With the end of this pandemic in sight, many have been keeping an eye on work trends that may carry over into the future. The pandemic created what some have called the biggest remote work experiment in human history, and it’s looking like remote working, in one form or another, is here to stay. Here are three remote work trends that are shaping how employees engage with their jobs.
According to a new survey cited in a recent Korn Ferry article, “74 percent of people say they are open to the idea of a ‘workcation,’ going on vacation so as not to lose unused days but working while at their destination.” The article highlights the pros and cons of implementing this kind of policy, but employees and employers who have a mutual trust and flexibility with one another are most likely to benefit from it. Brian Bloom, vice president of global benefits at Korn Ferry and the co-chairman of the firm’s COVID-19 task force, says in the article, “it’s a trade-off between sharing some personal time with work in return for being able to focus on what’s important to ourselves.” Bloom also says if employees have the freedom and flexibility to work how and when they want, they are more willing to sacrifice some vacation time.
While one concern is that working while on vacation will lead to burnout, that isn’t true of each employee. Implementing this kind of remote working policy cannot be cut and dry; it will need to be more fluid, taking multiple factors into consideration on a case-by-case basis.
A hybrid model combines a schedule of working both from home and from the office. Several big tech companies, including Facebook, Amazon, and Google, have adopted this model, and it’s possible that more companies will follow their lead. Some may also take a page from Spotify’s book and give employees an either/or option, allowing them to work from wherever they want, including the office if that’s where they feel they can be the most productive. According to a recent Forbes article, this model is not only ideal for a company and its workers, it also could help save money in real estate costs for the company while also giving workers more control over their lives and schedules. “It’s not perfect and there are some serious issues to contend with,” the article states. “Once companies bring back workers, there will be additional expenses incurred, potential legal liabilities concerning risks to the health of their employees and the possible evolution of an emerging dual class system.” The article emphasizes that bringing back so many workers could be a large,costly endeavor.
Much like a hybrid model, a full-time (and permanent) remote model is another route than many companies are implementing or will be soon. A Gartner, Inc. survey taken last year of 317 CFOs and Finance leaders showed that, “74 percent will move at least 5 percent of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions post-COVID 19.” Permanent remote work is being touted as another measure to help cut costs, especially when it comes to real estate expenses. According to the Wall Street Journal, “As much as a quarter of the 160-million-strong U.S. labor force is expected to stay fully remote in the long term, and many more are likely to work remotely a significant part of the time.” Flexjobs, a top remote job search site, published an article listing 23 companies switching to some form of remote work long-term or permanently. “Although the transition to working from home was fast and furious for a lot of organizations,” Flexjobs states in the article, “many companies are now figuring out that working remotely is the future of work—pandemic or not.”
Another recent article from Korn Ferry sums up the work model dilemma best when it states, “No one believes everyone will go back to working out of the office full-time again, but that’s about the only thing everyone agrees on.” With statistics and survey results all over the place about what could be considered best practice in remote work models, companies may not be able to use a one-size-fits-all approach with their employees. That means the future of remote work is not one-size-fits-all either.