We can all agree that the pandemic has triggered profound changes in where and how work happens. Although the pandemic is not over yet, it’s still possible to venture a guess as to how it will affect the work landscape even after the virus (fingers crossed) eventually fades into the background of our shared history.
While many people never actually had the opportunity to work remotely due to the nature of their jobs, others made the switch rather seamlessly and will be hard-pressed to return to the old normal. For the latter, the pandemic successfully broke down the many technological and cultural barriers that had once prevented remote work from being the norm.
The future of work post COVID-19
Before the pandemic, 17% of US employees worked remotely 5+ days a week. During the pandemic, this rose to 44%. This would have been much higher if healthcare providers and warehouse employees—among others with hands on jobs—were actually capable of working remotely.
Perhaps one of the most popular questions at the moment is whether companies that were able to let employees work remotely will continue to allow it as Covid goes on its merry way (again, fingers crossed). In other words, are we looking at an eventual rewind on the remote revolution or is onward and upward the only way?
Top 3 predictions
- Remote work is here to stay
Considering only remote work that can be done without a loss of productivity or efficiency, the McKinsey Global Institute found that 20-25% of the workforce in advanced economies could work remotely between 3-5 days a week. This is 4-5 times higher than pre-pandemic levels. As such, this could set in motion a huge shift in where work takes place. Individuals and companies alike are expanding outward from cities into suburbs and towns, and this will likely continue. While it’s of course possible that shutdown-era levels of remoteness will shrink a bit as the world recovers its mojo, remote work will still be a popular way to go.
As employees continue to reexamine their priorities in life, the market will only become more candidate-driven. In other words, perks, company culture, and flexible work arrangements are the new gold standard—if you want top talent, anyway. Don’t buy it? A survey from Prudential found that 1 in 3 employees wouldn’t want to work for a company that required them to be onsite full-time. After salary and benefits, employees care most about flexible work schedules (31%), mobility opportunities (25%); and remote work options (22%).
Hybrid models are the new sweet spot
Before you try wrapping your head around doing away with your office altogether, know that committing to an exclusively remote operation doesn’t have to be where you’re heading. After all, some work which can technically be done remotely is still best done in person. This includes negotiations, critical business decisions, brainstorming sessions, sensitive feedback, and onboarding new team members. Although some companies have gone full-remote, it’s likely that many more will opt for the more flexible hybrid model.
Instead of having employees decide whether they want to work remotely or in an office, a hybrid work arrangement allows them to choose the location or combination of locations that works best for their lives—with the understanding that it’s subject to change. For instance, employees might choose to work 2 days a week in the office 3 days from home. Or vice versa. The point is, it’s flexible and allows people to schedule work around their lives rather than the other way around. Unsurprisingly, a hybrid approach is what many employers are aiming for. Research shows that 9 out of 10 execs favor a hybrid model moving forward and employees concur, with 52% expressing a preference for employers who adopt more flexible working models post pandemic.
Traveling while working will become more commonplace
Remote work, for many, involves a home office of sorts (and, depending on the Covid protocols in place where you are, maybe the occasional café). But many have grown extra weary of lockdowns and general limitations, and have already made plans to join the ranks of the ‘digital nomad,’ as it were. In other words, a surge in the number of people who continuously travel and work remotely from a cabin in Vermont or a cafe in Greece is expected to grow.
According to Vrbo’s 2022 Trend Report, 44% of employees with families are now more likely to work remotely from a place that’s not their own home—with their families in tow. People are taking advantage of the ability to work from anywhere by turning changes of scenery into vacations for their families. Plus, families are staying at vacation homes longer—there has been a 68% increase in 21-30-day stays. To add to this, undated searches rose by 33% year over year, showing that families are not feeling tied to only taking trips during school breaks or company holidays. As if to emphasize this, 43% of parents are more likely to let their kids skip school for travel. Facts are facts: people’s priorities have changed, as have their concepts of work-life balance.
How to navigate the flux (and how GMS can help)
As the work landscape continues to shift in unprecedented ways, taking advantage of all the resources at your company’s disposal becomes an integral facet of success. Take your helpdesk: is it understaffed and overwhelmed by the influx of new business generated by the pandemic? The rise of remote work has been coupled with a rise in online sales, after all.
Most companies and MSPs run their helpdesks internally when they first start out because the they aren’t bombarded with service requests right off the bat. As a company grows, of course, their needs expand. But sometimes this expansion happens faster than a company’s growth (and their ability to provide quality customer support). Rather than have this conundrum derail their well-earned growth, many companies turn to outsourcing. Enter GMS.
With a GMS Live Expert you gain access to an outsourced team that can solve client issues just as well as your staff—whether by phone, chat, email or ticket driven support. Your assigned GMS ‘pod’ (a team whose job it is to build familiarity with your clients and support staff) are available 24/7/365, integrating fully with your ticketing system. Services are white-label to boot, so your pod works seamlessly under your brand. Think of it as a super clever way to increase your capacity virtually overnight. Outsourced helpdesks aren’t just a great way to increase your reach. You’ll also save money by paying for the level of service you need rather than hiring extra in-house agents to deal with anticipated increases.
It’s really no wonder that outsourcing has become such a popular choice among MSPs and private businesses alike, or that the outsourced helpdesk services market is expected to grow steadily through 2026. Just one of many trends in remote work to be aware of this year, and next.
You’ve got the tools, you’ve got this.