There are more opportunities than ever to work remotely.
Remote work is becoming one of the key benefits of working for a company. In fact, many individuals would refuse jobs if they didn't offer location flexibility. However, despite the fact that remote work is becoming increasingly popular across organizations, some people believe it'll eventually die out.
In this article, we'll explore reasons why professionals think remote working will die and if it holds merit.
Why Is This Suddenly a Debate?
The rise in remote working has been nothing short of meteoric.
A decade ago, it was still uncommon to find companies that allowed employees flexible work options. Now, it's not only commonplace, but also expected in many industries. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend, with many employers offering remote work options to their employees.
So why is there suddenly a debate about the future of remote work?
Well, the pandemic has forced many employers and employees to reevaluate the way they work. There are two schools of thought:
- Large groups of people love remote working. A Gartner CFO survey revealed that over two-thirds of companies (74%) planned to continue working remotely after the pandemic.
- On the flip side, the remote working experience has been less than positive for multiple organizations.
For the latter, a few issues have been raised. And as a result of these negative remote working experiences, some professionals are predicting that remote work will decline in the coming years.
So, what are their reasons why remote working will die?
The Productivity Problem
One of the most common complaints about remote work is that it's not as productive as working in an office.
There are a few reasons for this.
First, it can be difficult to stay focused when you're working from home. There are always distractions pulling you away from getting things done.
Also, working from home can make creating and maintaining a healthy work/life balance difficult. When you're in an office, it's easier to "leave work at work" since there are clear boundaries in your environment. But that boundary can get blurred when you're working from home, making it more likely to work longer hours and neglect your personal life.
Finally, some professionals claim they work better in an office setting. They find that they're more productive when they're surrounded by other people.
The Collaboration Conundrum
Another argument for why remote working will die is that it can make collaboration difficult.
When you're working remotely, you're not able to have face-to-face interactions with your team members. And many people find this challenging for communication and collaboration.
What's more, working remotely can make it difficult to build relationships with your colleagues.
The Isolation Issue
Similar to the collaboration conundrum above, working remotely can be quite isolating.
When you're working from home, you can start to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. And this isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
Humans crave connection, and feeling isolated can impact one's health, work performance, and overall happiness.
The Burnout Factor
Remote work can lead to burnout.
When you're working from home, it can be difficult to disconnect from your professional responsibilities and take breaks. Since the lines get blurred, it's tempting to work longer hours and take on more projects than you can handle.
As a result, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, quickly leading to burnout.
Poor Utilization of Company Resources
Working from home can be a great perk for employees. But it's not always the most efficient use of company resources.
Office space is often underutilized, costing employers a lot of money. And when employees are working remotely, there's no guarantee that they're actually getting things done. They could be taking longer breaks, working on personal projects, or simply not being as productive as in an office setting.
Businesses may claim that it's more cost-effective to have their employees work in an office setting, especially if they currently own resources (i.e. office space) that are going to waste.
So, Is Remote Work Going to Die?
It's difficult to say for sure.
The truth is, there are clear benefits and drawbacks to working remotely. And while the pandemic has certainly highlighted some of the challenges of remote work, organizations have also found ways to overcome these challenges.
And if we're being honest, it's hard to see remote working die as long as the online world exists. Sure, there will always be industries that require their workers to travel to a physical location. But for many sectors of our economy—especially knowledge work—remote working will likely become more common.
To illustrate this, let's look at a few solutions that serve as counter-arguments to the remote working challenges listed above.
Overcoming the Productivity Problem
There are a number of ways remote workers can overcome the productivity challenges when working from home.
You can create a dedicated workspace in your home away from distractions (creating boundaries from your family and pets). This will help you stay focused while working.
You can also create a schedule for your workday and stick to it as much as possible. This will help you maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Finally, consider renting a co-working space if you find that you work better in an office setting. This will allow you to be more productive without needing to work in your company's office building.
Overcoming the Collaboration Conundrum
There are a few solutions to the collaboration conundrum when remote working.
You can use video conferencing tools to have face-to-face interactions with your team members. This will help you communicate more effectively and build relationships. Tools like Undock make this experience seamless and fun.
You can also use online collaboration tools to work on projects together. This will allow you to share files, collaborate on documents, and stay on the same page with your team. Tools like Asana or Trello help to keep track of tasks and deadlines.
Finally, if it's not viable for your business to go fully remote, consider hybrid work. Renting an office or co-working space can give you the best of both worlds. You can have face-to-face interactions when you need them, but also the flexibility of working from home a few days a week.
Overcoming the Isolation Issue
There are a number of ways to overcome the isolation issue when remote working.
The best course of action is to proactively seek relationships and social interactions, rather than waiting for them to come to you.
You can make an effort to socialize outside of work. This can be done by joining a club, taking a class, or participating in any number of activities.
You can also use technology to stay connected with friends and family. This can be done through video chat, social media, or even just good old-fashioned phone calls.
Finally, if you're still struggling with isolation, consider seeking out professional help. A therapist can help you deal with feelings of loneliness, and provide you with solutions unique to your life situation.
Overcoming the Burnout Factor
There are a few ways to overcome the burnout factor when remote working.
You can take breaks throughout the day to rejuvenate yourself. This can be done by taking a walk, listening to music, or reading a book.
You can also establish boundaries between work and home. This can be done by setting regular work hours, taking vacations, and fully disconnecting from work when you're not "on the clock."
Finally, you can make sure to take care of your physical and mental health. This can be done by eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
Overcoming the Poor Utilization of Company Resources
As we mentioned earlier, working from home may not always be the most efficient use of company resources. Office space can often go underutilized, costing employers money.
We already discussed that one way to overcome this poor utilization of company resources is to force employees back into an office setting.
Of course, this isn't always the most popular solution among employees. And if the workforce continues to desire location freedom, these companies may have a tough time fishing in the talent pool.
That being said, there are other solutions that allow companies to better utilize their resources and offer remote work options.
These options involve being more proactive about how the business uses its resources. For example, businesses may allow employees to work from home certain days of the week, or for a set number of hours each week. This can help to combat overspending on office space while still accommodating employees who prefer not to commute every day.
In cases where companies decide to go fully remote, they can liquidate assets and allocate their financial resources elsewhere.
While it may be more difficult to manage, working from home can save companies money in the long run if done correctly. With a little creativity and forethought, employers can find ways of shifting to remote work so they can be more efficient with their resources.
At the end of the day, it’s important for businesses to evaluate their own needs and goals before making a decision about remote working. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. And what works for one business may not work for another.
That being said, the remote work trend doesn't seem to be dying anytime soon.
Despite the challenges that come with remote work, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. In fact, it's becoming increasingly popular among employers and employees alike.
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