What’s the Future of Remote Work in a Post-Covid19 World?


Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a lot of employees only dreamed about being able to work from home. When the pandemic shut offices down, living rooms, bedrooms, and home offices became the norm. For some businesses and workers, it has been a blessing; and for others, it has been a nightmare. So, this begs the question: what does the future of remote work look like in a post-COVID-19 world? 


According to Mckinsey Global Institute’s analysis of 800 jobs in nine countries, a person’s remote work future primarily hinges on one’s tasks and activities, rather than occupations. Additionally, Whereby has found that flexible work schedules are the second most important benefit (31%) that employees care about when deciding whether or not to stay in a position. 


It is safe to say that remote work is here to stay, in at least some capacity. 


Source: Unsplash



What You Can Expect for the Future of Remote Work


Let’s dive into what the future of remote work will probably look like, based on surveys and predictions from professional experts and global firms. Then, we’ll take a look at some ways that you can be prepared for whatever the future holds. 



Demand for hard and soft skills 


Like recruiting before COVID-19, the demand for employees equipped with both hard and soft skills is of top priority. With more employees working outside a centralized office, the demand for hard and soft skills is even more at the forefront of employers’ minds. 


Technology is tying teams together in different locations, so the need for hard technological skills is crucial. This also calls for online proficiency and strong communication skills to be able to work with people in different time zones and cultures. 


The importance of soft skills does not go unnoticed either. Employers seek employees that have time management skills, are self-motivated, and are reliable. As employees work remotely, employers need to trust that they are getting the job duties done. 


Hybrid work model 


While some companies will continue their entirely remote workforce, others are mixing it up. Hybrid work models mean that employees get to choose what suits them best. So, they can work in the office when they want, but they also have the choice to remain working from home. They can switch it up day-by-day or week-by-week, or they can base it off of what they have going on at any point in time. 


McKinsey found that 90% of executives foresee a hybrid model moving forward. 



Alignment of goals and needs 


The needs of employees are being aligned with business goals. In practice, this means that companies will question why they are taking certain actions and understand their business decisions’ impact on employees simultaneously. 


Corporate culture will shift to remain more flexible so that employees feel supported and engaged. While the business can cut operational costs by allowing for remote working, they can also support increased productivity as employees have more flexibility for when and where they get their job duties done. 



Rise of internal talent marketplaces 


As many companies have utilized marketplaces to outsource talents such as freelancers and contractors, the needs and motivational factors that power internal employees will need to remain in focus. According to John Boudreau, a senior research scientist at USC’s Center for Effective Organizations, organizations will have their own sort of internal talent marketplaces. This way, their talent will be able to find professional opportunities that appeal to them and keep them engaged within the workplace. 



Employee acquisition and retention tool 


Pew Research Center reports that 20% of employed workers got to work from home before the pandemic. 


By October 2020, that figure hit 71%, which is clearly a massive uptick. 


People tend to like the shift. As such, organizations are making note that working from home can be used as a perk to acquire and retain top talent. 


For forward-thinking companies, the budget they save that would have otherwise been spent on office space may instead be allocated to perks that are closer to their home (i.e., gym memberships, meal delivery, etc.). 



Refocusing roles 


Before COVID-19, most companies would hire and train talent according to specific roles. But, with the shifting workplace and needs, it might make more sense to hire people based on a combination of skills overall. This means that employers can focus on skills that are necessary to streamline workflows and deliver a competitive advantage for the organization, rather than for specific roles. 


This also translates to offering skills training and career development support for employees. Rather than learning new skills to fit a role, they will be able to learn new skills that will be more beneficial on the whole. 


Source: Unsplash



Be Prepared for a Changed Workforce 


There’s no doubt that workplaces have changed dramatically and will continue to take on new shapes from the impacts of the pandemic. Regardless of what will happen, you can be prepared with the hard and soft skills you’ll need to succeed in any work environment. 


One way to do so is to earn your degree online at University of the People. Our online, tuition-free degree-granting and certificate programs are purposefully designed to ready graduates to enter or excel in their careers. Plus, as an online university, students become comfortable with the working-from-home setup as they learn at their own pace, from wherever they desire. 



The Bottom Line 


The future of remote work looks a lot different from the past. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many companies have shifted to either entirely remote or hybrid set-ups, which changes almost everything about how they operate. It also shifts hiring priorities and necessary cybersecurity measures. 


As someone looking to enter, grow or change their position in the workforce, you can be prepared by honing your skills and being adaptable to fluctuating business needs. 


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