Working from home has existed in various forms since the advent of the internet age, but the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on remote work that seems to be here to stay. The easiest way for employees to be safe was to keep out of the office — but jobs still needed to be done.
Some managers are pushing for people to return, but working from home looks like it’s here to stay. The many benefits seem to outweigh the drawbacks, which can easily be overcome. Here are some of the remote work trends expected in 2023 and beyond.
Many companies that reluctantly allowed people to work from home at the beginning of the pandemic still preferred to keep their normal working hours. Many may let workers take breaks outside of scheduled windows, but according to a 2021 study, upwards of 90% of remote workers want more flexibility. Companies hoping to retain people must make the necessary changes to provide a more flexible work schedule.
Adaptable HR Practices
Human resources departments need to adapt to accommodate remote work practices. This means opening doors to talent pools around the world. Working with employees outside of your home country means adapting to their laws and employment regulations. The idea of those dreaded trips to the HR office is a thing of the past, especially for companies that hire employees far from their base of operations.
Enforcing Work/Life Balances
One of the biggest challenges with working remotely is maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Shutting the laptop and turning off phone notifications isn’t as impactful as walking out of the office at the end of your shift. Refusing to address this work/life imbalance will leave companies with burned-out employees who will leave their jobs behind — and sometimes the workforce altogether. Work/life balances demand the utmost respect — and employers who deliver that respect in spades.
Enjoying Virtual Coffee Breaks
Working from home can be lonely, especially for those used to the busy office atmosphere. A survey by TINYpulse in 2021 found that 85.65% of remote workers experience emotional exhaustion because they have no social or emotional outlets during the day. The number is slightly lower for hybrid workers, clocking in at 80.87%, but is just as much of a problem.
Remote coffee breaks — the time allotted for teams to get together digitally and just share a cup of virtual coffee and a chat — are growing in popularity as a tool for preventing emotional exhaustion. It provides the socialization most people crave and helps break up their day, letting them return to work with a fresh perspective and improved attitude.
The Importance of Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has always been important for commercial and personal spaces, but as remote work trends continue to grow in popularity, keeping home networks secure is just as essential. One survey found that 85% of respondents believe it’s more vital now than it was before the pandemic.
Many companies find remote work trends to be their biggest cybersecurity challenge, as it requires setting up VPNs — virtual private networks — or other security measures to allow employees to access secure networks from home. Working from home isn’t going anywhere, so IT professionals must adapt and develop more streamlined processes for remote cybersecurity.
The Death of Traditional Work Spaces
Cities and suburbs alike are peppered with office spaces that have been sitting empty, many since the beginning of the pandemic and the transition to remote work trends. Job listings that offer fully remote positions get more applications, and those that require in-office work are sitting in a digital limbo waiting for someone to click “Apply.”
The traditional office space is dead and the era of remote work is just picking up steam. Owners of these now empty buildings have the option to gut them and turn them into more functional spaces that could better serve the communities they call home. This would bolster their reputations among locals and attract even more workers to their operations.
Looking Into Coworking Spaces
While the traditional office space is dead, that doesn’t mean that people don’t enjoy working in an office-like environment from time to time. Coworking spaces are growing exponentially. The number of coworking spaces worldwide is expected to reach 40,000 by 2024, with a yearly growth rate of more than 21%.
Coworking spaces give you many office benefits, from Wi-Fi and a printer to snacks and socialization, for a small fee. These places will continue to grow and become more popular in 2023 and beyond.
Mental Health Concerns
It isn’t all sunshine and roses for remote workers. Work can be lonely, but some studies show it can even be detrimental to mental health. One survey completed by the Harvard Business Review in 2021 found that 76% of remote employees have at least one symptom related to a mental health condition.
Most employers have responded to the challenge, increasing support systems and tools available for workers to take care of their mental health. However, there is still a lot of work to be done, both now and moving forward into 2023.
Shifting Performance Management
Quarterly or annual reviews don’t look much like they used to, but that isn’t bad. Performance reviews are beginning to improve, offering feedback based on real-time data. These digital tools have fueled a spike in engagement and participation in these reviews. Many companies are planning to maintain these digital initiatives even after the COVID pandemic ends and they return to some semblance of normality.
Trends’ Impact on Remote Work
Remote work might have been rarer before the 2020 pandemic, but it’s been around for a while and isn’t going anywhere. This is a small sample of remote work trends that will continue to be influential in 2023 and beyond. Working from home is one of the best ways to build a career, especially in rural areas where the same job opportunities don’t always exist. These trends’ impact on remote work will be exciting to watch and see what happens next.