The Future of Remote Work
What Remote Work May Look Like Beyond 2020
We previously reviewed the state of working remotely in the U.S. coming into fall 2020, but what will it look like beyond fall? Coronavirus has disrupted the work routines of millions of workers and changed the work models across the nation. The way we work will never be the same. And some of these changes might be here to stay.
In a collection of quotes, The Washington Post staff writers share their musings about what they think the future of remote work will look like. Jena McGregor writes,
“Stay-at-home orders across the United States have forced radical change in the workplace — far beyond the mass shift to remote work. It’s deepened the financial crunch for primary care physicians, injected chaos into the lives of working parents, and pushed industries from restaurants to real estate to reinvent themselves.”
The Projected Growth of Working Remotely
As our current reality insistently reminds us, a lot can change in a matter of weeks, if not days. However, the numbers don’t lie: Working remotely is projected to stay and grow. The U.S. remote workforce itself is largely reporting satisfaction with the setup. And the so-called “digital nomad” lifestyle (the telecommuting-work-tourism model of life) is rapidly transitioning from niche to “new normal” (there’s that phrase again).
Let’s take a quick look at some numbers:
- 25% of companies in one survey said they will move 10% of their employees to permanent remote positions post-COVID 19.
- 99% of remote workers would like to continue doing so — at least to some extent.
- Global Workplace Analytics forecasted that 25% to 30% of the workforce will be working remotely from home by the end of 2021.
What the Big Companies Are Doing
Some companies (mostly tech giants and industry leaders) switched exclusively to remote work models, while others are offering a hybrid of the home-office switch. Still others opted to leave the decision of whether and how long to work remotely up to their employees.
For instance, Facebook employees will continue working from home until July 2021, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects that half of the company’s workforce will be working remotely within the next 10 years. The same is true for Uber, Twitter, and Square, who are all allowing their employees to work from home indefinitely. Alternatively, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai favors the hybrid model — with employees spending some days at the office and others working from home.
According to a September 2020 FlexJob report, several companies have switched to remote work:
- Ending October 2020: Adobe, PayPal, Smartsheet
- Till the start of the new year: Aetna, Amazon, Ancestry.com, Capital One, Gartner, Microsoft
- Indefinitely: Infosys, Mastercard, Nationwide Insurance, Shopify, Slack, Square, Uber, Zillow
- Remote-first (remote as default, employees work in-person if and when they choose): Coinbase, Twitter, Upwork
- Hybrid: Google, Nielsen, Siemens
Whatever the future holds, working from home is around to stay, at least in some capacity, and it looks like both employers and employees are benefitting from the approach.
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