workplace.
However, it’s equally important to note that leaders may be too narrowly focused on where to invest. For example, even after a year of working from home, 42 percent of employees say they lack essential office supplies at home, and one in 10 don’t have an adequate internet connection to do their job. Yet, over 46 percent say their employer does not help them with remote work expenses.
Last year’s move to remote work boosted feelings of inclusion for workers because everyone was in the same virtual room. The move to a hybrid will break that mold, and it will be a new and vital objective to ensure employees are given the flexibility to work when and where they want, as well as the tools they need to contribute from wherever they happen to be equal.
Hybrid work is inevitable.
Business leaders are on the brink of significant updates to accommodate what employees want: the best of both worlds.
Leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call.
Many business leaders are faring better than their employees. Sixty-one percent of leaders say they are “thriving” now — 23 percentage points higher than those without decision-making authority. They also report building stronger relationships with colleagues (+11 percentage points) and leadership (+19 percentage points), earning higher incomes (+17 percentage points), and taking all or more of their allotted vacation days (+12 percentage points).
Business leaders surveyed were also more likely to be Millennials or Gen X, male, information workers, and farther along in their careers. In contrast, Gen Z, women, frontline workers, and those new to their careers reported struggling the most over the past year.
And workers feel the disconnect. Thirty-seven percent of the global workforce says their companies are asking too much of them at a time like this.
High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce.
Self-assessed productivity has remained the same or higher for many employees over the past year, but at a human cost. One in five global survey respondents says their employer doesn’t care about their work-life balance. Fifty-four percent feel overworked. Thirty-nine percent feel exhausted. And trillions of productivity signals from Microsoft 365 quantify the precise digital exhaustion workers are feeling.
The digital intensity of workers’ days has increased substantially, with the average number of meetings and chats steadily increasing since last year. Specifically, when we compare collaboration trends in Microsoft 365 between February 2020 and February 2021:
- Time spent in Microsoft Teams meetings has more than doubled (2.5X) globally and, aside from a holiday dip in December, continues to climb.
- The average meeting is 10 minutes longer, increasing from 35 to 45 minutes.
- The average Teams user is sending 45 percent more chats per week and 42 percent more chats per person after hours, which is still on the rise.
- The number of emails delivered to commercial and education customers in February, when compared to the same month last year, is up by 40.6 billion.¹
- And we’ve seen a 66 percent increase in the number of people working on documents.
This barrage of communications is unstructured and primarily unplanned, with 62 percent of calls and meetings unscheduled or conducted ad hoc. And workers are feeling the pressure to keep up. Despite meeting and chat overload, 50 percent of people respond to Teams chats within five minutes or less, a response time that has not changed year-over-year. This proves the intensity of our workday, and that what is expected of employees during this time has increased significantly.
Remote work & travel
Has the time come to try going on a trip and attempt working remotely while you’re away from home?
If you think this is possible for you, you’ll want to see our tips for working remotely while traveling to get an idea of how this could work out for you.
Remote work and travel were formerly only something the general professional public considered possible when a person was on a business trip. But, then, it looked something like this:
- Take a business trip to a far-away location.
- Have in-person meetings with clients, vendors, or colleagues
- Work remotely from a hotel room or hotel business center.
- Or, attend a conference at a conference center while logging into a remote desktop environment via your work laptop in between sessions and events.
This was remote work when paired with travel. But now, it doesn’t have to look like this at all.
Want to take a long weekend away with your significant other, best friend, or sibling and spend one or two of the days doing work? It’s a great way to not ‘spend’ all your vacation days or sacrifice unpaid leave because you can still get some work in while you’re away from home.
All you have to do is believe in the possibility. And wait till you see the next trend on our list.
Working from anywhere (and how to do it)
If you can work from home, can you work from anywhere?
Think about this one for a minute.
We’re seeing people choose to change locations for a month and try out a new city in terms of trends. Or, when travel permits, try out a new country altogether – we have had friends working remotely in Mexico, Costa Rica, Croatia, Georgia, and Portugal.
“Working from anywhere” doesn’t have to mean working from abroad at all. It can be somewhere a few miles away, like a rented house, a long-term hotel stay, or even a friend’s house in another state or across a border.
How can you work remotely from anywhere?
There are a few things to keep in mind, like WiFi connections, the cost of living in your chosen ‘anywhere’ locale. Of course, if you’ll have a social life there, but when it comes down to it, changing location to experience a change in lifestyle while keeping your job is a great thing to try out.
Virtual coffee sessions and informational interviews
We’re all familiar with Zoom calls by now, and there are lots of ways to use Zoom.
We’re seeing Zoom used for friend gatherings, baby showers, family reunions, birthday parties, and more. From the professional side, Zoom is used for webinars, productive team meetings, lectures, and ‘going out for coffee?
Yes, sure – why not? The other week I was invited to a ‘virtual coffee date’ by someone who wanted to pick my brain over content creation topics. While there was no buying coffee going on, it was nice to meet someone I had never met before for a one-on-one session of idea sharing and professional advice.
Core benefits that work from house bring employees:
- The work schedule becomes more flexible. Life-work balance is improved significantly.
- Workers no longer need to spend their time on the long-distance commute.
- A home-office environment decreases the stress level.
- When choosing a new employer, location is no longer critical.
What entrepreneurs can get from work from home:
- Increased productivity of staff members.
- Possibility of hiring required specialists regardless of their location.
- Lower overall business costs and reduced office requirements.
- Fewer sick leaves.
Working remotely is not suitable for everyone or every business. Take the time to evaluate your situation and chose what is best for you. I hope that these articles have been a help.
Articles compiled by hughesagency.ca
Article Reference Links:
- https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/03/19/10-remote-workplace-trends-to-look-out-for-in-2021/?sh=6d3b8c62ffd7 ↑
- https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work ↑
- https://www.halfhalftravel.com/remote-work/remote-work-trends.html ↑
- https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/remote-work-trends-you-should-not-ignore-in-2021-44db3a4717d2 ↑